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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Symposium #83
CE Offered: BACB
Topics in Verbal Behavior: Winners of the VBSIG Research Competitions Present Their Findings
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon I
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Caitlin H. Delfs (Village Autism Center)
CE Instructor: Caitlin H. Delfs, Ph.D.

This symposium will include three recently completed projects by the 2019 Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group (VBSIG) research and student grant competition winners. The VBSIG aims to support the advancement of verbal behavior research and to disseminate theoretical, empirical, and practical information about verbal behavior. These papers exemplify that aim. The first paper by Frampton, Axe, Covall, and Padmanabhan will describe procedures for teaching problem solving skills to answer novel intraverbal questions utilizing a mobile application. The next two papers focus on the emergence of untrained skills. Zaltzman, Parry-Cruwys, MacDonald, and Sweeney-Kerwin examined the use of observational learning in a young child with autism who was taught to engage in echoic, tact, and intraverbal behaviors following exposure to a model. The final paper, presented by Aragon, Rodriguez, McKeown, and Luczynski, describes procedures to facilitate the emergence of verbal behavior in the form of Intraverbal-tacts. The studies present results that may inform verbal behavior researchers and practitioners alike.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): emergent responding, observational learning, problem solving, verbal behavior
Target Audience:

graduate students, researchers, clinicians interested in verbal behavior

Teaching Problem Solving Skills: Use of Mobile Applications to Answer Novel Questions
SARAH FRAMPTON (May Institute, Inc. ), Judah B. Axe (Simmons University), Karly Covall (Simmons University; May Institute, Inc. ), Sarayu Padmanabhan (Simmons University; May Institute, Inc. )
Abstract: In educational settings, mobile apps may help students with autism solve the problem of answering novel questions. We evaluated this hypothesis with a concurrent multiple probe design across behaviors embedded in a nonconcurrent multiple probe design across participants with two adolescents with autism. The novel questions pertained to time, distance, and temperature for different cities (e.g., “What time is it in Cairo?”). In each session, the participants were given an iPad and a worksheet with novel questions. In Treatment 1, we trained app use and an intraverbal (e.g., “Distance, use the map app”). In Treatment 2, we trained underlining the keyword (e.g., distance) on the worksheet and emitting the intraverbal under control of the keyword. For one participant, Treatments 1 and 2 resulted in correct app use, generalization across apps, and correct responding in a vocal verbal generalization probe. The other participant needed Treatment 3, which involved training app use in the worksheet context. Reliability and procedural fidelity data were collected. The results have implications for the analysis of problem solving in developing complex verbal and academic repertoires and the inclusion of technology in educational settings.

An Examination of Observational Learning Using Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior

TALI RUDY ZALTZMAN (Regis College; All Points Licensed Applied Behavior Analysts), Diana Parry-Cruwys (Regis College), Jacquelyn M. MacDonald (Regis College), Emily Kerwin (All Points Licensed Applied Behavior Analysts)

Learning by observing others has great benefits as it allows an individual to learn new skills without directly contacting the contingencies. Results from previous research on teaching skills necessary to emit OL responses are promising but an analysis of OL using Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior (1957) is lacking. The purpose of the present study was to address the limitations of previous research by conceptualizing OL using Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior (1957) in the context of a replication and extension of DeQuinzio and Taylor (2015). After teaching one child diagnosed with an ASD to emit a chain of vocal verbal responses including an echoic, the statement of a rule, and either the same response as the echoic or the correction statement "I don't know" she was observed to correctly tact previously unknown pictures after observing a model. Interobserver agreement was collected for 35% of OL and tacting responses and for 34% of vocal response chain (VRC) responses and was 79% and 100% respectively. Future research should continue to analyze OL using Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior (1957) as it might lead to a more parsimonious and conceptually systematic analysis.


Facilitating the Emergence of Intraverbal Tacts in Children With Autism

MICHAEL ARAGON (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Monroe Meyer Institute ), Nicole M. Rodriguez (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Ciobha Anne McKeown (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute ), Kevin C. Luczynski (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Failing to teach children with autism to leverage multiple control when making conditional discriminations may contribute to erring when required to emit intraverbal-tacts (i.e., answering different questions about a picture). For example, when shown the picture of a red square and asked, “What shape?” a child may answer, “red.” This study evaluated if a curriculum sequence inspired by a conceptual analysis of multiple control (Michael, Palmer, & Sundberg, 2011) would facilitate the emergence of intraverbal-tacts in children with autism. More specifically, children learned to tact the various elements in pictures (e.g., the shapes triangle, square, and circle), tact the categories the elements belong to (e.g., square is a shape), and list members of a category (e.g., triangle, square, and circle in response to, “What are some shapes?”). In the case that intraverbal-tacts did not emerge following mastery of these skills, the children learned a selection response in which they would attend to a picture (e.g., a red square) and a vocal stimulus (e.g., “Show me shape.”) and then select the correct element from an array of the various elements (i.e., different colors and shapes). We discuss the efficacy of this curriculum sequence in facilitating the emergence of intraverbal-tacts.




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