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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #466
The Science of Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior: Basic and Translational Research
Monday, May 27, 2019
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom CD South
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Mike Harman (Briar Cliff University)
Abstract: In the current symposium, the authors will present a series of basic research investigations related to verbal behavior. In the first presentation, Harman and colleagues will present a study that demonstrates the effects of disrupting (i.e., introducing irrelevant sources of stimulus control) and blocking overt verbal behavior (i.e., engagement in competing verbal behavior) on the completion of basic arithmetic problems in typically developing adults. In the second presentation, Cox and colleagues will present a two-part study demonstrating training sequence effects in the context of training to relate visual stimuli to verbal labels prior to- or following training to relate pairs of labels in a vocal match-to-sample task across auditory-visual (experiment 1) and auditory-print (experiment 2) emergent conditional discriminations in typically developing adults. In the third presentation, Cordeiro and colleagues will present a study that demonstrates the interaction between speaker behavior (e.g., talking out loud) on the acquisition of relational tacts (i.e., analogical reasoning: same or different) across arbitrary stimuli in typically developing adults.
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): Basic research, Verbal behavior
An Experimental Analysis of Verbal Behavior: The Effects of Auditory Stimuli and Competing Verbal Behavior on the Completion of Math Problems
MIKE HARMAN (Briar Cliff University), Tiffany Kodak (Marquette University), Leah Bohl (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ), Theresa Mayland (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ), Sarah Farhan (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent to which a final verbal response is dependent on verbal behavior (covert or overt) occurring between the offset of the discriminative stimulus and the target response. Participants were instructed to solve an arithmetic problem while continuously emitting overt verbal behavior. The overt verbal behavior either consisted of “whatever the participant was thinking” (think aloud condition), or of reciting the ABCs (blocking condition). A third condition consisted of a playing an auditory file containing the ABCs during the response interval (disrupt condition). Data was collected on the latency to respond, attempts to provide a correct response, and the rate of echoic and self-echoic responses emitted during the response interval. Participants’ mean latency to respond and mean number of attempts was the greatest during the blocking condition. Furthermore, participants’ mean rate of echoic and self-echoic responses significantly decreased during the blocking condition. When participants were instructed to emit verbal behavior in opposition to the verbal behavior necessary to solving the math problem, responding suffered compared to conditions in which competing verbal behavior was not required. In sum, appropriately responding to an arithmetic problem requires emitting and attending to one’s own verbal behavior.

Effects of Baseline Training Sequence in Vocal and Match-To-Sample Format on Speed of Emergent Conditional Discriminations

REAGAN ELAINE COX (Texas Christian University ), Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)

The purpose of this study was to compare two instructional sequences on emergent relations between visual stimuli. Participants were college students between the ages of 18 and 47 years. In each of two experiments, 16 participants were assigned to a standard group that received training to relate visual stimuli to verbal labels prior to training to relate pairs of labels, and 16 participants to a reverse group that received the opposite training sequence. Emergent relations between visual stimuli were assessed in match-to-sample (MTS) format. In line with previous findings, we predicted that the standard group would perform with greater speed on the MTS test. Experiment 1 attempted to replicate the results of a prior study in which baseline relations were trained as vocal tacts and intraverbals, while taking steps to increase baseline retention from the prior study. Baseline retention increased but although between-group differences in reaction times were in the predicted direction they were not statistically significant. In Experiment 2, vocal tact and intraverbal training were replaced with analogous MTS tasks involving visual stimuli and print labels, and the standard group had significantly faster reaction times during testing than the reverse group (p = .01).

The Role of Tact and Listener Training on the Establishment of Analogical Reasoning
MARIA CLARA CORDEIRO (California State University, Sacramento ), Tatiana Zhirnova (California State University Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: Analogical reasoning has been modeled in the laboratory by assessing whether participants can relate two different stimulus classes based on the relationship within their elements (equivalence-equivalence responding). Previous research suggested that positive performances on analogy tests depend on both the presence of relational tacts and listener behavior. The purpose of this study was to further assess the role verbal behavior in the establishment of analogical reasoning. Eight college students learned to tact arbitrary stimuli as “vek,” “zog,” or “paf” and were assessed on whether they could engage in relational tacts when these stimuli were presented in compounds (e.g., vek-zog, as “different”). All eight participants only tacted individual components (e.g., “vek-zog”) during relational tact tests and passed all analogy tests (see data). The four participants who were asked to “talk out loud” during analogy tests, tacted the relationship among class members and the relationships between sample and comparison stimuli, such as “same” and “different.” These results suggest that speaker behavior is necessary for analogical reasoning performances. These results are currently being replicated with listener training only.



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