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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #322
CE Offered: BACB
Advanced Verbal Behavior
Sunday, May 28, 2017
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3A
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Corey S. Stocco (University of the Pacific)
Discussant: Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)
CE Instructor: Corey S. Stocco, Ph.D.
Abstract: To achieve robust technology for teaching verbal behavior, we must develop a thorough understanding of controlling variables across a wide variety of conditions. This symposium includes studies investigating a range of verbal responses of children with autism and children of typical development. Emery and Lechago evaluated a procedure that included contrived motivating operations to teach mands for information to children with autism. In a similar vein, Zube et al. studied the effects of teaching procedures on the acquisition of multiply controlled intraverbal responses. Changing the focus to children of typical development, LaFond et al. investigated the emergence of safety skills produced by equivalence-based instruction. Saavedra et al. assessed the influence of rules on the honest reports of children in environments with conflicting reinforcement contingencies. As a whole, these studies will share data that contribute to the understanding and treatment of verbal behavior that presents a number of challenges.
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): correspondence, equivalence, intraverbals, mands

Contriving Motivating Operations to Teach the "Why?" Mand for Information to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

JULIA EMERY (University of Houston- Clear Lake), Sarah A. Lechago (University of Houston-Clear Lake)

Mands for information are ubiquitous in daily conversation and constitute an important part of a verbal behavior repertoire. Manding for information brings multiple benefits to the speaker including obtaining needed items and information, navigating the environment more efficiently, and acquisition of additional verbal behavior (What is it?). Since information often does not function as a reinforcer for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), contriving the motivating operation (MO) to teach mands for information can prove to be a challenging task. In the present study, a multiple probe design is used to examine the effects of contriving the motivating operation and echoic prompts to teach the Why? mand for information to individuals diagnosed with ASD. Specifically, the authors examined whether the mand for information would generalize across MOs. Three MO conditions were contrived: 1) delayed access to a preferred item or edible, 2) barriers to a preferred item or edible, and 3) conversation on preferred topics. Thus far, we have collected data for one participant. The results for our fist participant demonstrate that contriving the MOs and using the echoic prompt was successful to teach Why?. The mand generalized to 1 MO (from barriers to items to delayed access to items), however, training was required for the third MO (conversation). No responding occurred during the control condition during which there was no MO to mand for Why?. Data on additional participants is currently being collected.


Teaching Multiply Controlled Intraverbals to Children With Autism

MICHELLE L ZUBE (Caldwell University), April N. Kisamore (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Catherine Taylor-Santa (Caldwell University), Lauren Goodwyn (Garden Academy)

Intraverbals are important for social, academic, and problem solving success. Some intraverbals are more complex than others due to multiple control. Individuals with autism may struggle to learn multiply controlled intraverbals due to problems with stimulus overselectivity. To date, only one study has evaluated strategies for teaching multiply controlled intraverbals to children with autism. The purpose of this investigation was to replicate and extend past research on teaching multiply controlled intraverbals by evaluating (a) the effects of an errorless teaching procedure in the form of a progressive prompt delay, (b) the effects of a differential observing response (DOR) if the progressive prompt delay was not effective, and (c) the effects of adding a listener response to the DOR if it was not effective alone on the acquisition of multiply controlled intraverbals by three children with autism. All participants learned at least one set of multiply controlled intraverbals with the progressive prompt delay. All participants also required additional teaching procedures (DOR, DOR plus listener response) to learn some sets of multiply controlled intraverbals. Based on these findings, it seems that listener responding might be effective for teaching DORs when speaker responses alone are not sufficient.

Using Stimulus Equivalence-Based Instruction to Teach Primary Caregivers’ Contact Information to Children of Typical Development
TIFFANY LAFOND (Caldwell College), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Jessica Day-Watkins (Caldwell University)
Abstract: Past studies have evaluated safety skills or abduction prevention skills with people with disabilities. However, few studies have taught safety skills for such individuals when lost. Equivalence-based instruction (EBI) has been effective in teaching a variety of skills and might be useful to teach safety skills to children. The present study used EBI to teach primary caregiver's basic contact information to typically developing children. Three classes were trained; each equivalence class consisted of a picture of the caregiver, his or her written name, phone number, and name of place of work. A pretest-train-posttest maintenance design with a control group was used with a one-to-many (OTM) training structure. All untrained novel relations emerged for each experimental participant, demonstrating the effectiveness of EBI in teaching safety skills. Overall, the experimental participants demonstrated higher levels of accurate responding in all assessments (oral, match-to-sample, and generalization probe) than the control participants.

Using Rules to Improve the Honest Reports of Children in Environments With Conflicting Reinforcement Contingencies

JESSICA SAUTER (Briar Cliff University), Ingrid Saavedra (University of the Pacific), Corey S. Stocco (University of the Pacific)

Despite caregiver reports that lying is a common concern with children of typical development, there is little research that informs strategies to improve honesty. Previous research has demonstrated that the honest reports of children are sensitive to rules and contingencies, but we know little about the interaction between these variables. We evaluated the influence of rules framed as honesty produces reinforcers when reinforcement favors lying. We observed children of typical development during a homework completion task in which they completed a math worksheet and reported their answers. Baseline included reinforcement for reports of correct answers, even if the answer was incorrect. In the rule condition, we systematically replicated previous research by reading a story that included a moral (i.e., rule) framed as honesty produced reinforcers. To date, the rule has produced mixed results across participants, but in all cases, reinforcing honesty was required to produce consistent results.




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