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 #276
CE Offered: BACB
Expanding Current Instructional Technologies to Teach Emergent Language: Adjectives and Verbs
Sunday, May 28, 2017
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3A
Area: VRB/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Anusha Subramanyam (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Anusha Subramanyam, Ph.D.
Abstract: Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and Equivalence-Based Instruction (EBI) provide frameworks with which to teach and measure language acquisition. This symposium includes two studies that sought to extend existing research on emergent behavior by expanding the methodology typically used and the scope of language taught. The first study compared the effects of different learning channels on the acquisition of intraverbal hierarchical relations involving object-attribute relations. The second study compared the effects of multiple-exemplar picture and video formats to teach actions as generalized equivalence classes. Both studies incorporated fluency-based training to promote emergent behavior. These studies serve as preliminary investigations into under-researched areas of language. The methodologies combined best practices from relational response training, instructional design, and Precision Teaching. Presenters will discuss areas of further research to promote the continued expansion of instructional technologies targeting emergent stimulus relations.
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): Emergent Relations, Fluency, Language Acquisition

Comparing the Effects of Different Combinations of Learning Channels on the Acquisition of Hierarchical Relational Responding of Children With Autism

AARTI HARESH THAKORE (Central Texas Autism Center), Fawna Stockwell (Upswing Advocates), John W. Eshleman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Scott Herbst (SixFlex Training)

Hierarchical relational training can be used to establish tact and intraverbal responses based on function-feature-class to children with language delays. The purpose of the study was to compare the effects of different combinations of learning stream (HearSeeSay, HearSeeTasteSay, HearSeeSniffSay, and HearSeeTouchSay) on the acquisition of object-attribute hierarchical relations, on the emergence of untrained attribute-object hierarchical relations, and the acquisition and emergence of sameness and opposition relations between objects. Lastly, this study also included a fluency-based practice component for participants who did not meet criterion during the initial training. Participants in the study were children diagnosed with autism ranging between 4 and 12-years-old. Overall results showed that all six participants required a greater number of trials to meet criterion in the HearSeeSay condition as compared to the HearSeeTouchTaste/SniffSay condition. In addition, all participants required the greatest number of fluency practice timings in the HearSeeSay condition to meet aim. All participants showed the emergence of untrained relations, but most required fluency practice timings during Set 1 in order to pass those relational testing trials. However, on stimulus Set 2, five of six participants showed the emergence of at least some derived relations without requiring fluency practice timings.

A Further Analysis of Teaching Generalized Action Verb-Referent Relations: Applying Instructional Design to Equivalence-Based Instruction
ANUSHA SUBRAMANYAM (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), John W. Eshleman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Fawna Stockwell (Upswing Advocates), Scott Herbst (SixFlex Training)
Abstract: This experiment tested the effectiveness of an equivalence-based instructional procedure on verb acquisition among five typically developing, low-performing first grade students. Additionally, the researcher compared the possibly differential effects of picture and video formats to teach actions as concepts. The researcher custom-designed a computerized, multiple exemplar plus fluency-based match-to-sample training procedure to directly train 96 total relations across 24 potential generalized equivalence classes (i.e., 24 verbs). After training, students completed post-tests for 408 potential untaught relations per verb. The independent variables in this study were the (1) instructional procedure implemented and (2) instructional visual depiction formats—photo and video. A multiple treatments, multi-probe experimental design was conducted. The researcher measured (1) accuracy, (2) rate of response, (3) number of criterion-level performances, (4) number of derived and generalized relations, and (5) number of stimulus classes formed across three dependent variables: emergent relations tests, generalized emergence tests, and retention tests. The results showed that (1) the procedure implemented was overall effective in facilitating verb acquisition across some but not all measures tested, (2) video format was as, if not more, effective compared to picture format, and (3) which format promotes better acquisition may depend on the unique learning history of the individual.



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