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 #399
CE Offered: BACB
Research on Verbal Relations
Monday, May 31, 2010
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
214C (CC)
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Daniel B. Shabani (California State University, Los Angeles)
CE Instructor: Brian Iwata, Ph.D.
Abstract: Skinner (1957) defined verbal behavior as the behavior of an individual that has been reinforced through the mediation of another person's behavior (i.e., the listener). Moreover, to be considered verbal, the listener must have been conditioned to respond precisely in order to reinforce the behavior of the speaker. Thus, undertanding the listener repertoire is essential for the development of effective linguistic skills. The current symposium focuses on the study of verbally mediated listener skills in the context of teaching individuals with disabilities. The first presentation focuses on motivational control over listener responses. The second study compared listener and speaker training procedures for the establishment of novel stimulus relations. The third study evaluated specific prerequisites for the establishment of rule-following. Finally, the fourth study assessed the effects of speaker training on the emergence of categorization and listener skills. These presentations shed light into the design of programs to develop verbal and verbally-controlled behaviors.
Establishing Operations and Listener Behavior
ROBERT R. PABICO (Center for Behavior Analysis and Language Development), Daniel B. Shabani (California State University, Los Angeles), Rachel Adler (California State University, Los Angeles), Erika Myles (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: Listening behavior requires the listener to discriminate and differentially respond to verbal stimuli within their environment and to associate those verbal stimuli by emitting either a verbal or nonverbal responses. However, the presence or absence of setting events (i.e., motivating operations; MO) may in fact influence the listener’s behavior to respond in an appropriate fashion to verbal stimuli in his environment. Therefore, the purpose of the current investigation was to evaluate the role of motivating operations on listener responding.
The Effects of Listener and Speaker Training on the Formation of Equivalence Classes
EVELYN C. SPRINKLE (California State University, Sacramento), Lesley A. Macpherson (California State University, Sacramento), Krisann E. Schroeder (California State University, Sacramento), Jared T. Coon (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: Equivalence relations may be established through the training of either listener or speaker repertoires. The purpose of the current study was to compare the use of standard conditional discrimination procedures and textual/tact training in the establishment of three-member equivalence classes containing dictated words, pictures and printed words. Three male children with autism were taught to select pictures and printed words in the presence of their dictated names in a conditional discrimination task. Additionally, they were taught to produce the vocal label corresponding to a presented picture or printed word during a simple discrimination task. Two participants acquired speaker relations in fewer trials than listener relations. The remaining participant acquired both relations in an equal number of trials. For all participants, both listener and speaker training resulted in the formation of stimulus classes and the emergence of untrained stimulus relations.
Rule-Governed Behavior: Further Analysis of a Procedure for Teaching Children With Autism a Preliminary Repertoire of Rule-Following
CARRIE KATHLEEN ZUCKERMAN (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Jonathan J. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Michele R. Bishop (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Melissa L. Olive (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: This presentation consists of data from two studies on teaching prerequisite skills which may be necessary for developing a repertoire of rule-governed behavior. In the first study, children with autism were taught “conditionality,” by reinforcing compliance with instructions containing “if/then” statements. The emergence of untrained instances of following if/then rules is evidence for the formation of the generalized operant class of rule-following, rather than merely the acquisition of particular behaviors under stimulus control, and generalization of this sort was observed for two of three participants. The second study was a replication and extension of the first. The same procedures were used with one exception; the behavior was specified before the antecedent was described. In other words, the children were asked to perform the behavior “if” the appropriate antecedent was presented. Results will be discussed in terms of implications for autism intervention as well as the learning history which may lay the foundation for the development of a repertoire of rule-governed behavior.
The Effects of Single-Tact Training on Naming and Categorization by Children With Autism
VISSY V. KOBARI-WRIGHT (California State University, Sacramento), Sonya Gotts (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: Recent studies have demonstrated that the skill of sorting objects by category develops with no direct training when typically-developing children learn to label pictures and objects with a common category name. A recent study by our group found that a multiple-tact training procedure produced novel categorization in two of the three participants diagnosed with autism. The purpose of the current study was to extend the previous study by controlling for the possibility that stimulus classes could have been formed based on within class generalization, and to test whether the common label is solely responsible for the stimulus class formation. Participants included two children diagnosed with autism (5 years-old). The effects of training were evaluated using a non-concurrent multiple-baseline across participants design. Both children, who did not categorize or emit listener behaviors correctly during pretraining were able to do so during posttraining probes. These results suggest that the common label is solely responsible for stimulus class formation, and single tact training may be an efficient way to produce naming and categorization in children diagnosed with autism



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