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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Invited Paper Session #235
Multiple Exemplar Training: Illustrations, Limitations, and Preliminary Guidelines
Sunday, May 24, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M2, Marquis Ballroom 6
Area: PCH; Domain: Theory
Chair: David C. Palmer (Smith College)
CE Instructor: Per Holth, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: PER HOLTH (OsloMet -- Oslo Metropolitan University)

Through a set of exemplars that sample the range of stimulus and response topographies, multiple exemplar training aims to produce the full range of performances. The principle has been widely acknowledged and used in experimental psychology, in the experimental analysis of behavior, and in behavior-analytic applications. Behavior analysts have often referred to a history of multiple exemplar training to account for different generalized performances. Examples of such generalized performances are abstraction and concept learning, responding to relations, identity matching, rule following, behavioral variability, responding to wh-questions, describing past events, learning sets, and continuous repertoires. There is convincing evidence for the usefulness of multiple exemplar training with respect to many types of performances, even performances that involve relations between objects or events. Yet, there appear to be at least two important exceptions, where direct multiple exemplar training does not work well: (1) when there are no physical dimensions at all along which generalized performances can emerge, and (2) when the relation between antecedents and an effective response is complex. General limitations of multiple exemplar training as well as an interpretation of exceptions in terms of behavior-mediated generalization are discussed. Guidelines for more effective training for generalized skills are outlined.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation participants will be able to: (1) describe different procedures that have been named ‘multiple exemplar training’; (2) describe at least five different behavioral phenomena that require some kind of multiple exemplar training; (3) specify some limits to what can result from direct multiple exemplar training.
PER HOLTH (OsloMet -- Oslo Metropolitan University)
Professor Per Holth received his license to practice psychology in 1983, and his Ph.D. in 2000, with a dissertation on the generality of stimulus equivalence. His clinical work has been in services for people with autism and developmental disabilities, in psychiatric units, and in the military services. His research activities span basic research, on stimulus equivalence and joint attention, as well as applied work and management of large research projects. Per Holth has taught classes in behavior analysis and learning principles at the University of Oslo and Oslo and Akershus University College (OAUC) since 1982, and joined the faculty of OAUC and the Program for learning in complex systems, as an associate professor in 2004 and as full professor in 2006. He teaches classes in all behavior-analytic education programs at OAUC. He has written for peer-reviewed publications on basic research, applied work, and philosophy of science; served on several editorial boards; and he has a member of the editorial troika of the European Journal of Behavior Analysis for 15 years. He has been a program co-coordinator of the TPC area of ABAI, is currently a program co-coordinator for the development area, and he is on the board of directors of the B. F. Skinner Foundation. His current research interests have drifted in the direction of basic experimental work with animals and humans.



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