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 #101
An Evaluation of Basic and Applied Procedural Modifications to Enhance Stimulus Control
Saturday, May 27, 2017
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3B
Area: AUT/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Careen Suzanne Meyer (California State University, Sacramento)
Discussant: Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)

This symposium will look at several procedures to teach requisite skills needed for conditional responding to a variety of stimuli across visual-visual, and auditory-visual, and auditory discriminations. The first study used a basic go/no-go procedure in an attempt to establish two three-member equivalence classes for six typically developing adults, and to test whether this type of preparation could be a viable alternative to the traditional matching-to-sample (MTS) procedure. The second study replicated previous research comparing whether sample-first or comparison-first presentations eased acquisition of auditory-visual discriminations for seven typically-developing children. The third study compared three procedures to teach auditory discrimination to three children with ASD-like behaviors. The fourth study utilized a shaping procedure to establish auditory discrimination skills for three children with autism. All procedures were effective in teaching skills to adults and children with and without disabilities, and included procedural modifications that may be useful in developing alternative evidence-based teaching technologies to fragile learners.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): auditory discrimination, stimulus control

Successive Matching-to-Sample as an Alternative to Traditional Matching-to-Sample to Produce Conditional Relations in Adults

(Basic Research)
Timothy G. Howland (California State University, Sacramento ), Charisse Ann Lantaya (California State University, Sacramento), Scott Page (California State University, Sacramento ), Danielle LaFrance (H.O.P.E. Consulting, LLC; Endicott College - Institute for Behavioral Studies), KARINA ZHELEZOGLO (California State University, Sacramento), Elyse Grosskopf (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)

Although the utility of the matching-to-sample procedure (MTS) has been shown in both basic and applied settings, it requires participants to demonstrate several prerequisite skills such as simple-simultaneous and simple-successive discriminations. Our lab has conducted four experiments with 24 undergraduate students to evaluate the effectiveness of a Successive MTS (S-MTS) procedure in which only one stimulus is presented at a time. In these experiments participants were taught to touch a single comparison after the presentation of its related sample (e.g., touch B1 after A1), and not touch the comparison after the presentation of the unrelated sample (e.g., not touch B1 after A2). Although all participants learned conditional relations, participants who failed equivalence tests may have done so due to a history of reinforcement during baseline probes. In the current experiment with six participants, the removal of probes yielded similar performance (data attached). We will discuss additional manipulations, including the manipulation of experimental instructions.


Effects of Presentation Order of Sample and Comparison Stimuli During Receptive Instruction

(Applied Research)
BAILEY DEVINE (Texas Christian University), Kiley Hiett (Baylor University), Providence Gee (Texas Christian University), Gabby Aguilar (Texas A&M Corpus Christi), Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)

Receptive identification trials can be conceptualized as match-to-sample (MTS) trials in which reinforcement of a particular comparison selection (e.g., a picture) is conditional upon the presence of a specific sample stimulus (e.g., a spoken word). Consistent with common laboratory practices and related clinical recommendations, Petursdottir & Aguilar (2016) found a reliable sample-first advantage when they taught typically developing boys to identify birds and flags via laptop. The present series of experiments followed up on this finding. Experiment 1 was a systematic replication of Petursdottir & Aguilar (2016) that included prompted error correction trials following incorrect responses. Four typically developing 5- and 6-year-old boys participated. Acquisition in the sample-first and the comparison-first condition was compared in an adapted alternating-treatments design with replication across stimulus sets. An advantage of sample-first presentation was seen in 4 of 7 evaluations, whereas 2 evaluations suggested a comparison-first advantage. Thus, the sample-first advantage was less reliable than in the previous study. Possible reasons are discussed, and a second experiment is in progress to compare acquisition under sample-first and comparison-first conditions with and without error correction.

Comparing the Efficacy and Efficiency of Strategies to Teach Auditory Discrimination
(Applied Research)
SAMANTHA BERGMANN (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ), Tiffany Kodak (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee), Brittany Benitez (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee), Gabriella Van Den Elzen (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee), Terra Cliett (University of North Texas), Sophie Knutson (University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee), Leah Bohl (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee), Raven Wood (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
Abstract: An auditory discrimination involves differential behavior in the presence of auditory stimuli. An auditory discrimination of environmental sounds occurs when an individual walks to the door after the doorbell rings but not after the chime of a cell phone. Auditory discrimination may play a role in the development of vocal verbal behavior. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of behavior-analytic research on the assessment and treatment of auditory discrimination. Identifying strategies to assess and teach this skill could be especially pertinent for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who may have difficulty acquiring this skill. The current study assessed the efficacy and efficiency of three procedures: go/no-go, do this do that, and auditory match-to-sample in the acquisition of auditory discriminations. We utilized an adapted alternating treatments design with three participants with ASD or ASD-like behaviors. One of the participants demonstrated auditory discrimination with all three procedures and across three replications. The remaining two participants required the use of a differential observing response to acquire auditory discriminations with at least one procedure. Both of these participants failed to demonstrate an auditory discrimination with the go/no-go procedure despite modifications. Implications for future research and clinical practice will be discussed.

An Examination of Stimulus Control Shaping Procedures Used to Teach Auditory Discriminations

(Applied Research)
ROBERT W. ISENHOWER (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Meredith Bamond (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University), Samantha Bergmann (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ), Catriona Beauchamp Francis (DDDC, Rutgers University), Tiffany Kodak (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee), Kate E. Fiske (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University)

Auditory discrimination is a skill that many learners with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have difficulty acquiring, demonstrating, and maintaining. Development of appropriate stimulus controlwhere the auditory stimulus controls respondingcan be challenging, as auditory stimuli and visual stimuli often co-occur in discrete trial arrangements. In the current study, we detail a procedure used with three learners with ASD to enhance the likelihood that auditory stimuli, and not visual stimuli, controlled their responding. BIGMack buttons were used to play recorded sounds. Initially, learners were taught to orient to a sound played through a single BIGMack button (activated remotely out of view). Second, they were taught to locate the button playing the sound with one, and then two, distractor buttons. Next, we decreased the spacing between buttons to form a three-button array. Lastly, learners were taught to respond to the button that played the sound after the experimenter activated the buttons directly. Students 1 and 2 were able demonstrate auditory discrimination at acquisition levels. We were unable to transfer stimulus control for Student 3 once the experimenter pressed the buttons. Implications for enhancing the effectiveness of stimulus control procedures used to teaching auditory discrimination will be discussed.




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