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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Poster Session #297
#300 Poster Session (VRB)
Sunday, May 25, 2008
5:30 PM–7:00 PM
South Exhibit Hall
132. Comparing Transfer of Stimulus Control Procedures Across Learners with Autism.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTOPHER BLOH (Kutztown University)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two procedures for transfer of stimulus control across people with autism who possessed varying verbal abilities. The objective was targeted at acquiring the correct label or tact for 36 previously unknown items. Five subjects were recruited who possessed different communicative abilities and were exposed to two methods: receptive-echoic-tact and echoic-tact. Their verbal abilities were assessed by a subset of the ABLLS prior to intervention. All but one of the subjects learned the 36 targeted tacts utilizing each of the transfer methods for a subset of the targeted stimuli. While some subjects appeared to have a preference regarding transfer method, neither procedure emerged as more efficient with learners with a higher or lower verbal ability. The results suggest that both transfer methods could promote the acquisition of a tacting repertoire for a learner with autism, provided that s/he possesses minimal communicative ability.
133. A Demonstration of the Effects of Echoic Behavior on the Emergence of Tacts in a Foreign Language.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
AMANDA J. BEVER (Southern Illinois University), Rocio Rosales (Southern Illinois University), Sarah M. Dunkel-Jackson (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The purpose of this investigation was to demonstrate the effects of requiring adolescents with a traumatic brain injury to engage in echoic verbal behavior on the emergence of tacts in a foreign language. The participants were presented with pictures on a computer screen on a white background, immediately followed by a red or green screen. They were instructed to look at the computer screen and listen to the auditory stimulus for each picture. However, they were only required to repeat those words that were followed by a green screen. Preliminary results indicate the emergence of more tacts during post-test probes for stimuli that required an echoic response when compared to those that did not require an echoic response. The emergence of extended tacts was also tested following training. Suggestions for future research in verbal behavior and implications for second language learning are discussed.
134. The Effects of the Peer Tutoring and Peer Monitoring Components of the Observational System of Instruction on the Tutors and Monitors Acquisition of Tacts.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MARIA RYKLIN (Columbia University Teachers College), Darcy M. Walsh (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: A study was conducted to test the effects of peer tutoring and peer monitoring as part of an observational system of instruction on the acquisition of a new tacts. The study implemented a multiple probe design across participants. The participants were six male students diagnosed with emotional disabilities who attended a suburban middle school. The four students who served as peer tutors/tutees had been trained and met criterion in peer tutoring prior to this study. There were three students who served as the peer monitors during the study and were probed on the acquisition of all tacts that were taught in the peer tutoring sessions. The results showed that the peer tutoring tactic was successful in teaching new tacts to the students as well as the tutors acquiring the tacts that they presented as learn units. Two of the peer monitor were also successful in acquiring the tacts through observational learning and monitoring the correct and incorrect responses.
135. The Verbal Summator Speaks Again.
Area: VRB; Domain: Theory
GAIL B. PETERSON (University of Minnesota), Jeffrey Michael Engelmann (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: B. F. Skinner’s only actual experimental investigation of verbal behavior was his 1936 report titled, “The Verbal Summator and a Method for the Study of Latent Speech”. Subjects listened to barely audible 3-5 syllable utterances played from a nearby phonograph, with each one repeated until the listener said what he/she thought was being said. The speech samples were pseudo-words constructed entirely of vowel sounds, e.g., ah-ah-ee-oo, but they regularly evoked coherent, albeit idiosyncratic, speech phrases from the listeners, e.g., how do you do. Allusions to this study appear frequently in behavior analysis literature, but details of what was done or found are seldom given. One reason for this is that the phonograph records Skinner used no longer exist–or, at least, that is what has long been believed. Recently, several verbal summator records were discovered literally buried in storage deep in the bowels of the psychology building at the University of Minnesota. This poster presentation includes a display of these historic relics, together with an interactive simulation of the original experiment, using the original sounds, in which convention attendees can actively take part. Skinner’s interesting findings and his interpretations of them are also summarized and clarified.
136. Using Stimulus Equivalence and Observational Learning to Teach Spanish Vocabulary.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
JOLINE MARIE RAMIREZ (Southern Illinois University), Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Second language learning has been an area of interest in many fields including psychology, education, and linguistics. Until recently behavior analysis has had little research in this area. Behavior analysis has many methods that can be used as efficient teaching tools for language acquisition. Some of these techniques include arranging for observational learning and the emergence of stimulus equivalence. Many studies utilizing these methods for language development have been done with non-typically developing participants with limited or absent verbal skills in their native language. In this study, observational learning and the stimulus equivalence paradigm were used to teach Spanish skills in the form of object-name relations to two participants. We evaluated the degree to which directly trained and untrained relations would emerge across three stimulus sets in a typically developing child who observed a sibling receive training on the baseline relations. Each participant was then separately tested on all stimuli sets in a similar manner to training as well as a naming task. Maintenance probes were conducted two months after the completion of training. Preliminary results suggest that observational learning may be efficient and effective in teaching a second language.
