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 #341
CE Offered: BACB
Examinations of Emergent Verbal Behavior
Monday, May 28, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
LL03 (TCC)
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Amber R. Paden (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Discussant: Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
CE Instructor: Amber R. Paden, M.S.

Teaching young children skills in a manner that produces the emergence of additional, untrained skills can reduce the overall amount of instructional time necessary to teach a variety of targets. However, a paucity of research exists on effective teaching strategies that will reliable produce the emergence of untrained skills (Grow & Kodak, 2010). Programming for the emergence of untrained verbal behavior is of critical importance when working with individuals with developmental disabilities to reduce time spent in instruction and bridge the gap between these individuals and their typically developing peers. The collection of studies in this symposium will describe potential behavioral mechanisms responsible for emergent relations (e.g., Naming) and evaluate the effects of teaching strategies to increase the likelihood of the emergence of untrained verbal operants. First, Charlotte Carp will present on the effects of visual class formation on the emergence of intraverbals. Second, Amber Paden will describe the relationship between echoic behavior during listener training and emergent speaker skills in children with autism. Third, Nitasha Dickes will present a study evaluating the emergence of bidirectional intraverbals following intraverbal training. Finally, Caio Miguel will discuss interesting components of each study, and describe future areas of research on emergent verbal behavior.

Keyword(s): emergent behavior, intraverbal, verbal operants

Effects of Visual Equivalence Class Formation on the Emergence of Novel Intraverbals in Children

CHARLOTTE LYNN CARP (Texas Christian University), Tori Verploeg (Texas Christian University), Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)

The purpose of the current investigation was to evaluate the effects of visual equivalence class formation on the emergence of novel intraverbals. Four typically developing English-speaking children ages 4–6 were first taught vocal tacts for pictures of states, birds, and flowers. Following tact training, they were exposed to matching-to-sample training with the pictures where they were first taught an A-B (i.e., state to bird) relation and an A-C (i.e., state to flower) relation, then were exposed to an equivalence test probing 12 B-A, C-A, B-C, and C-B emergent relations. Immediately following the equivalence test, an intraverbal test was conducted that probed intraverbal relations between the pictures (e.g., "Florida goes with which bird?"). If performance criterion was not met on the equivalence test, additional rounds of both tests were administered requiring children to overtly name the sample stimulus during the equivalence test. Three out of the4 participants met the performance criterion on the intraverbal test: 2 following equivalence testing without overt naming, and1 following equivalence testing requiring overt naming. Results are discussed in terms of intraverbal naming as proposed by Horne and Lowe's (1996) Naming Hypothesis as a possible mechanism for the formation of equivalence classes.


Evaluating Behavior That Facilitates the Emergence of Speaker or Listener Repertoires in Children Diagnosed With Autism

AMBER R. PADEN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Tiffany Kodak (University of Oregon)

Early intervention curriculum manuals provide recommendations regarding the sequence of various types of instruction. One instructional sequence recommends teaching receptive identification prior to expressive identification. Receptive identification targets listener skills such as touching or pointing to stimuli. Expressive identification targets speaker skills such as naming pictures of common items. Additional research is needed to evaluate the necessity of sequencing instruction in this manner and to identify any specific repertoires that may result in the emergence of speaker or listener skills in the absence of direct training. The current study compared the efficiency of receptive and expressive identification training with4 children diagnosed with autism. We also measured echoic behavior during receptive identification training to examine whether this behavior corresponded with the emergence of speaker skills. The results indicated that expressive identification training was either as or more efficient than receptive identification training. In addition, the results showed that high levels of echoic behavior during receptive identification training were associated with the emergence of untrained speaker repertoires in3 participants. The fourth participant's results did not show the emergence of speaker behavior, and this participant rarely engaged in echoic behavior during receptive identification training.


Evaluating Whether Bi-directional Intraverbals Emerge Following Intraverbal Training With Children With an Autism Spectrum Disorder

NITASHA DICKES (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Tiffany Kodak (University of Oregon), Andrea Clements Stearns (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Intraverbal behavior plays an important role in conversational skills and early social interactions. Children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often lack intraverbal repertoires. Thus, it is important to emphasize the acquisition of intraverbals during treatment. Previous research has examined procedures to increase intraverbal repertoires in individuals with developmental disabilities; however, the literature is limited on the types of procedures that will result in reversibility or bidirectionality of intraverbals. The current evaluation replicated and extended the findings of Perez-Gonzalez, Garcia-Asenjo, Williams, & Carnerero (2007) by evaluating whether teaching sets of original and reverse intraverbals from the same category resulted in the emergence of novel, reverse intraverbals. Participants were 3 children diagnosed with an ASD. We used a multiple baseline across conditions design with a constant-series control (for 2 participants) to evaluate the effects of training original and reverse intraverbals on subsequent trained and untrained, reverse intraverbals. All participants in the current evaluation mastered sets of original intraverbals in a relatively small number of training sessions; however, training did not result in the emergence of untrained reverse intraverbals. Our results did not replicate previous findings, and we will discuss our results in terms of implications for future research.




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