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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #183
CE Offered: BACB
The Efficacy of Stimulus Control Technologies to Increase Skill Acquisition
Monday, May 30, 2016
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Grand Suite 3, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA
CE Instructor: Russell W. Maguire, Ph.D.
Chair: Megan Breault (RCS Learning Center)
Discussant: Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College)
Abstract: It is critical that the relevant features of discriminative stimuli come to predict and control learner responding. However, use of inadequate transfer of control procedures and inappropriate training structures often result in prompt dependency and lack of skill acquisition. These four studies employed various transfer of control methods and innovative training structures, based on a stimulus control analysis. In study 1, participants demonstrated both trained and emergent stimulus-stimulus relations following an errorless teaching protocol. The errorless protocol was shown to be more effective for acquiring skills than a trial-and-error strategy. Study 2 utilized errorless teaching procedures to teach novel conditional discriminations for stimulus classes comprised of non-auditory stimuli. The instructional design was arranged such that emergent topography-based verbal behavior was demonstrated. The third study analyzed the relative effectiveness of response prompts versus stimulus prompts to increase conditional discriminations. Results showed that participants acquired skills more rapidly when provided with stimulus prompts. In the 4th study, control by multiple elements was assessed through a stimulus equivalence paradigm. It was demonstrated that participants demonstrated both trained and emergent stimulus-stimulus relations when presented with both complex and simple sample stimuli.
Keyword(s): equivalence, errorless, verbal behavior
The Formation of Equivalence Classes Following Errorless Instruction and Trial-and–Error Teaching
RUSSELL W. MAGUIRE (Simmons College), Kelly O'Loughlin (RCS Learning Center), Christina M. Boyd-Pickard (RCS Learning Center/Simmons College), Colleen Yorlets (RCS Behavioral & Educational Consulting/Simmons College)
Abstract: The emergence of untrained stimulus- stimulus relations indicative of equivalence class formation typically occurs following the teaching of specific conditional discriminations. Past research has suggested that instruction of the prerequisite relations via an errorless protocol, as opposed to typical trial-and-error training resulted in fewer trials-to-criterion, fewer errors, and the formation of more stimulus classes. Despite this evidence, trial-and-error strategies are often still part of instructional practice. In the present experiment, which replicated Maguire (1986), two participants with an autism spectrum disorder were taught discriminations via errorless instruction or trial-and–error training. The results indicated that both participants failed to acquire the targeted conditional discriminations following trial-and–error training but learned them during remediation via delayed prompt training. Additionally, the errorless instruction protocol resulted in more rapid acquisition of the prerequisite relations and the emergence of subsequent equivalence class formation. The results are discussed in terms of teaching complex skills to children with developmental disabilities.
The Emergence of Derived Verbal Behavior in the Absence of an Auditory Stimulus
CHRISTINA M. BOYD-PICKARD (RCS Learning Center/Simmons College), Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College), Colleen Yorlets (RCS Behavioral & Educational Consulting/Simmons College), Megan Breault (RCS Learning Center/Simmons College)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of training three stimulus-stimulus relations (tacting and arbitrary conditional discriminations) and then testing for the emergence of nine additional untrained relations: tacts (naming or labeling), listener behavior (physically dissimilar stimuli to one another), and arbitrary visual-visual stimulus relations. Participants were taught to name three different nonsense forms from one class (e.g. B1, B2, B3) and trained to match physically dissimilar stimuli across two relations and three classes (e.g. B-C and D-B). Following training, participants were tested in matching physically dissimilar experimental stimuli (e.g. C-B, C-D, D-C, B-D), listener responding (e.g. A-B, A-C, and A-D), and tacting (e.g. C-E, and D-E). The purpose of this study was to extend a previous study (Boyd-Pickard, 2015) and to evaluate if replacing the auditory stimulus with a motor movement and altering the training structure would result in emergent stimulus-stimulus relations. Participants included two typically developing adults and preliminary results indicate replication of previous findings. Keywords: stimulus equivalence, verbal operants, derived relations, naming
Response Prompts Versus Stimulus Prompts: A Comparison for Teaching Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders
MEGAN BREAULT (RCS Learning Center/Simmons College), Christina M. Boyd-Pickard (RCS Learning Center/Simmons College), Colleen Yorlets (RCS Behavioral & Educational Consulting/Simmons College), Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College)
Abstract: A potential problem with the use of response prompts in applied settings to teach children with autism is that the prompts are susceptible to procedural drift. While stimulus prompts may serve an efficient and effective alternative to response prompts, these are often not utilized. This study compared the use of response prompts to a simple technological intervention using stimulus prompts. (e.g., systematically altering the intensity of S-stimuli within a PowerPoint program on a laptop computer). Three participants diagnosed with autism between the ages of 812 were taught conditional discriminations, either by response prompts or stimulus prompts, within a changing conditions design. Not only were the stimulus prompts more effective and efficient (e.g., fewer trials to criterion and fewer errors) because of the technological delivery system of the stimulus prompts, the possibility for procedural drift was eradicated. These results are discussed in terms of improving the efficacy of teaching students with autism spectrum disorders.
The Acquisition of Complex Conditional Discriminations in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders via Matching-to-Complex Samples
COLLEEN YORLETS (RCS Behavioral & Educational Consulting/Simmons College), Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College), Christina M. Boyd-Pickard (RCS Learning Center/Simmons College), Megan Breault (RCS Learning Center/Simmons College), Kelly O'Loughlin (RCS Learning Center)
Abstract: Students with autism spectrum disorders have been reported to demonstrate stimulus over-selectivity or restricted stimulus control (i.e., failure to respond to all the critical elements of multi-element complex stimuli). This potential may have a detrimental impact on the acquisition of academic skills for these individuals if the stimuli in question contain multiple controlling elements (i.e., learning the relation between spoken words and PECS symbols and AAC icons). This study presents a number of methodologies by which attention to, and the subsequent control by, multiple elements of a complex stimulus was demonstrated. In Experiment One, a 13-year-old non-vocal boy with an autism spectrum disorder was taught to select printed word comparisons contingent on their spoken + signed name comparisons (e.g., a complex stimulus) via errorless instruction. Following training, tests conducted in extinction verified accurate control by each element over printed word comparison. In Experiment 2, a 8 year-old student with autism spectrum disorder was taught identity-matching-to-complex samples (e.g., samples containing two, physically dissimilar yet related visual stimuli). Following training, tests conducted in extinction verified accurate control by each element. The data are discussed in terms of maximizing student learning while avoiding the potential pitfalls of error histories.
 

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