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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Poster Session #268
VRB Poster Session 2
Sunday, May 27, 2012
7:00 PM–9:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 4AB (Convention Center)

The Effects of a Peer-Yoked Contingency on the Acquisition of Observational Learning

Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Lisa Gold (Teachers College, Columbia University), EMILY KATZ (Teachers College, Columbia University), Jessica Singer-Dudek (Teachers College, Columbia University)

The purpose of this study was to test the effects of a peer-yoked contingency on the students acquisition of observational learning repertoires. A delayed multiple probe design was used to measure participants acquisition of performance and academic observational learning. The dependent variable in this study was correct responses to probes for both performance observational learning and academic observational learning. The independent variable in this study was correct responses to a performance activity and the Peer-Yoked Contingency game board. Criterion for both observational learning repertoires was 80% correct responses to probe trials. Two target Participants and two peer confederates participated in this study. The target Participants were chosen because they did not have performance observational learning. Results showed that the Peer-Yoked Contingency game was effective for inducing performance and academic observational learning for the target Participants. Additionally, the intervention induced academic observational learning for both confederate peers.


How Children Learn to Use Rules

Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
JONAS FERNANDES GAMBA (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)

The purpose of this study was to identify variables that may promote rule-following and rule-construction behavior in five children with and without disabilities. The basic procedure involved teaching motor signs for known and unknown items through MTS tasks in a specific context, and testing for the emergence of mands and tacts and the rule-following and rule-construction behavior that required the use of this information in a different context. Participants learned to respond to signs by selecting the appropriate visual stimuli (pictures of containers, tools, and unfamiliar stimuli). Tacts were tested asking the participant to sign the pictures. Mands were tested in a context where the participants were required to sign for the missing tools necessary to use specific containers. Then, three unfamiliar stimuli were used to replace the stimuli used in the original training. The final tests assessed if the informations learned during the original training could be transfer to the unfamiliar stimuli. Results pointed out to the emergence of tacsts and mands after listener training for most of the participants. However, the transformation effect of verbal rules using unfamiliar stimuli seemed to be related with the existence of bidirectional relations between the signs and objects specified in the rule.


Teaching Tacting With the Use of Carrier Phrases and Tacting in a Naturalistic Context

Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MEGAN KLIEBERT (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center)

Establishing a strong tacting repertoire is often one focus of language-training programs for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. In the current study, 2 participants with strong 1-word tact repertoires (i.e., at least 20 known tacts) were taught to tact using carrier phrases, e.g., I see a . In addition, one participant was taught to respond to a therapists tact of an item in an array of picture cards presented on a table by tacting a different item in the array. These skills were taught to promote tacting in more natural contexts, such as a caregiver reading a book to a child and taking turns tacting objects seen in the illustrations. Results indicate both participants acquired the use of carrier phrases when tacting and one participant has acquired tacting in a socially appropriate exchange. Generalization to both a naturalistic context (i.e, tacting pictures of novel items in a book) and a naturalistic setting (i.e., a library) will be assessed, and subsequent teaching will be conducted as needed.


Instructional Accuracy and Feedback Frequency Effects on Human Instrumental and Verbal Performance

Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
GERARDO A. ORTIZ RUEDA (Universidad de Guadalajara-Mexico), Yuria Cruz (Posgrado en Ciencia del Comportamiento-Universidad de Guadalajara-Mexico)

In the present study we explored the effects of instructional accuracy (pre-contact descriptions) as well as the feedback frequency (i.e. continuous, accumulated) on instrumental and verbal performance (i.e. post-contact descriptions or rules) on a first order matching-to-sample task. The pre-contact description given to subjects, as well as the post-contact descriptions made by all participants, were analyzed according to the proposal made for Ortiz, Gonzlez & Rosas (2008) (i.e. specific and pertinent, generic and pertinent, specific and non pertinent, generic and non pertinent, irrelevant, absent). 36 students were assigned to one of six experimental groups that differed both on feedback frequency and accuracy of the instruction given in the second phase of the experiment. Results show that subjects who received a Specific and Pertinent (SP) instruction with an accumulated feedback frequency had the best instrumental performance and elaborated the best post-contact descriptions (i.e. rule). Obtained data suggest the relevance of the Response component (R) of an instruction in the acquisition of an instructional function by a pre-contact description.


Multiple Exemplars Versus Single Exemplar Teaching for Acquisition of Motor Imitation

Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
DIANNA M. SHIPPEE (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center), Lauren Shibley (Marcus Autism Center)

One arguably critical component of effective discrete trial teaching (DTT) is the use of multiple exemplars to promote stimulus generalization. For example, it behooves us to ensure that one can tact "dog" when shown a picture of a golden retriever and when shown a picture of a Jack Russell terrier. However, research is currently lacking on whether it is more efficacious for multiple exemplars to be introduced simultaneously or sequentially with only 1 exemplar taught at a time. The current study examined whether the acquisition of motor imitation skills could be achieved more rapidly in a simultaneous (i.e., multiple exemplar) teaching framework or in a sequential (i.e., single exemplar) framework. Each condition had 3 target exemplars that involved various actions with the same stimulus (e.g., roll ball, throw ball, bounce ball). In the multiple exemplar condition, all targets were taught simultaneously, while in the single exemplar condition, targets were taught 1 at a time to mastery. Results found that acquisition was faster in the multiple exemplar condition when compared to the single exemplar and control conditions.


