Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #444
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluations of Pairing Procedures to Increase Social Responses Among Children With Autism
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Columbus Hall EF, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Catalina Rey (Florida Institute of Technology)
Discussant: Sarah J. Miller (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University School of Medicine)
CE Instructor: Catalina Rey, M.S.

Pavlovian pairing procedures are often used in practice to condition reinforcers. However, applied pairing studies have produced mixed results. This symposium will cover a review of the research on stimulus-stimulus pairing procedures and some empirical studies evaluating the effects of different pairing procedures.

Keyword(s): Conditioning reinforcers, Pairing procedures, response-stimulus pairing, stimulus-stimulus pairing
A Review of Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing Procedures to Facilitate Early Language Acquisition
APRIL MICHELE WILLIAMS (Rollins College), Vanessa Oller (The School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute)
Abstract: The speed and accuracy of verbal behavior acquisition depends on the strength of an individual’s echoic repertoire. The echoic repertoire develops quickly for most children but, for those with developmental disabilities, sometimes explicit training is required. Without such training, children who have difficulties acquiring language often are observed to have higher rates of problem behaviors. Problem behaviors and avoidance of the setting where training is conducted also can occur when the child fails to acquire the echoic repertoire. The stimulus-stimulus pairing (SSP) procedure may be an alternative to direct echoic training. This procedure pairs adult-emitted sounds, words, or phrases with delivery of conditioned and unconditioned reinforcers, eliminating the response requirement. The result can be an increase in modeled as well as novel sounds and the eventual acquisition of echoic and mand repertoires. Unfortunately, implementers of the procedure have had mixed results, which could be due to significant discrepancies in how the procedure is implemented. The purpose of this review is to analyze the specific components of SSP in the hopes of uncovering the most effective parameters with which to implement the procedure as well as to determine for whom it is likely to be most effective.
Comparing Social and Tangible Reinforcers During Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing
AIMEE GILES (University of South Wales), Gemma Bond (University of South Wales), Cynthia Ewers (University of South Wales), Jayne Snare (University of South Wales)
Abstract: Communication deficits are a core characteristic of autism and there is a sub group of children with autism that do not develop vocal speech. Stimulus-stimulus pairing increases the frequency of speech sounds by pairing specific sounds with reinforcing items or interactions (Partington & Sundberg, 1996). One variable that may affect stimulus-stimulus pairing outcomes is the type of reinforcer during pairing (i.e., social versus tangible reinforcers; Stock, Schulze, & Mirenda, 2008). Kelly, Roscoe, Hanley, and Schlichenmeyer (2014) identified procedures for identifying and empirically validating social reinforcers for individuals with autism. The purpose of the proposed study was to evaluate if the social stimuli assessment procedures (Kelly et al. 2014) could identify social reinforcers for young children with autism. In addition, we compared the effectiveness of stimulus-stimulus pairing using tangible and social reinforcers. Three children with autism participated in the study. Following social and tangible preference assessments, an alternating treatments design was used to compare stimulus-stimulus paring with tangible or social reinforcers to a control condition. Results were idiosyncratic across participants. Future research should consider evaluating the relative reinforcing effectiveness of stimuli included in stimulus-stimulus pairing.

Effects of Using a Response-Stimulus Pairing Procedure to Teach Children With Autism to Respond to Their Names

Alison M. Betz (Florida Institute of Technology), Catalina Rey (Florida Institute of Technology), Chelsea Moore (Florida Institute of Technology), Ansley Hodges (Florida Institute of Technology and Nemours Children’s Hospital), Andressa Sleiman (Florida Institute of Technology ), SANDRA BEATRIZ CASTELLON (Florida Institute of Technology)

Children with autism often display deficits in social interaction and communication. One of the first signs of autism is lack of eye contact and responding to ones name. Given these behaviors are often prerequisite for additional social interactions, it is critical that they are targeted during early intensive behavioral intervention. Unfortunately, it is often the case that commonly used teaching procedures such as prompting and prompting fading strategies are ineffective. In the current study, we used a response-stimulus (R-S) pairing procedure to condition participants names as reinforcers. We then evaluated whether the name acquired discriminative control over the response of looking at the researcher. During test probes we presented the participants name and recorded whether he responded by looking at the researchers face. During pairing sessions, following every instance of eye contact, the researcher used a delayed pairing procedure to condition the name with a preferred edible. Results suggest that this procedure may be an effective alternative to more traditional prompting strategies.


Conditioning Peers as Reinforcers and the Effects on Mand Training With Preschool-Aged Children

NICOLE M. HANNEY (Auburn University), Sacha T. Pence (Auburn University), Samantha Lee (Alabama Association for Behavior Analysis)

Programming that simultaneously targets communication and social deficits is common in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention. Previous literature has taught children to mand for preferred items from peers, targeting communication and social skills (e.g., Kodak, Paden, & Dickes, 2012; Taylor et al., 2005). The pairing trials that occur during mand training with peers may mimic conditioning procedures and could establish peers as reinforcers. Several studies have evaluated using response-stimulus (RS) pairing and stimulus-stimulus (SS) pairing to condition neutral social stimuli as reinforcers; however, results have been idiosyncratic. In the current study, Experiment 1 compared SS pairing procedures and RS pairing procedures in conditioning preschool-aged peers as reinforcers. Response-stimulus pairing may be more effective and efficient than SS pairing (i.e., 3 of 6 participants had a successfully conditioned peer using RS pairing). Experiment 2 evaluated the effects of peers as conditioned reinforcers or peers with a history of pairings on the acquisition of manding to peers. Mand training to conditioned peers was just as effective as to novel peers for 3 of 4 participants.




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