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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Symposium #261
Advanced Instruction Based on Stimulus Equivalence (and Other Stimulus Relations): An Evidence-Based Practice?
Sunday, May 25, 2008
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Williford B
Area: EDC/EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Daniel Mark Fienup (Illinois State University)
Abstract: This session describes work that deviates from most instructional applications of stimulus equivalence and other stimulus-class technology in two important ways. First, most applications focus on teaching rudimentary skills to impaired learners. By contrast, the papers in this session focus on teaching advanced academic subjects to advanced learners. Second, almost all relevant research examines whether a few learners improve from pretest to posttest, an experimental design strategy that has little relevance within modern conceptions of evidence-based practice. By contrast, the studies to be described employ a range of designs that begin the process of characterizing this type of instruction as an evidence-based practice.
Accelerated Acquisition of Mathematical Relations: Construction-Based Responding.
CHRIS NINNESS (Stephen F. Austin State University), Robin Rumph (Stephen F. Austin State University), Glen L. McCuller (Stephen F. Austin State University), David Lawson (Stephen F. Austin State University), Jennifer McGinty (Stephen F. Austin State University), Sharon K. Ninness (Stephen F. Austin State University), James Holland (Stephen F. Austin State University), Shauna Swinney (Stephen F. Austin State University)
Abstract: In the exploration and understanding of mathematical concepts, cognitive psychology has sustained a long and vigorous (if somewhat unproductive) campaign. Recent international assessments (e.g., PISA, 2003), indicate that nearly every developed nation has surpassed U.S. high school students in all areas of quantitative skills. Our ambition is to develop and deploy a series of construction-based, web-interactive architectures that generate relational networks addressing a wide range of math skills including trigonometric identities, inverse trigonometric functions, and conversion of polar coordinates to rectangular coordinates and vice-versa. While some of these topics may appear esoteric and perhaps even beyond the grasp of students with limited mathematical histories, our recent investigations suggest that mathematically inexperienced, but verbally competent individuals are capable of quickly acquiring extremely large, complex, and multifaceted abstract concepts rather efficiently when exposed to these procedures.
Teaching Students to Identify Interaction Effects in Factorial-Design Data: An Equivalence-Class Analysis.
LANNY FIELDS (Queens College, City University of New York), Robert Travis (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York), Liliane DeAguiar-Rocha (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City Unive), Eytan David Yadlovker (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)
Abstract: The combined effects of two independent variables can yield any of several effects: no interaction, a cross over interaction, a synergistic interaction, or a divergent interaction. Each form of interaction can be represented by a graph, a table, a textual description, a definitional descriptions, and by one of the labels mentioned above. The present research showed how equivalence classes can be formed among these stimuli. College students first completed a paper/pencil pre-test, after which half (experimental group) were given equivalence class training on a computer that typically took less than 90 minutes. Remaining students comprised a no-intervention control group; they returned to the laboratory 90 minutes later. All students finished with a paper/pencil post-test. The pre-test mean was about 40%. On the post-test the mean for the no-intervention group was unchanged, while the experimental group scored about 85% (the group difference was significant at p < .004). Similar differences were seen for pairs of individuals who were matched for pre-test score. The pre- and post-test differed considerably in format from the computer learning environment, and included questions in which interaction effects were described in novel contexts. Thus, these assessments, which are similar to what is encountered in everyday academic settings, reveal a degree of generality. Given the reliability and ease of implementation of the training procedure, it could readily be applied in a classroom setting, even by instructors who are not conversant with the details of establishing equivalence classes. An obvious future direction is to compare the efficacy of this equivalence-based approach with that of more traditional approaches to teaching the same material.
Efficiently Establishing Contextually-controlled Concepts of Inferential Statistics and Hypothesis Decision Making: Lab and Classroom.
DANIEL MARK FIENUP (Illinois State University), Thomas S. Critchfield (Illinois State University), Daniel P. Covey (Illinois State University)
Abstract: In a programmed instructional module, college students learned conditional discriminations that created two equivalence classes, one related to statistical significance and the other related to hypothesis decision-making. As a result of training based on contextually-controlled conditional discriminations, they also learned to apply statistical significance to hypothesis decisions. The module was efficient in that students made few mistakes during training and after being taught a few facts were master of many emergent (untaught) facts. In a small-N design, Study 1 showed these effects under well controlled laboratory conditions (efficacy). In an approximation of a randomized controlled trial, Study 2 explored the generality of effects when the module was employed under classroom contingencies (transportability). Some lessons for bolstering the status of equivalence-based instruction as an empirically-supported practice are considered.
Using Stimulus Equivalence to Teach Drug Names: Empirically-Validated Learning Efficiency.
TRACY E. ZINN (James Madison University), M. Christopher Newland (Auburn University)
Abstract: In the stimulus equivalence literature, there are few applications using non-arbitrary stimuli and even fewer using non-arbitrary stimuli with college students. Here I will discuss two studies that addressed the following goals: (a) to apply a stimulus equivalence procedure to the learning of drug names by college students, (b) to compare a stimulus equivalence training procedure to a more traditional training procedure, and (c) to conduct a component analysis to determine the most efficient and effective way of teaching drug terminology using a stimulus equivalence paradigm. Results of these studies showed that stimulus equivalence was effective in teaching drug names, and required less student time and effort than the alternative approach. Furthermore, the training components participants received affected how well they learned the stimulus-response relations.



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