137. The Effects of Multiple Exemplar Instruction using Three-Dimensional Stimuli on the Emergence of the Speaker Component of Naming for Three-Dimensional and Two-Dimensional Stimuli.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MARISA SAVARD (Columbia University Teachers College), Yasmin J. Helou-Care (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: We tested the effects of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) using three-dimensional stimuli to induce the verbal capability of the speaker component of naming for three-dimensional and two-dimensional stimuli. Two students, diagnosed with emotional disabilities, were chosen to participate from a self-contained CABAS® classroom in a public school outside a large metropolitan city. Participant A was chosen after initial pre-experimental probes showed that he lacked the capability of naming for three-dimensional stimuli and the speaker component of naming for two-dimensional stimuli. Participant B was chosen after pre-experimental probes showed that he lacked the speaker component of naming for both three- and two-dimensional stimuli. The dependent variable was the untaught listener and speaker responses for both two- and three-dimensional objects. The independent variable was the MEI with three-dimensional stimuli. After meeting criterion on MEI for three-dimensional stimuli, full naming emerged for Participant A with three-dimensional stimuli and the speaker component of naming for two-dimensional stimuli. Participant B required four sets of MEI with three-dimensional stimuli. After MEI with three-dimensional stimuli, the speaker component of naming emerged for both three-dimensional stimuli and two-dimensional stimuli. For both participants, full naming for two-dimensional stimuli emerged without any direct instruction after MEI with three-dimensional stimuli.
138. The Effects of Daily Intensive Tact Instruction on the Pure Mands, Tacts, and Palilalias in Non-Instructional Settings by Two Preschool Children with Developmental Disabilities.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
JINHYEOK CHOI (Columbia University Teachers College), JoAnn Pereira Delgado (Columbia University Teachers College), Heysuk Lee Park (The Fred S. Keller School)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to test effects of daily intensive tact instruction on the emission of the pure tacts and mands, and palilalia in non-instructional settings by two preschool students with developmental disabilities. Two 4-year-old males served as participants who attended a publicly funded, private preschool outside a large metropolitan area. A delayed multiple probe design across participants was used to compare the number of dependent variables prior to and after the mastery of each set of the intensive tact instruction. The dependent variable was the number of pure mands, tacts, and palilalia emitted during probes in the non-instructional settings pre- and post-mastery of each set of tacts. The independent variable was the daily intensive tact instruction, in which the tact instructions were increased to 100-tact learn units above the daily learn units students were receiving daily. The results of this data show that the daily intensive tact instruction increased the number of pure mands and tacts, and decreased the number of palilalia emitted in the non-instructional settings by the participants in the study.
139. The Effects of the Conditioning Listening to Voices Protocol on Learn Units to Criterion of Two Pre-Listeners with Developmental Delays.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
PEI-FANG WU (Columbia University Teachers College), Jiwon Kang (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: This study tested the effects of the conditioning listening to voices protocol on the learn units to criterion of two males diagnosed with developmental delays, who were missing the capabilities of adult voices functioning as a conditioned reinforcer. The participants in this study were pre-speakers and pre-listeners at the onset of the study, who did not orient toward adult voices, or listen to adults speaking. The dependent variables in this study were the probe trials and the participant holding down the button. The independent variable in this study was the conditioning listening to voices pair/test procedure. A delayed multiple baseline design across participants was used in this study. The results of this study showed that the conditioning listening to voices protocol was effective on increasing both participants’ capabilities to orient towards adult voices. Both participants’ learn units to criterion decreased after the treatment, and their correct responses increased during the post-probe trials.
140. The Effects of Daily Intensive Tact Instruction on the Pure Mands and Tacts in Non-Instructional Settings by Two Preschoolers with Disabilities.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
LIN DU (Columbia University Teachers College), JoAnn Pereira Delgado (The Fred S. Keller School), Mara Katra Oblak (Columbia University)
Abstract: The purpose of the study was to test the effects of intensive tact instruction on numbers of mands and tacts emitted in non-instructional settings by two participants. The participants were one 3-year-old male and one 4-year-old male preschoolers diagnosed with disabilities. The dependent variables were the pure mands and pure tacts emitted during the 15-min probes in the non-instructional settings and the independent variable was the intensive tact instruction procedure. A multiple probe design across participants was employed in this study to test the effects of intensive tact instruction. The two participants received 100 additional tact learn units daily during the intensive tact treatment sessions. The results showed a functional relationship between the intensive tact instruction and the two participants’ pure mands and pure tacts emitted in the non-instructional settings.
