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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #331
CE Offered: BACB
Emergence of Pre-Verbal and Verbal Developmental Cusps as a Function of Interventions
Monday, May 28, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
4C-1 (Convention Center)
Area: DEV/VRB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: R. Douglas Greer (Teachers College, Columbia University)
CE Instructor: Robert Douglas Greer Douglas Greer, Ph.D.

Paper 1 summarizes effects of exemplar training on the emergence of combinatorial entailment in children lacking stimulus equivalence. Paper 2 summarizes effects of establishment of audience control via conditioned reinforcement on social verbal interactions in nursery school children who lacked audience control. Paper 3 summarizes effects of multiple exemplar training on the emergence of metaphors in fourth graders. Paper 4 summarizes effects of establishment of reinforcement control of print on the emergence of untaught visual match to sample responding and conditioned reinforcement for books in children with autism. The papers extend our understanding of preverbal and verbal behavior developmental cusps. Together the papers address key preverbal foundational cusps (conditioned reinforcement for observing responses and cross-modal stimulus equivalence), the role of the audience in verbal episodes, and the emergence of metaphors.


The Induction of Emergent Relations in Language Disordered Children

MATTHEW HOWARTH (Teachers College, Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Teachers College, Columbia University)

The source of certain emergent relations has been theorized to be a biological given, brought about by reinforcement contingencies for conditional discriminations, or by a history of relational responding within the context of cues in the environment. The participants in the experiment were 4 children diagnosed with autism who demonstrated significant cognitive and language delays, who were unable to demonstrate equivalent, combinatorial relations during baseline. However, following mastery of a frame of coordination with training stimuli via multiple exemplar instruction, 3 of 4 participants demonstrated stimulus equivalence through the transitive relation, also referred to as combinatorial entailment.


Establishment of Conditioned Reinforcement for Visual Observing and the Emergence of Generalized Visual Identity Matching and Preference for Books with Three Kindergarteners With ASD

HELENA SONG-A HAN (Teachers College, Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Using a nonconcurrent multiple probe design we tested whether the establishment of conditioned reinforcement for observing print stimuli resulted in the emergence of generalized match-to-sample (MTS) for 77 identical print stimuli and 77 abstractions and book preference (conditioned reinforcement for looking) by 3 kindergarteners with autism diagnoses. Consistent with other evidence on conditioned reinforcement for observing response our data showed that conditioning stimuli controlling observing responses results: (a) in the emergence/acceleration of discrimination learning, and (b) affirmation of reinforcement for observing responses as behavioral developmental cusps. Conditioned reinforcement for observing responses reduces or eliminates the necessity to use stimulus prompts and can result in a class of responding. The findings suggest that conditioned reinforcement for observing responses to print stimuli is a preverbal foundational developmental cusp. These findings add to the evidence that conditioned reinforcers may serve as critical developmental stages that result in accelerated learning or the emergence of new stimulus control made possible by the establishment of conditioned reinforcement for observing responses.


Establishment of Audience Reinforcement and Emergence of Complex Social Verbal Interaction in Nursery School Children

VICTORIA STERKIN (Teachers College, Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Using a nonconcurrent multiple probe design controlling for maturation and history we tested the effect of the social reinforcement protocol (the social listener reinforcement protocol) on the emergence or increases in conversational units and sequelics initiated and received by4 typically developing nursery school children who emitted few appropriate social verbal episodes with peers prior to the intervention. Participants were selected from a nursery school for typically developing children. Following the social reinforcement intervention we found that the 4-stage protocol (mastery of games involving 20 questions, I spy, and an empathy procedure) resulted in increases, or the emergence of, complex socially appropriate verbal episodes between the target children and peers, replacement of nonvocal interactions (physical mands) with social verbal exchanges, and significant increases in accurate choral responding during group instruction. The findings suggest that the protocol resulted in the establishment of a social verbal behavior developmental cusp that replaced inappropriate behavior and accelerated academic learning.


Induction of Metaphorical Responses inFourth-Grade Students as a Function of Multiple Exemplar Instruction

PETRA WIEHE (Teachers College, Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Intwo studies with fourth-grade students from an Accelerated Independent Learner (AIL) classroom we tested if metaphors could be taught using multiple exemplar instruction. In the first experiment, using a nonconcurrent multiple probe design, during baseline participants selected and produced metaphors for 10 target words that were in repertoire for literal usage. The intervention involved the rotation across behavior topographies to construct and select metaphors for a second set of words presented as words and pictures. The results showed a significant increase in correct metaphorical responding across all 3 participants. In the second experiment with 4 other students from another fourth-grade class, also an AIL class, we tested the role of the tact in acquiring metaphors. Baseline procedures remained the same as used in Experiment 1. The intervention involved students alternating with the experimenter to make metaphors for 3-dimensional objects. A yoked contingency game board was used as an establishing operation throughout the second study. The second experiment is still in progress.




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