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 #121
CE Offered: BACB
VB-SIG Student Group Event: Evaluating Procedures to Develop Echoics, Intraverbals and Problem Solving Strategies
Saturday, May 27, 2017
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3A
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)
CE Instructor: M. Alice Shillingsburg, Ph.D.

Behavior analysis continues to make important contributions to a wide range of social, cultural, and educational problems. Studies examining procedures to promote the development and refinement of verbal behavior repertoires are critical to the enhancement of applied work. This set of papers demonstrates the range of topic areas and populations that benefit from verbal behavior research. In the first paper in this symposium, Parker and colleagues present a review of the literature on teaching echoics and summarize best practice guidelines. In the second paper, Frewing and colleagues evaluate three variations in reinforcement contingencies when teaching intraverbals and, subsequently, examine participant preference for procedures. In the third paper, Abdel-Jalil and colleagues examine an instructional package to improve problem solving in college students. This student symposium highlights the important work undertaken by talented students in the field of Verbal Behavior.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Echoics, Intraverbals, Problem solving
A Comparison of Differential and Nondifferential Reinforcement During Intraverbal Training for a Child With Autism
TYLA M. FREWING (University of British Columbia), Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno), Sarah J. Pastrana (University of British Columbia)
Abstract: Results from recent evaluations of differential reinforcement in skill acquisition programs have been mixed. Further investigation of factors that influence the effectiveness and efficiency of differential reinforcement may help practitioners arrange reinforcement contingencies that maximize instructional efficiency. One factor that may impact the effectiveness of in-session reinforcement contingencies is the preference level of items available during breaks from instruction. The present study evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of differential reinforcement, nondifferential reinforcement, and extinction (i.e., control condition) when teaching intraverbals to a child with autism under two conditions: (a) when the child had access to high-preference toys during breaks from instruction (Evaluation 1) and (b) when the child had access to low-preference toys during breaks from instruction (Evaluation 2). The participant acquired target intraverbal responses under differential reinforcement, nondifferential reinforcement in both evaluations, with some differences in efficiency of instruction. The participant demonstrated a clear preference for reinforcement contingencies in both evaluations. Implications for practitioners and directions for future research will be discussed.

Teaching Echoics: A Review of the Literature

ALLISON PARKER (Caldwell University), Tina Sidener (Caldwell University), Barbara E. Esch (Esch Behavior Consultants, LLC)

An echoic is a verbal operant in which the response is vocal and controlled by a prior auditory verbal stimulus, there is point-to-point correspondence between the stimulus and the response, and there is formal similarity between the stimulus and the response-product (Skinner, 1957). Echoics are an important element of language acquisition programs, as they are often used in transfer of stimulus control procedures to teach other verbal operants. When echoics are not observed for children, there are many questions regarding how to teach them. There is currently no review of the literature on teaching echoics to guide clinicians on best practice. Research includes various age groups and diagnoses. This presentation reviews existing literature to answer questions such as how to present vocal models, voice quality of the model, target selection, and how many targets to teach concurrently, and intervention procedures used in the literature including physical prompts, shaping and fading, modeling, chaining, high-p procedures, and natural environment teaching. We summarize this literature and make recommendations for practice and future research.

A Preliminary Investigation of How to Teach and Measure Problem Solving
AWAB ABDEL-JALIL (University of North Texas), Andrew R. Kieta (University of North Texas), Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The obvious difficulty in observing problem solving is that competent performances often occur covertly. Transferring behavior from the covert domain to the public arena allows for observation, measurement, and teaching of verbal behavior repertoires that are generally inaccessible to a public-of-others. After thorough observations, Whimbey and Lochhead identified several speaker and listener repertoires that expert problem solvers consistently and overtly used. This study began with exploratory investigations into the operational definitions of these repertoires. Researchers then developed an instructional package based on concept instruction principles and feedback models. The study explored the effects of a verbal behavior-based instructional package on the overt problem solving repertoires of undergraduate students. Researchers evaluated whether the acquisition of a general problem solving strategy yielded improved performances within a specific domain of problems, and whether use of that problem solving strategy generalized to other, untrained domains. Results will be discussed in terms of changes in overt speaker and listener repertoires. Performance data on problem solving pre and posttests within the training domain and across generalization domains will be presented.



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