141. Effect of Speaker Immersion Procedure on Independent Mands and Tact of Children with Developmental Disabilities.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
HYE-SUK LEE PARK (Fred S. Keller School), Jinhyeok Choi (Columbia University Teachers College), JoAnn Pereira Delgado (Fred S. Keller School)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to test effects of speaker immersion on the emission of the independent mands and tacts by two preschool students with developmental disabilities. Two 4-year-old males served as participants who attended a publicly funded private preschool outside a large metropolitan area. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to test the effects of speaker immersion on independent mands for both participants. The dependent variable was the number of independent mands and tacts in both non-instructional and instructional settings. The independent variable was the speaker immersion training procedure, in which multiple establishing operations was arranged to require participants to emit a verbal response in order to perform everyday routines (e.g., going in the classroom, using the bathroom, getting off the bus, etc.). The results of this data showed that speaker immersion increased the number of independent mands in non-instructional setting as well as instructional setting by both participants in the study.
142. Tact and Mand Acquisition through Conditional Discriminations.
Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
NASSIM CHAMEL ELIAS (Federal University of São Carlos), A. Celso Goyos (Federal University of São Carlos)
Abstract: The conditions under which new behaviors occur have been the focus of investigation in verbal behavior research. This study taught selection-based tacts through conditional discrimination tasks to a mentally retarded adolescent, and verified the emergence of topography-based tacts and mands. Stimuli were sign videos (set A), their corresponding pictures (set B), and objects (set C). Prior to the conditional discrimination training, participants were taught to use three sets of paired objects: safe box and key, bottle and opener, and juice and straw. Next, conditional discriminations between stimuli from sets A and B were taught. After criterion, tests for relations BA’ and CA’ were introduced. Response set A’ consisted of signs emitted by the participant. Finally, tests foemergence of mand were presented. Participants showed emergence of three signs, as topography-based tacts, in the presence of the corresponding pictures after acquisition of relations AB, and emitted the other signs after protracted training. Generalization of all signs as topography-based tacts in the presence of the objects and emergence of mands was also shown. Results suggested that selection-based tacts, though acquired via conditional discriminations, can yield topography-based tacts and mands. Controlling variables for mands should still be clarified by further research.
143. Acquisition of the Observational Learning Repertoire through Peer Yoked Contingency.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
TRISHNA PATEL (Columbia University Teachers College), Jeannine E. Schmelzkopf (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: In the following study, the effects of a peer yoked contingency and peer monitoring game were tested for two participants. The two participants, Participant A and Participant B, both attended a publicly funded private school for children with and without developmental disabilities. Observational learning probes were conducted prior to the implementation of the game to show that the repertoire was not present for either participant. During Stage 1 of the game (played against the teacher), the students advanced on the game board when a correct response was emitted by the participant on the stimulus that was previously presented to his/her peer. Peer monitoring responses were also recorded during the game. During Stage 2 of the game (played against the teacher), the students advanced on the game board when correct responses were emitted by both students (the participant’s response to the observed learn unit was correct and the participant’s monitoring response was correct). Following mastery of the predetermined criterion of 90% correct responding across two consecutive sessions, post probes were conducted which showed an increase in the number of correct responses from baseline emitted by each participant.
144. Assessing the Function of Immediate Echolalia.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MICHAEL MCSWEENEY (The New England Center for Children), William H. Ahearn (The New England Center for Children), Kathleen M. Clark (The New England Center for Children), Jason Coderre (The New England Center for Children), Mariah Amsden (The New England Center for Children), Justin Bashaw (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Past research has speculated that immediate echolalia (IE) functions to postpone or escape the answering of questions the individual does not know how to answer. However, no systematic assessment has been conducted to validate this assertion. Functional analysis procedures developed to identify relations between problem behavior, antecedent and consequent variables were adapted to assess the function of IEs in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Several children who emitted IEs of the speech of others had their IEs examined across a variety of social and nonsocial conditions. In one comparison, escape from demands was tested. The participant was allowed to escape from questions when echoed in one condition and not allowed to escape in the other. The effects of social attention were also tested in this analysis in the context of the speaker making specific comments across three conditions. Attention in the form of contingent and non-contingent verbal statements were tested, along with a planned, ignored condition that tested for escape from attention. The third comparison was designed to examine the IE relative to the presence of sound with and without another individual present. Results were idiosyncratic, suggesting that previous assumptions about a common function are inaccurate and future research is warranted.
