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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #72
CE Offered: BACB
Variables Affecting Tact Acquisition and Outcomes of Tact Instruction
Saturday, May 26, 2018
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall B
Area: VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Tracy L. Lepper (McNeese State University)
CE Instructor: Tracy L. Lepper, Ph.D.

Skinner (1957) described the tact as the most important of the verbal operants, as a tact repertoire provides foundational building blocks for the establishment of more complex verbal behavior. This symposium presents basic and applied research on variables involved in the establishment of tact control and the effects of tact acquisition on other behavior. The first study compared the the efficiency of most-to-least prompting and error correction procedures in tact instruction for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The second study evaluated the effects of stimulus preference on typically developing children's acquisition of tacts and the subsequent emergence of mands and listener relations. The third study, also conducted with typically developing children, addressed the role of echoic responding in emergent tact control by assessing the effects of stimulus presentation order on control by visual stimuli over vocal responses following contiguous presentation of visual and verbal stimuli.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts; graduate students; scientists; other professionals


Comparing Error Correction to Most-to-Least Prompting to Train Tact Relations for Individuals Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial Study

(Applied Research)
JOSEPH H. CIHON (Autism Partnership Foundation; Endicott College), Justin B. Leaf (Autism Partnership Foundation), Julia Ferguson (Autism Partnership Foundation), Ronald Leaf (Autism Partnership), John James McEachin (Autism Partnership)

In this study we compared most-to-least prompting to an error correction procedure to teach 26 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) tact relations. The children were randomly assigned to either a most-to-least prompting condition or an error correction condition. Three sets of two cartoon characters, for a total of six, were targeted for children in both groups. Child responding was evaluated prior, during, fand following intervention. Additionally, the efficiency of the two procedures was evaluated through daily probes. Various statistical analyses were conducted to determine if there were any significant differences between the two conditions. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the procedures implemented in both conditions, the results, implications for future research. Furthermore, the results of this randomized control trial has several implications for clinical practice for those training tact relations for individuals diagnosed with ASD, which will also be discussed.


Effects of Pictorial Preference for Target Stimuli During Tact Training

(Basic Research)
JIMMY F TRAHAN (McNeese State University), Tracy L. Lepper (McNeese State University), Charlotte Lynn Carp (Southeastern Louisiana University)

Previous research has demonstrated that tact training with preferred stimuli facilitated the emergence of mands compared to tact training with nonpreferred stimuli in persons with intellectual disabilities (Wallace, Iwata, & Hanley, 2006). The present study seeks to replicate and extend the previous research by (a) testing typically developing children, (b) mediating some of the limitations of the mand condition and (c) testing for emergent listener responses. We trained participants to tact 3 highly preferred and 3 nonpreferred pictures of different cat breeds in Set 1, and different dog breeds in Set 2. To date, tact training is currently being conducted with two participants. Results are consistent with previous research in which acquisition of tacts is similar across both preferred and nonpreferred stimuli conditions.


Tact Emergence Following Contiguous Presentation of Verbal and Nonverbal Stimuli: Does Echoic Responding Play a Role?

(Basic Research)
ANNA I. PETURSDOTTIR (Texas Christian University), Stephanie Neaves (Texas Christian University), Orlexia Thomas (Texas Christian University)

Tact control over vocal responses may emerge in the absence of reinforcement after exposure to contiguous presentation of verbal and nonverbal stimuli. The present study examined whether covert echoic responding in the presence of the visual stimulus facilitated tact control. In Experiment 1, four children were exposed to contiguous presentation of nonverbal and verbal stimuli followed by tests for tact control over vocal responses. For three stimulus sets, the verbal stimulus was presented before the visual stimulus. For the other three, the visual stimulus was presented before the verbal stimulus, making it impossible to echo the verbal stimulus in the presence of the visual stimulus. Each participant received one session of exposure to each set. No child tacted more than one stimulus per set correctly, but correct tacts were ususally under appropriate stimulus control. Tacts were equally likely to emerge in both conditions. In Experiment 2, two children received repeated exposure to the same stimuli until tacts emerged to criterion in at least one condition. Again, there was no advantage of verbal-first presentation. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 1 while introducing overlap between verbal and nonverbal stimuli; preliminary results indicate increased tact emergence, but no effect of presentation order.




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