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.

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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 #130
CE Offered: BACB
Relational Frame Theory and Verbal Behavior Development Theory: Moving Forward Together in the Analysis of Human Language and Cognition
Saturday, May 29, 2021
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Online
Area: DEV; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Discussant: Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
CE Instructor: Martha Pelaez, Ph.D.
Abstract:

This symposium will focus on the relationship between recent work on naming and recent developments in Relational Frame Theory (RFT). The authors of Study 1 provide an overview of RFT and Verbal Behavior Development Theory (VBDT), and explore points of contact that have been highlighted by conceptual developments in both fields. The authors will argue for the concept of mutually entailed orienting. Study 2 will review existing evidence on the role of early social behaviors on learning names of words. The authors will highlight mutually entailed orienting as a possible predictor for success in listener and speaker trials during word-learning in 24-month old infants. The authors of Study 3 will present a verbal behavioral analysis of five forms of joint attention, including mands, orienting, responding, initiating, and referencing. Implications for teaching will be discussed. The authors of Study 4 will present data on the relationship between bidirectional naming and other derived relations in 20- to 40-month old toddlers. The authors will discuss their findings within the context of the stimulus control for these relations. Finally, Martha Pelaez will discuss these studies in relation to the interaction between early social behaviors and language development.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): joint attention, naming, RFT, VBDT
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts and students of behavior analysis

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the symposium, participants will be able to: 1. Describe some similarities and differences between RFT and VBDT 2. Discuss the role of mutually entailed orienting, joint attention and social referencing for uni-directional naming 3. Provide a behavior analytic account of joint attention 4. Describe the stimulus control for bidirectional naming and other derived relations
 

Relational Frame Theory and Verbal Behavior Development Theory: Reflecting Upon Similarities and Differences

DERMOT BARNES-HOLMES (Ulster University), Maithri Sivaraman (Ghent University), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), Daniel Mark Fienup (Teachers College, Columbia University), Herbert Roeyers (Ghent University)
Abstract:

Relational frame theory (RFT) and verbal behavior development theory (VBDT) are two behavior analytic perspectives on human language and development. Despite sharing common ground, the theories have largely been developed independently. The overarching aim of the current study is to provide an overview of both theories, and explore points of contact that have been highlighted by conceptual developments in both fields. Recent developments in RFT have focused on cooperation as the driver for arbitrarily applicable relational responding (AARR), and outlined the dynamical variables involved across the levels and dimensions of AARR. In addition, we argue for the concept of mutually entailed orienting as an act of human cooperation. These developments link closely with VBDT research which has underlined the critical role of evolution, and the emergence of bidirectional naming in language development. We present broad similarities between the two approaches in the types of functional-analyses they generate, and discuss areas for future research.

 

Causal or Critical? Mutually Entailed Orienting, Joint Attention, and Social Referencing for Word-Learning

MAITHRI SIVARAMAN (Ghent University), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ulster University), Javier Virues Ortega (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid), Herbert Roeyers (Ghent University)
Abstract:

Coordinated attention between parents, children, and objects is thought to play a critical role in early word learning. However, behaviors that involve coordinated attention, often described as joint attention (JA), social referencing (SR), and gaze following (GF) have largely been defined topographically. Mutually entailed orienting, arguably unique to humans, occurs when the infant orients back and forth between the speaker and the stimulus, rather than simply attending to the stimulus. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the role of JA, SR, and mutually entailed orienting on an infant’s listening and speaking repertoire. Participants were forty infants at 24-months of age who belonged to either the elevated likelihood of autism group or the typical likelihood of autism group. We evaluated listener and speaker responses to novel word learning trials and compared the outcomes with mutually entailed orienting, and JA and SR skills. Results showed that children in both groups were more likely to respond correctly when they looked back at the researcher during an exposure to a novel word. We argue that mutually entailed orienting serves to establish the Relating, Orienting, and Evoking (ROE) unit, and offer a behavior analytic perspective on the pre-requisites for early word learning.

 

Joint Attention: A Verbal Behavioral Analysis

GINGER HARMS (Teachers College, Columbia University ), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Abstract:

Joint attention has conventionally been defined by its topography. As a result, behavioral definitions of joint attention in the literature vary, and attempts to teach joint attention often lack socially significant outcomes. More recently, our attention has shifted to the function of joint attention, leading to questions about our intervention methods. An experiment is presented in which the emergence of responding (RJA) and initiating joint attention (IJA) skills occurred as the result of conditioning adult attention as a reinforcer. Expanding on Dube, et al. (2004) and Holth’s (2005) behavioral analyses of joint attention, we present a verbal behavioral analysis of five forms of joint attention, including mands, orienting, responding, initiating, and referencing. Drawing on Skinner (1957) and the Verbal Behavior Developmental Theory (VBDT), we posit that only responding and initiating joint attention are socially motivated exchanges, whereas mands, orienting, and referencing are maintained by tangibles or negative reinforcement. We also discuss implications for teaching joint attention using a functionally-based approach.

 
Establishment of Increased Stimulus Control for Bidirectional Naming Increased Stimulus Control for Other Derived Relations in 20- to 40-Month-Old Toddlers
LEAH FRIEDMAN (Teacher's College, Columbia University; Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), Daniel Mark Fienup (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Abstract: We examined the effects of the establishment of stimulus control for bidirectional naming (BiN), a verbal developmental cusp, on toddlers’ acquisition of other derived relations using a multiple probe across participants. As a cusp, BiN makes learning the names of things possible by observation alone following exposure to viewing pictures of and hearing the names of novel, familiar stimuli. Previous findings suggested that BiN may be a pre or corequisite for the demonstration of other derived relations. Prior to the intervention, participants demonstrated neither BiN nor categorical arbitrarily applicable relations. The intervention consisted of the exposure of participants to repeated naming experiences with novel sets of stimuli followed by unconsequated probes of listener and speaker responses until stimulus control for the BiN cusp was established. Four of the 6 participants demonstrated mastery of other mutually and combinatorially entailed listener and speaker relations, while 2 of the participants demonstrated increases. Results suggested a functional relation between the strength of the stimulus control for BiN and the emergence of derived relations. We discuss these findings as the result possibly of a history of reinforcement for correspondence.
 

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