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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #201
CE Offered: BACB
Arranging Teaching Procedures That Promote Emergent Behavior
Sunday, May 30, 2021
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Ashley Kemmerer (Caldwell University)
Discussant: Alison M. Betz (Betz Behavioral Consulting)
CE Instructor: Ashley Kemmerer, M.S.

The current symposium addresses procedural variables that may produce generative responding. The first study assessed the effects of varying non-critical features of stimuli during auditory-visual matching with adult participants to reduce variability and increase the likelihood of correct responding to untrained exemplars. The second study utilized instructive feedback, lag schedules, and naturalistic behavioral interventions to promote emergent language in children. The third study assessed the different outcomes associated with multiple exemplar instruction, namely, the interdependence between speaker and listener repertoires, and stimulus generalization across exemplars. Finally, the fourth study utilized a joint control intervention to establish bidirectional naming in children with autism. Taken together, these studies have important implications for those teaching language to individuals with disabilities.

Target Audience:

practitioners, verbal behavior researchers

The Influence of Differential Exposures to Noncritical Features on Stimulus Generalization
TINA SONG (Caldwell University), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Kenneth Reeve (Caldwell University), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento), Samantha Breeman (Caldwell University)
Abstract: Programming for generalization involves arranging the training environment to make it more likely that learned behavior will generalize to novel stimuli. One recommended strategy to program for generalization is to vary noncritical features in teaching exemplars. Theoretically, this would avoid noncritical features being consistently associated with reinforcement and thus gaining faulty stimulus control. The purpose of the present study was to (a) assess the effectiveness of this recommendation in producing responding indicative of stimulus generalization and (b) investigate the behavioral processes responsible for this effect. Typically-developing adults were taught to respond to arbitrary stimuli with defined critical and noncritical features in an auditory-visual matching-to-sample task. Generalization outcomes were compared between a condition that varied noncritical features in teaching exemplars and a condition that did not vary noncritical features in teaching exemplars. The results suggest that varying noncritical features in teaching exemplars leads to (a) faster skill acquisition, (b) less variability in correct responding during teaching, and (c) an increased likelihood of correct responding to untrained exemplars. A proposed cause of these results is the differential levels of reinforcement associated with noncritical features between the two conditions. These results contribute towards developing an explicit technology of generalization.
Designing Verbal Behavior Instruction to Promote Behavioral Variability and Transfer Across Verbal Operants
CORINA JIMENEZ-GOMEZ (Auburn University), James J Oskam (Florida Institute of Technology), Matt Giuliano (Florida Institute of Technology), Jessebelle Pichardo (Florida Institute of Technology ), Victoria Ryan (Florida Institute of Technology )
Abstract: Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder often exhibit a limited communication repertoire. A challenge when teaching verbal behavior relates to arranging teaching procedures that promote emergent language and ensuring resulting responses are variable. Some recent work from our lab has explored various strategies to promote variable verbal responding and transfer across verbal operants, in an attempt to provide efficient teaching to children with limited and rigid language repertoires. More specifically, we employed instructive feedback, lag schedules, and naturalistic behavioral interventions to promote emergent language. Instructive feedback was found to be effective in producing emergent listener skills in an untaught language. Both instructive feedback and lag schedules produced variable intraverbal responses with similar efficiency. In a group setting, we taught tacts to one child and evaluated transfer to other verbal operants as well as emergent learning in peers. Both transfer across verbal operants and acquisition of untaught targets were observed. Taken together, these studies provide evidence for various strategies applied researchers and practitioners can further explore to promote variable verbal behavior and emergent language in this population.
An Evaluation of the Effects of Multiple Exemplar Instruction on Emergent and Generalized Behavior
DANIELLE LAFRANCE (H.O.P.E. Consulting, LLC; Endicott College - Institute for Behavioral Studies), Careen Suzanne Meyer (H.O.P.E. Consulting, LLC), James E. Carr (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), Mary Jane Weiss (Endicott College), Jason Church (H.O.P.E. Consulting, LLC; The University of Kansas), Areli Perez (H.O.P.E. Consulting, LLC)
Abstract: In applied behavior analysis, several efforts have been made to find effective teaching methods that will lead to the best possible outcomes for clients served. Amongst these, those procedures which lead to novel, untrained behavior are highly favored for their multiplicative effects. One of these strategies, multiple exemplar instruction (MEI), has been shown to lead to transfer between speaker and listener repertoires, or across verbal operants. However, MEI is often confused with another procedure with a similar name (i.e., multiple exemplar training), which has been shown to lead to generalization. Additionally, the amount and the kind of generativity resulting from MEI remains to be investigated thoroughly. The current study aimed to evaluate the effects of this procedure on both the development of bidirectional naming (BiN) and stimulus generalization. Results show that MEI lead to the development of BiN for all targeted sets, across all participants, but did not necessarily lead to improvements in stimulus generalization. The implications for research and practice are discussed.
Establishment of Bidirectional Naming through Joint Control Training
HEIDI SKORGE OLAFF (OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University ), Vibeke Haaland (OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University), Marie Rohme Aunemo (OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University), Per Holth (OsloMet -- Oslo Metropolitan University)
Abstract: Bidirectional Naming (BiN) is the integration of listener and speaker behavior in an individual and can emerge from an incidental observation of other’s tacts. Unfortunately, children with autism rarely utilize incidental observations of other’s tacts. Rather, they often lack BiN skills. The present experiment aimed to establish the listener part of BiN through joint control training to evoke mediating behavior controlled by joint self-echoics and tacts which set the occasion for correct listener responses. Three preschool boys with autism or delayed language development were first trained on each component necessary for joint self-echoic/tact control, such as echoics, self-echoic and tacts. Next, joint control training was introduced. The joint control intervention consisted of three types of listener training: delayed matching to sample, successive, and simultaneous discrimination training. The BiN probes were carried out according to both successive and simultaneous discrimination tasks. The results demonstrated an increased number of the listener responses included in BiN, as well as an increased number of speaker responses. In fact, one of the three participants acquired both repertoires of BiN as a result of joint control training.



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