Functional Assessment of Drug Trafficking Terms

Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ANGELA SANGUINETTI (University of California, Irvine), Wendy Reyes (University of California, Irvine)

Narcotics trafficking is often described in ambiguous and inaccurate terms. This is problematic because imprecise verbal behavior in relation to some state of affairs inhibits effective action with regard to those events. An innovative methodology was used to explore verbal behavior in diverse media reports following the 2001 prison escape of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman Loera, reputed prominent agent of the Sinaloa Cartel. Results demonstrated that the terms cartel, mafia, gang, and organization were controlled in part by the same stimulus conditions, but which was emitted on a particular occasion was predictably related to other variables, including the speakers affiliation, immediate verbal context, and country of publication. We conclude that more precise terminology could improve efforts to understand and curtail narcotics trafficking. We also believe this methodology should continue to be developed as it may prove useful in analyzing other terms related to important social issues.

7. The Discrimination of Intention: A Misattribution
Area: VRB; Domain: Theory
PAUL D. NEUMAN (Bryn Mawr College), Suzanne Nangle (Bryn Mawr College)
Abstract: The attribution of intention does not involve the discrimination of intention but the discrimination of subtle behavior of actors by observers. Based on several theoretical papers (Neuman, 2007; Neuman, 2004; Leigland, 1996; Skinner, 1945) in behavior analysis and relevant empirical work (Dasser, et al, 1989; Leigland, 1989), we propose that one’s attribution of intention is based on the observation of behavior (both non-verbal and verbal) and the consequences of that behavior. The purpose of the first experiment was to identify the functional relations involved in the attribution of intention. Undergraduate students were asked to observe a series of interactions and identify instances of behavior involving intention. Behavior and its consequences as well as verbal instructions were varied and it was found that the attributions of intentions varied accordingly. The second experiment was designed to show that the attributions from first experiment could be reversed given detailed verbal descriptions prior to viewing each scenario.

Analysis of Verbal Operants` Acquisition of a Child of 18 Months to2-years-old

Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
ADRIANA CRUVINEL (Usp), Martha Hübner (USP Sao Paulo, Brazil)

The purpose of the study was to investigate the acquisition of verbal operants in a longitudinal research with a typical development child from eighteen months until two years old. Verbal responses emitted by the child and his caretakers in a natural setting were analyzed in categories based upon Skinners verbal operants (1957), trying to identify relations between the emission of operants by caretakers and the child. Possible interaction patterns in the acquisition of verbal behavior were investigated. Thirty four sessions of fifteen minutes of duration were registered and transcript per week. Results show an abrupt increase in the cumulative frequency of emission of tact, mand, echoic and intraverbal categories of the participant after twenty months of age. This increase also could be noticed simultaneously in the emission of the same categories of the caretaker. The most emitted category of the child was tacts, while the most emitted category by the caretaker was mands. The results suggest that caregivers arrange contingencies for the installation of verbal operant in the repertoire of the child.


Tact Repertoires and Measures of Efficiency: Comparing the Effects of Two Behavioral Intervention Models With Students With Developmental Disabilities

Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
EDWARD D. PARKER (Bluegrass Oakwood)

This study compared the effects of the Lovaas Method (LovM) and Verbal Behavior Approach (VBA) on the development of tact repertoires of three 11 to 12-year-old students with moderate to severe mental retardation. We administered the ABLLS-short form, determined current levels of performance, and implemented the protocols in an alternative school for students with developmental disabilities. Specifically, 10 targets from two categories were taught receptively to mastery criterion and then expressively to mastery criterion using the LovM, and ten different targets from the same categories were trained using VBA, which included transfer trials across operants. A within-subject alternating treatments with baseline design was used to evaluate skill acquisition and identify an optimal practice in regards to frequency of target operants mastered to criterion, measures of efficiency, maintenance, and generalization. The results of this investigation suggest that both protocols are effective in teaching receptive and tact target operants; however, across all participants, VBA resulted in fewer errors and was more efficient in teaching tact operants. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.


