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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Invited Tutorial #21
0 to 60: Establishing Conditioned Reinforcers and Inducing Observing Responses
Saturday, May 29, 2021
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: DEV; Domain: Service Delivery
PSY/BACB/NASP CE Offered. CE Instructor: Lin Du, Ph.D.
Chair: Jessica Singer-Dudek (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Presenting Authors: : LIN DU (Teachers College, Columbia University)

This talk will discuss how to induce observing responses for children who are pre-observers. These children typically don’t orient to other’s faces, listen to other’s voices, or attend to educational materials presented in pictures or objects. Without these foundational observing responses, everything else will fall short. It would be extremely challenging to teach them visual match-to-sample, conditional discrimination, let alone derived relations. Traditionally, these students rely heavily on prompts from their teachers and caregivers. They also require substantially more trials to reach their learning objectives. Our CABAS® research labs, which are affiliated with Teachers College Columbia University, have identified a sequence of verbal behavior cusps and developed the intervention protocols for those who are missing any of these cusps. This talk will focus on the recent advances in the study of observing responses and intervention protocols. These protocols are shown to be effective in establishing the conditioned reinforcement and increasing the children’s general awareness of their surroundings. In particular, children learn to select out people’s faces and voices as well as pictures and objects as discriminative stimuli from their environment. In consequence, they require fewer prompts during instruction and their learning rates also increase dramatically. Once these foundational cusps for verbal behavior are established, children will be ready to learn things they are not able to before (e.g., see-do, hear-do, bidirectional naming).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
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 observing responses and why are they important; (2) name three intervention protocols that are effective in inducing observing responses; (3) discuss what children learn to do after they have acquired observing responses.
LIN DU (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Dr. Lin Du received her first MA in sociology from Nanjing University, China. She then earned her MA and Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a CABAS® senior behavior analyst, associate research scientist, New York State Licensed behavior analyst, and BCBA-D. Dr Du is a research scientist and program supervisor at the Fred S. Keller school (a R&D lab for master and doctoral candidates in ABA and school psychology programs at Teachers College, Columbia University). She is also an adjunct assistant professor of behavior analysis at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her primary research interests are verbal behavior development of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She has published two books, several book chapters and many peer-reviewed papers in the behavior analytic journals, including the Psychological Record, Journal of Béhavioral and Brain Science, Behavior Development Bulletin, Behavior Analysis in Practice, European Journal of Behavior Analysis, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, and International Journal of Behavior Analysis and Autism Disorder




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