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; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #270
CE Offered: BACB
Further Evaluation of the Effects of Differential Qualities of Praise and Instructive Feedback on the Rate of Skill Acquisition
Sunday, May 24, 2020
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Yanerys Leon (University of Miami)
Discussant: Corina Jimenez-Gomez (Auburn University)
CE Instructor: Corina Jimenez-Gomez, Ph.D.

The content and quality of verbal programmed consequences during discrete trial instruction has been shown to influence skill acquisition. This symposium describes recent research examining a) the effects of differential qualities of praise (i.e., enthusiastic, neutral) b) specificity of praise (i.e., behavior-specific, general), and c) content and schedule of instructive feedback on acquisition of skills during discrete trial instruction. Results collectively demonstrate the impact of these varying dimensions of praise and instructive feedback both on the rate of skill acquisition of target responses and the emergence of novel, untrained responses. Results will be discussed in terms of implications for producing effective and efficient teaching procedures for individuals receiving discrete trial instruction.

Target Audience:

Master's level practitioners, clinical directors, applied researchers

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe the effects of enthusiastic relative to neutral praise on the rate of skill acquisition. 2. Describe the effects of behavior-specific praise relative to general praise on the rate of skill acquisition. 3. Describe the effect of instructive feedback on the emergence of untrained responses. 4. Describe the effect and efficiency of different schedules of implementation of instructive feedback.

A Systematic Replication on the Effects of Neutral, Enthusiastic, and No Praise on Skill Acquisition

RAHMA ISMAIL (Florida Institute of Technology), Claudia Campos (Florida Institute of Technology), Yanerys Leon (University of Miami), Mary Gilhuly (Florida Institute of Technology)

Praise is a social stimulus typically provided contingent on socially appropriate responses or as a treatment component to increase appropriate behavior in behavioral interventions. However, the effects of different variables (e.g., quality, tone, magnitude, content) that may influence the effectiveness and efficiency of praise have not received much attention in the literature. An exception is Weyman and Sy (2018)’s evaluation of enthusiastic praise, neutral praise, and no praise on skill acquisition targets in individuals with developmental disabilities. Their results suggest that all individuals learned in all conditions. However, enthusiactic praise resulted in faster acquisition of the targets. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to systematically replicate Weyman and Sy (2018) on the effects of neutral, enthusiactic, and no praise on skill acquisition. Thus far, two children with autism spectrum disorder have participated in this study. Our preliminary results for both participants replicate previous research by Weyman and Sy (2018).


A Comparison of Behavior-Specific Praise and General Praise With Instructive Feedback

NATALIE MANDEL (University of South Florida), Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini (University of South Florida), Jeff Schram (Engage Behavioral Health)

It’s recommended that behavior-specific praise be provided as consequence for correct responding (Anderson, Taras, & Cannon, 1996), however, research supporting this claim is scarce. Previous research comparing behavior-specific and general praise has found idiosyncratic results (Fueyo, Saundaragas, and Bushell, 1975; Stevens, Sidener, Reeve, and Sidener, 2011; Polick, Carr, and Hanney, 2012). The purpose of this investigation was to compare the effects of instructive feedback combined with behavior-specific praise (e.g., “Nice work, touching the typewriter and the color is jade”) and general praise (e.g., “Nice work and the color is slate”) on skill acquisition of unprompted receptive identification and untrained skills. Additionally, this study extended previous research by including a reinforcer assessment for both types of praise, omitting the use of prompting, error correction, and other reinforcers. Participants were children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Results suggest that behavior-specific praise may be more effective, and that instructive feedback may increase instructional efficiency.


CANCELED: The Influence of Instructive Feedback Presentation Schedule: A Replication With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

CASEY NOTTINGHAM (ABA Collective, LLC.), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), Meghan Deshais (Caldwell University), Jaime DeQuinzio (Alpine Learning Group)

Instructive feedback (IF) is a modification to discrete trial instruction during which secondary targets are incorporated into learning trials and that may increase instructional efficiency for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Several variations of IF have recently been evaluated in the literature; however, few studies have assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of presenting secondary targets on continuous versus intermittent presentation schedules. The current study evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of various presentation schedules of secondary targets during discrete trial instruction. Specifically, we replicated and extended Griffen, Schuster, and Morse (1998) by comparing a condition in which secondary targets were presented during each trial of a session, a condition in which secondary targets were presented every other trial, and a condition in which secondary targets were presented about every four trials. Within-subject replications were included for both participants. Results indicated that one of the intermittent presentation schedules was associated with the most optimal outcomes in all four comparisons.

The Effects of Instructive Feedback on the Emergence of Untrained Relations
ASHLEY GIBBS (Georgia State University), Christopher A. Tullis (Georgia State University), Jocelyn Priester (Kiddos’ Clubhouse), Alix Johnson (Kiddos’ Clubhouse)
Abstract: Instructive feedback (IF) is an effective strategy for increasing the efficiency of targeted instruction, and previous research has demonstrated the success of IF with learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there is less research regarding the potential for IF procedures to facilitate the emergence of untrained relations. The current study evaluated the efficacy of IF during targeted instruction on the acquisition of secondary targets and the emergence of untrained relations containing the IF information in three learners with ASD. Across all three participants, IF presented before a praise statement resulted in the acquisition of secondary targets, as well as the emergence of untrained relations, that were then maintained for up to 16 weeks. These results extend the IF literature by providing evidence that IF procedures may result in the acquisition of additional untrained responses beyond the primary and secondary targets.



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