CANCELED: The Use of Pause Prompt to Develop Conversational Skills

Area: VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
REUT PELEG (Centro ABA), Nicole Metelo Dias (Centro ABA), Rita Goncalves (Centro ABA)

One very frequent deficit observed with autistic individuals is faulty conversational skills. Even when autistic individual acquire functional ecoics, tacts and intraverbals, faulty autoclitics, amongst other variables, lead to the inability to comment during ongoing conversations. This inability hinders the individual's possibility to interact effectively. As such, this inability may also affect others' willingness to interact with the individual, which in turn could reduce social, leizure and occupational opportunities. This paper will report an intervention based on a pause prompt and the use of negative reinforcement to teach three autistic individuals to comment during an ongoing conversation. The intervention was applied with three individuals of different ages (seven, ten and nineteen years); in different contexts (school, individual and community); and different verbal repertoires. The intervention technology was developed based on the premiss that the pause will trigger discomfort in the individual, which in turn will set the occasion for the therapist to negatively reinforce the occurence of verbal comments.

11. Analysis of Problem-Solving Communication Among Dyads
Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
GREGORY SCOTT SMITH (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno), Carolyn Brayko (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: This paper presents novel data analyses that are part of an ongoing and emerging line of research, which investigates numerous human psychological phenomena. The initial analyses in this line of research examined the problem-solving behaviors of dyads working together on analogue organizational tasks, through the framework of metacontingency (Smith & Houmanfar, under review). The current paper, however, extends this line of research by examining, in particular, the problem-solving communication between dyad members, in real-time, as they worked together to solve problems. While the first study in this research line demonstrated that evolving metacontingency concepts are applicable to empirical observations of selection at the socio-cultural level, this subsequent work is aimed at better understanding some of the processes through which selection at this level of analysis occurs, specifically in terms of the verbal communication among group members as they work together. Data analyses pertaining to verbal communication among each dyad are presented, as well as how these varying patterns of communication correlate with problem solving performance. Directions for future research in this line and suggestions for application of findings are discussed.

Promoting the Emergence of Intraverbal Responses in Young Adults With Intellectual Disability: Verbal Behavior Topography and Function

Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ANDRESA A. DE SOUZA (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (Southern Illinois University), Tracy Tufenk (Southern Illinois University)

Skinner (1957) attested that the acquisition of one type of verbal operant will not necessarily occasion the emergence of another type of verbal response topography. In contrast, several studies have shown that multiple exemplar training (MET) is a mechanism that can facilitate the emergence of untrained operants, and it has been considered a powerful tool for establishing generalized operant responses also known as derived relational responses in the language of Relational Frame Theory (RFT). Using a multiple probe design across participants, the current study evaluated the effects of two training protocols in the emergence of untaught intraverbal responses (listing and vocal spelling of words). In Experiment 1, four participants diagnosed with intellectual disability were trained in taking dictation responses and tested for the emergence of intraverbal responses in the form of vocal spelling of words. In Experiment 2, three out of the four participants were trained to relate three sets of three synonyms each using a conditional discrimination training, and tested for the emergence of intraverbal responses in the form of listing and vocal spelling of synonyms. The results demonstrated that the training procedures used during both experiments were effective in occasioning the emergence of untrained intraverbal responses. It was suggested that participants should have had a history of relational responding through the course of their academic life which facilitated the emergence of different intraverbal responses in this study.


A Partial Replication of the Effects of Intensive Tact Instruction on Young Children With Speech Delays on Pure Tact in Noninstructional Settings

Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
JEREMY H. GREENBERG (The Children's Institute of Hong Kong)

The present study is a partial replication of an earlier work that was effective in teaching 3-4 year old boys with autism to increase their tacts emitted in non-instructional settings. The treatment package included an intensive tact instruction procedure on number of tacts. The participants in the present study varied slightly to girls and also included slightly older students up to 7 years old. The non-instructional settings were almost identical to the original study and included: the play area of the classroom, the play area of the classroom during unpacking time, and the lunch table. The experimental design was similar in that both studies used a multiple probe design across participants. All probe sessions were conducted daily for a cumulative 15 minutes, 5 minutes in each NIS. Intensive tact instruction included direct instruction of 100-tact learn units in addition to the daily learn units that the students were already receiving.

14. Transformation of Stimulus Function Across Textually Responding and Writing Arabic Numbers
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZABETH SNELL (Teachers College, Columbia University), Christopher Miller (Teachers College, Columbia University), Petra Wiehe (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Abstract: We tested the effects of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) on the emergence of reading and writing Arabic numbers through the ten millions place value. Participants consisted of 4 typically developing 4th grade students from a class that implemented a behavior analytic model of teaching. Participants were selected because they could not read or write Arabic numbers through the ten millions place value. Baseline conditions consisted of teaching a set of numbers to mastery using single exemplar instruction as either a textual response or dictated written response followed by probe trials in the opposite topography. Treatment conditions consisted of teaching a second set of numbers by rotating across reader and writer topographies. Upon mastery of the second set of numbers, the first set was probed in the untaught topography. A third set of numbers was taught using a single response topography opposite to the one that was used in the initial set to ensure that reciprocity was present between topographies. This was followed by probe trials for the untaught topography. A multiple baseline across participants design was implemented. Results of the experiment showed an increase in correct responses in the untaught topography as a result of multiple exemplar instruction.



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