145. Acquisition of Intraverbal Behavior: Recalling Past Events.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
DIANA GARCIA (Marcus Autism Center), Addie Jane Findley (Louisiana State University), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: A deficit in the development of social communication functioning is a significant characteristic of children diagnosed with autism. Increasingly, Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior is being applied to intervention programming to increase communication skills. Although numerous studies have investigated acquisition of mand and tact repertoires, relatively little research has investigated intraverbal behavior (Sautter & LeBlanc, 2006). Intraverbal behavior may include answering “wh-” questions, filling in a list of items, and engaging in reciprocal conversation. The purpose of this study was to examine acquisition of intraverbal behavior in the form of recalling a list of past events. The participant was a 7-year-old male diagnosed with autism. After a 5-minute walk with a therapist, the participant was asked to recall events that occurred during that time. The teaching procedure consisted of presenting visual depictions of events experienced during the 5-minute walk using a digital camera. Previous research by Reeve (2007) established the importance of video models and other visual aids in teaching children with autism. A multiple baseline across responses (i.e., number of items recalled) was used. Results indicated that the use of a visual prompting aid assisted the participant in recalling up to three activities independently.
146. Expanding Tact Repertoires Through the Use of Descriptive Autoclitic Carrier Phrases.
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MELISSA DANCHETZ (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center), Crystal N. Bowen (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: The principles of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior (1957) are often applied in skill acquisition programs for children with autism through the breakdown of language into verbal operants. While many programs target single word mands, tacts, and intraverbals as well as increasing the mean length of utterance (Yoder et al., 1995), few directly address the use of descriptive autoclitics as a verbal operant. Research has shown that children interpret target words more quickly when presented in a sentence frame rather than single word isolation (Fernald & Hurtado, 2006). The current study considers response differentiation through the use of several sentence frames. Four children were trained to use carrier phrases to complete a previously mastered tact response. Carrier phrases were taught using echoic prompts and reinforcement procedures in response to a discriminative stimulus in the form of a question (e.g., “What is it?”). In a multiple baseline across phrases design all four participants acquired each of the carrier phrases presented in tacting sessions. Two participants responding showed generalization in baseline for the final phrase presented. Response differentiation in the form of autoclitic phrases was acquired effectively in training sessions. Further research should consider generalization and maintenance of these skills in the natural environment.
147. Examination of Intellectual Capacities with an Ability to Derive Stimulus Relations.
Area: VRB; Domain: Theory
CHRISTOPHER S. LORANCE (Missouri State University), William P. Deal (Missouri State University)
Abstract: Recent directions in behavioral science have examined the human ability to find stimulus equivalence among stimuli (Barnes-Holmes, Hayes, Dymond, & O’Hara, 2001; Sidman, 1994; Sidman 2000). Relational Frame Theory (RFT) posits that humans have a unique ability to derive relations among stimuli that go above and beyond stimulus equivalence. According to one theory of intelligence proposed by Horn and Cattell (1966), humans develop two distinct forms of intelligence; fluid intelligence is typically viewed as nonverbal, problem solving, especially with the presentation of a novel problem, whereas crystallized intelligence is actual knowledge and facts. The purpose of this poster is to examine the relationship between intelligence, as measured by the WASI, academic performance, as measured by grade point average (GPA), ACT scores, credit hours completed, and the ability to relationally respond to stimuli in a given verbal task and nonverbal task. It is hypothesized that individuals who score higher on the measures of intelligence will perform better on the relational framing task. This research is a partial replication and extension of O’Hara, Pelaez, and Barnes-Holmes (2005). An implication of this would be that using intelligence tests can identify individuals who may be lacking in relational repertoires, and, consequently, need more reinforcement and skill building in schools and homes (Strand, Barnes-Holmes, & Barnes-Holmes, 2003).
149. Improving Generalization and Maintenance of Functional Communication Training (FCT) with the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS).
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
LAUREN LLOYD WITHHART (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Julia T. O'Connor (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) is designed to teach an alternative form of communication to replace problem behavior (Carr & Durand, 1985). Research has found that long-term treatment success for FCT is correlated with substantial response generalization (Derby et al, 1997). The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised (ABLLS-R) is a tool to assess and identify markers for language development, learner readiness, and social skills for children with developmental disabilities (Partington & Sundberg, 1998). This tool has been used in the development of individualized education plans and to set educational objectives. Little research is available on its empirical use as an assessment tool in treatment development for aberrant behaviors. The purpose of this investigation was to expand the use of the ABLLS-R to identify the prerequisite skills necessary to acquire FCT. After being assessed at mastery levels on the prerequisite skills, the client demonstrated a faster rate of acquisition of FCT for generalized responses and improved maintenance over time. Further examination across subjects and responses is needed to confirm the utility of specified ABLLS skills as prerequisite for generalizing and maintaining FCT. Reliability data was 80% across 100% of the FCT training sessions.



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