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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #447
CE Offered: BACB
Applying the Stimulus Equivalence Paradigm to Adaptive Skills Training for Individuals with Autism
Monday, May 26, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W184d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College)
CE Instructor: Russell W. Maguire, Ph.D.

Numerous studies in the field of Experimental Analysis of Behavior have demonstrated the efficacy of discrimination training in forming both trained and emergent stimulus relations. These effects are, however, less documented within the applied research literature, despite a natural categories model which accounts for variations within stimuli classes as are found within the natural environment. In the first study, two participants formed emergent equivalence classes following auditory-visual and auditory-textual discrimination training involving the stimuli: cup, bus, and hat. Following this training, the participant was also able to spell the words when presented with an auditory stimulus, without training or reinforcement. In the second study, two participants demonstrated derived stimulus-stimulus relations between the stimulus classes of textual representations of food items and textual representations of food categories. In the third study, a participant demonstrated emergent equivalences between classes demonstrating pictorial representations of scenarios and safety procedures. All three studies extended applied research by applying the natural categories model to participants within the natural environment.

Keyword(s): Conditional Discrimination, Natural Categories, Stimulus Equivalence

The Use of the Stimulus Equivalence Paradigm to Evoke Novel Reading and Writing Equivalences

MEGAN BREAULT (RCS Learning Center)

Reading comprehension is often evaluated through arbitrary matching. In this experiment, two participants, ages 12 and 13 and both diagnosed with autism, were trained using errorless learning to develop three, three member classes (A represents an auditory stimulus, B a visual stimulus and C a textual stimulus) of a cup, bus, and hat. The participant was trained on two stimulus-stimulus relations (A-B, and A-C). Results indicated that from this, four stimulus-stimulus relations emerged, despite B-C and C-B relations not being reinforced or trained. Results indicated that the participant successfully demonstrated arbitrary matching of words to pictures for the three trained stimuli. Transitive and symmetric emergent relations between the B and C classes were demonstrated, while symmetric relations for the A to C and A to B could not be tested, they were inferred by the formation of the transitive relation. Results also indicated that the participant successfully demonstrated a fourth relation A-D (producing the written form of the word after the presentation of the auditory stimulus). IOA data were collected for 66% of sessions.


Using Conditional Discrimination Training to Form Equivalence Classes among Grocery Items and their Locations

STACEE HANSEN (RCS Learning Center)

Achieving independence when teaching self-help skills to individuals with autism often requires the time consuming process of breaking down a large concept into smaller, more teachable units. Participants in this study were two teenagers diagnosed with autism who accessed the grocery store weekly as part of their educational program. Participants were taught to match pictures of grocery items (B stimuli) to their written names (A stimuli) and then taught to match printed categories of grocery items (C stimuli) again, to their written names (A stimuli). During pre-testing, all stimulus relations were tested to establish an identity matching repertoire as well as the absence of non-identical matching-to-sample. Following conditional discrimination training, three, three member equivalence classes were formed and documented by the emergence of reflexive (A-A, B-B, C-C), symmetrical (A-B, B-A; A-C, C-A), and transitive (B-C) relations. These results are discussed in terms of applying the stimulus equivalence paradigm to teaching students with developmental disabilities adaptive skills.


Increasing Safety Skills through Discrimination Training and Derived Stimulus-Stimulus Relations

COLLEEN YORLETS (RCS Behavioral & Educational Consulting)

Existing research on safety skills seldom examines the potential emergence of equivalent stimulus relations, as a result of training other relations. The current study utilized discrimination training and errorless teaching procedures to teach 1 individual diagnosed with autism to form stimulus-stimulus relations between pictorial representations of various items/scenarios, categorization of safety levels, and appropriate safety procedures. During the pre-testing condition, all reflexive, symmetric, and transitive relations were presented and tested through counterbalanced Powerpoint slides. During the training condition, A-B and B-C discrimination training was conducted, with the use of a prompting time delay procedure. Once the participant demonstrated acquisition of A-B and B-C relations, untrained A-C relations were tested to determine if equivalence emerged. A multiple baseline design across stimuli sets was utilized to analyze acquisition of target skills. Data demonstrated that emergent equivalent relations were formed, subsequent to conditional discrimination training. Study implications include the efficacy of discrimination training for teaching stimulus-stimulus relations in the area of safety skills, as well as for demonstrating emergent stimulus-stimulus relations.




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