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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #254
CE Offered: BACB
VB SIG Student Group Event: Emergent Responding via Direct Training, Conditioned Seeing, and Visual Imagining
Sunday, May 25, 2014
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
W185bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Judah B. Axe (Simmons College)
Discussant: Mark L. Sundberg (Sundberg and Associates)
CE Instructor: Judah B. Axe, Ph.D.

Examining how behavior appears without apparent direct training is of paramount importance to explaining and improving behavior. In the first paper in this symposium, Delfs and colleagues extended the research on the emergence of tacts following listener training and vice versa. The following three papers evaluated the role of covert behavior and private events on establishing untrained overt behavior. Shanman and Greer investigated the role of conditioned seeing on listener and tact responding after hearing the names of arbitrary stimuli. Yeager and Greer extended that study by using multiple exemplar instruction and a delayed stimulus presentation. In the fourth paper, Aguirre and Rehfeldt evaluated covert behavior with an application of visual imagining of text to facilitate spelling. This symposium grew out of the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Groups Student Group, and the four papers represent critical extensions of studies evaluating the roles of direct training and covert behavior on facilitating untrained behavior. The studies have implications for theory and research on Skinners analysis of verbal behavior, functional independence of the verbal operants, stimulus equivalence, relational frame theory, and naming. As discussant, Sundberg will explain the importance of these studies in terms of theory, research, and practice.

Keyword(s): Conditioned Seeing, Emergent Responding, Naming, Visual Imagining

Evaluating the Efficiency of Listener and Tact Instruction

Caitlin H. Delfs (Marcus Autism Center), HANNAH ROBINSON (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Dickman (Marcus Autism Center), Lauren Shibley (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Wymer (Marcus Autism Center), Amanda Graham (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine), Daniel Conine (Marcus Autism Center)

Existing recommendations for training sequences of receptive and expressive language are mixed with respect to which sequence leads to more efficient learning. Petursdottir and Carr (2011) indicated that research is still needed to determine the most effective teaching strategies and sequences for training. More recently, Delfs, Conine, Dickman, and Shillingsburg (accepted for publication), compared the efficiency of listener training to that of tact training in producing the bidirectional relations. The results indicated two patterns of emergent responding. One pattern included emergent responding occurring under both training conditions. The other pattern showed that tact training resulted in emergent listener responding more frequently than listener training led to the emergence of tacts. The current study replicated these methods utilizing a parallel treatment design, however a more concise method of teaching and data collection were implemented. Several participants, aged 3-8 years receiving services to address language deficits were included. Results replicated Delfs et al. and extended previous research by including assessment of the emergence of teaching feature, function, and class of items both receptively and as tacts. In addition, students who use sign language were also included. Implications for clinicians and educators, as well as areas of future research, are also included.


The Relation Between Components of Naming and Conditioned Seeing

DEREK JACOB SHANMAN (Teachers College, Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Teachers College, Columbia University and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences  )

Research on naming has focused on acquisition of object-name relations with respect to vocal stimuli, but has not yet focused on acquisition of visual stimuli. This study sought to identify conditioned seeing as a measurable behavior, and to relate that behavior to the demonstration of naming. There were twelve participants in Experiment 1, six of whom then continued on to Experiment 2. Experiment 1 demonstrated a correlation between drawing responses as a measure of conditioned seeing and speaker responses in a test for naming. In Experiment 2, a non-concurrent multiple probe design was used to test the effects of a delayed phonemic response teaching intervention on the acquisition of the drawing responses. Four of the participants in Experiment 2 demonstrated both the acquisition of the speaker component of naming as well as the drawing responses as a function of the delayed phonemic response teaching intervention. No participants demonstrated the speaker component naming without the acquisition of the drawing responses. Results from Experiment 2 further supported the relation between these two variables suggesting that drawing responses were a measure of conditioned seeing, and that conditioned seeing is related to the development of naming as it pertains to visual object-name relations.


The Establishment of Tacts from Past Experiences: Conditioned Seeing?

TIMOTHY MICHAEL YEAGER (Teachers College, Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Teachers College, Columbia University and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences  )

Skinner conjectured about possible behaviors of "conditioned seeing" and "operant seeing" (1953), attempting to define ways of referring to the experience of visual imagery consistent with functional behaviorism. Later, Skinner (1974) referred to this phenomenon as "seeing in the absence of the thing." Shanman (2013) reported that conditioned seeing and Naming are related, and identified one possible measure for conditioned seeing. We examined the effects of multiple exemplar instruction across listener and speaker responses with a delayed stimulus presentation on the acquisition of novel tacts from past experiences using a non-concurrent multiple probe. Each probe consisted of an assessment for Naming and the acquisition of tacts from past experiences. There were four participants, three diagnosed with autism and the other a speech and language delay. In pre-experimental probes, two participants demonstrated the Naming capability, however no participants demonstrated the ability to acquire tacts from past experiences. Following intervention, all four participants acquired tacts from past experiences, and the two participants who did not demonstrate the Naming capability prior to, did so after the intervention. Implications of the current study, its relationship to previous and possible future studies will be discussed.


Effects of Visual Imagining and Instruction on the Spelling Performance of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities

ANGELICA A. AGUIRRE (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (Southern Illinois University)

Covert verbal behaviors can be characterized as mediating responses, emerge following overt responding, and occur when an individual acts as a speaker and listener within the same skin (Skinner, 1957). Behavior analysts generally agree that covert verbal behaviors do occur, however, there is still a lack of researchers studying this area. Utilizing Skinners (1957) interpretation of private events may lead to interventions to teach such behavior, which can play an important role in establishing more sophisticated academic repertoires. The current study used a multiple-probe design to evaluate the effects of visual imagining instruction on increasing correct written spelling responses with three adolescents with various learning disabilities. After the participants were presented with the textual target stimuli, they were instructed to imagine the word in their head, which they were then instructed to write the word. Two out of the three participants met mastery criteria of correct written spelling responses after error correction and reinforcement were added with the visual imagining condition. One participant met mastery criteria during the visual imagining only condition, however, the presentation of textual target stimuli enhanced responding alone. Limitations and future research will be discussed.




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