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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #241
CE Offered: BACB
Research on Imagining and Problem Solving: Investigations into Private Events and Complex Behavior
Sunday, May 24, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon I
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: April N. Kisamore (Hunter College)
CE Instructor: April N. Kisamore, Ph.D.

There has recently been an increased interest in research on complex behavior such as imagining and problem solving. Problem solving is relevant to a variety of social, academic, and employment tasks, but we have little research to guide practices in these areas. In addition, behavior analytic researchers have only recently begun to evaluate the effects of prompting private events, such as imagining, on subsequent overt responding. The three papers in this symposium provide examples of how behavior analysts are pushing the boundaries in research on complex behavior. The authors of the first paper evaluated the effects of teaching skills to solve common social problems, the second sought to teach children with ASD how to imagine to answer complex questions, and the purpose of the third was to determine if there were any effects of instructing imagining on emergent relations.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): applied research, basic research, problem solving, visual imagining
Target Audience:

Behavior analytic researchers or clinicians interested in learning more about recent advances in our understanding of private events and problem solving.

Teaching Individuals with Autism to Solve Social Problems
(Applied Research)
VICTORIA DANIELA CASTILLO (Endicott College), Adel C. Najdowski (Pepperdine University), Megan Michelle St. Clair (Halo Behavioral Health), Peter Farag (Halo), Emma Isabel Moon (Halo Behavioral Health)
Abstract: A defining feature of autism spectrum disorder is demonstration of deficits in social skills (DSM-5, American Psychological Association, 2013). Being able to solve social problems is a social skill that is important for successful social interaction, maintenance of relationships, and functional integration into society (Bonet et al., 2015), yet there is limited research that has been conducted on this topic with individuals with autism. This study uses a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across participants design to assess the efficacy of a social problem-solving intervention consisting of multiple exemplar training, error correction, and reinforcement on the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of social problem solving to naturally occurring untrained social problems. Current data represent baseline and pretraining performance for two participants and the introduction of intervention for participant one. Data thus far demonstrates an initial increase in social problem solving upon implementation of the intervention. Future data will be reported on the effects of the intervention on social problem solving for the two current participants as well as an additional third participant.

Effects of Visual Imagining on the Acquisition of Multiply Controlled Intraverbals in Children With Autism

(Applied Research)
SHANNON RAIMONDO (Caldwell University), April N. Kisamore (Hunter College), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Tina Sidener (Caldwell University)

Intraverbals that children learn early in development (e.g., song fill-ins, chains) are often the result of simple stimulus control. As the intraverbal repertoire becomes more complex, it is rare that these responses are controlled by a single discriminative stimulus; rather they are under the control of multiple stimuli. The purpose of this study was to systematically replicate and extend the work of Kisamore, Carr, and LeBlanc (2011) by evaluating the effects of visual imagining training on multiply controlled intraverbals in children with ASD. We programmed for generalization by using multiple exemplars of stimuli and assessed across novel responses and a novel category. We included measures of external validity by including participant scores on several language assessments and we included measures of social validity of our stimuli, procedures, and outcomes. We predicted that there would be an increase in responding to the complex intraverbals following visual imagining training and that responding would generalize both within and across categories. Preliminary data suggest an increase in responding following training and some generalization across categories. However, generalization within categories is not as robust. Additional data collection is ongoing.

Effects of Visual Imagining on Speed of Emergent Conditional Discriminations
(Applied Research)
REAGAN ELAINE COX (Texas Christian University), Camille Roberts (Texas Christian University), Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of instructed visualization on emergent relations between visual stimuli. Participants were college students at Texas Christian University. 25 participants were assigned to each of three groups. The standard group received match-to-sample (MTS) training to relate abstract visual stimuli to nonsense text labels prior to training to relate pairs of labels. The reverse group received the same training in the opposite sequence, and the directed visualization group received the standard training sequence with the addition of instructions to visualize the abstract stimuli when learning to relate the pairs of textual stimuli. A post-test assessed emergent relations between the abstract stimuli. We predicted that the directed visualization group would perform with greater speed and accuracy than the standard group, and that the standard group would in turn outperform the reverse group due to uninstructed visualization. Preliminary data suggest participants in all groups are responding with similar speed on the post-test. However, participants in the directed visualization group are performing with higher accuracy on the post-test test than the other groups. Additional data collection is ongoing.



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