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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #428
Educational Application of Stimulus Equivalence Methodology
Monday, May 31, 2010
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Texas Ballroom Salon A (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EDC/EAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College)
Discussant: Michael J. Cameron (Simmons College)
Abstract: This symposium presents three papers which stimulus equivalence methodology was used to teach individuals with disabilities, singly or in groups, age and grade appropriate public school curriculum tasks within public school settings. The first paper established classes of equivalent multiplication sentences from which untrained multiplication and division relations emerged and generalized to classroom tasks. The second study taught students stimulus-stimulus geographical relations from which novel ad untrained equivalence relations emerged and generalized to classroom tasks. The final paper taught a group of fifth grade students relations between geometric stimuli. Students then were able to match these stimuli to one another when presented in novel matching-to-sample relations, indicative of the emergence of symmetrical and transitive relations. These studies document the efficacy of teaching in such a manner to generate the emergence of untrained forms of conditional and discriminative control.
The Instruction of Multiplication and Division Skills via Equivalence Class Formation
MARYJOYCE PERSSON (Simmons College), Russell W Maguire (Simmons College), Michael J. Cameron (Simmons College)
Abstract: The research regarding stimulus equivalence has described an effective and efficient technology that results in the formation of equivalence classes of stimuli (i.e., concepts). Unfortunately, research documenting applied work is limited. In the current study middle school students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and documented deficits in their abilities to perform multiplication and division problems were taught two simple discriminations involving three visual stimuli (e.g. 24-to-3 x 8; 24-to-4 x 6) within a matching-to-sample format. Following this training all possible stimulus-stimulus relations, indicative of symmetry and transitivity, were assessed. They emerged without direct training, documenting the formation of equivalence classes. This included the accurate naming of stimuli, even though auditory stimuli were not used during any of the experimental procedures. Further, relevant stimulus-stimulus division relations also emerged (e.g., 24 / 8 = 3) without direct instruction suggesting that the results of the multiplication training and testing had generalized. The results were replicated across three classes, 24, 36 and 48, and three participants. The findings are discussed in terms of using sophisticated stimulus control procedures to teacher/remediate important academic skills within applied settings.
The Formation of Equivalent Classes of Geometric Stimuli Following Group Instruction
CLAIRE SUMNER (Simmons College), Russell W Maguire (Simmons College), Michael J. Cameron (Simmons College)
Abstract: Middle school students within a public school were taught to match three visual stimuli, depicting geometric concepts (e.g., name, definition, visual). Training occurred in a group format. Participants had visual workbooks containing, on a trial-by trial basis (e.g., page-by-page) comparison stimuli. They were required to select the correct comparison, by circling it, contingent on the presentation of a visual sample, held by the teacher in the front of the class. At the end of each trial the teacher checked for responses, identified the correct answer and verbally reinforced the group. At the end of each session the workbooks were turned into the teacher and the participants received tokens for each correct response, which could then be traded in for access to preferred events. Following conditional discrimination training of two relations all remaining untrained stimulus-stimulus relations were tested. The emergence of these untrained relations documented the formation of equivalent classes of stimuli, evidenced by the occurrence of symmetrical and transitive relations. The outcomes of this study suggest that stimulus equivalence methodologies can be applied successfully to teach typical academic topics within typical settings and via typical approaches (e.g., group instruction).
Forming Classes of Equivalent Geographical Stimuli
MARYJOYCE PERSSON (Simmons College), Russell W Maguire (Simmons College), Michael J. Cameron (Simmons College)
Abstract: Middle school students with autism spectrum disorders were taught to match visual and auditory stimuli related to geography (i.e., spoken name of a state, its printed name, its state capital and its two-dimensional shape). Initially, two conditional discriminations involving three visual stimuli were taught via matching-to-sample training. Following this training the participants were then tested on all possible untrained stimulus-stimulus relations. All participants matched stimuli in novel sample-comparison combinations, documenting the emergence of untrained symmetrical and transitive relations. Thus, three, three-member equivalence classes had formed. Then, one member of each class was matched to its spoken name. Again, all possible untrained stimulus-stimulus relations were tested. The results indicated that following the single conditional discrimination training the new auditory stimulus had become a member of the stimulus class. Finally, naming of the visual stimuli was assessed and all participants were able to oral name all stimuli, in accordance with equivalence class membership. The results are discussed in terms of novel teaching approaches for students with (and without) disabilities within applied settings.



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