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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #135
CE Offered: BACB
From Names to Complex Language: A Stimulus-Control Continuum
Saturday, September 3, 2022
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Meeting Level 1; Liffey A
Area: DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jessica Singer-Dudek (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Discussant: R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
CE Instructor: Yifei Sun, Ph.D.

How children acquire the stimulus control to learn the names of things as listener and speaker without caretaker reinforcement is the Incidental Bidirectional Naming (Inc-BiN) verbal developmental cusp. This is the mechanism for how children learn most English words. This addresses what Chomsky called this “the missing stimulus” in Skinner’s verbal behavior in his infamous review. U. T. Place, a renowned supporter of Skinner’s work show, was also a linguist and stated that Chomsky was correct in this regard, although incorrect in most regards. Subsequent research found that the stimulus control for the Cusp is a chain of embedded learned reinforcers for correspondence between observing responses and production of language, showing how exposure alone leads to learning names. Growing evidence shows it is a continuum of stimulus control within and between various levels of complexity, ranging from learning nonarbitrary word/object relations graduating to more complex symbolic and AARR building a bridge between Verbal Behavior Developmental Research and Theory and Relational Frame Research and Theory and other derived relations research. Here we present new findings on the strength of stimulus control for Inc-BiN as a predictor of learning mastery as well as new levels of complexity.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Bidirectional Naming, Derived Relations, Incidental, RFT
Target Audience:

Practitioners, researchers, and theorists

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will: (1) describe different types of Naming experiences (i.e., delayed vs. simultaneous) and probes (i.e., brief vs. prolonged); (2) describe how different Naming probes measure the strength of stimulus control for Naming; (3) describe how the strength of stimulus control for Naming affects learning outcomes.
Stimulus Control for Incidental Bidirectional Naming Predicts Learning Mastery
YIFEI SUN (Fred S Keller School), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Abstract: Existing research repeatedly established a functional relation between the acquisition of Incidental Bidirectional Naming (Inc-BiN) and accelerated rate of acquisition. When an individual demonstrates Inc-BiN, they acquire novel operants through exposure without contacting direct consequences. Recent studies found that the presence of Inc-BiN predicts not only the rate but also the quality of complexity of operants. We investigated how the strength of stimulus control for Inc-BiN predicts students’ short-term and long-term mastery of objectives, measured as the number of correct responses to immediate and delayed unconsequated probes after mastering new learning objectives and test scores. We first examined the correlation between the strength of stimulus control for Inc-BiN and learning outcomes for 146 students across different grade levels. The second study utilized a repeated probe procedure to measure the strength of stimulus control for Inc-BiN in terms of the number of exposures required for individuals to demonstrated Inc-BiN. We investigated if the new measure predicts students’ immediate and delayed responses after the mastery of academic objectives. Results indicated significant correlation between the strengths of stimulus control for Inc-BiN measured both as number of exposures to demonstrate Inc-BiN and the number of correct responses to school curriculums.

Applications of Updated Relational Frame Theory to Study the Behavioral Processes Involved in Incidental Naming

MAITHRI SIVARAMAN (Ghent University, Belgium; Tendrils Centre for Autism, India), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ulster University), Herbert Roeyers (Ghent University, Belgium)

Conceptual developments in RFT, which have provided a general framework (Hyper Dimensional Multi-Level; HDML framework) and a dynamical unit of analysis (Relating, Orienting, Evoking, and Motivational variables, ROE-M), have served to highlight clear points of contact and overlap between the analysis of naming and different levels and dimensions of derived relating, in general. Recent research has begun to explore variables related to orienting in young children in the context of learning to name stimuli. We will summarize three such studies aimed at investigating (a) specific orienting behaviors associated with successful naming, (b) the emergence of listener naming when the orienting response and the object’s name are presented non-simultaneously, and (c) the emergence of speaker naming when the orienting response and the object’s name are presented non-simultaneously. The studies will show that the concept of orienting in RFT research could be important in increasing precision in identifying the behavioral processes involved in successful and unsuccessful instances of children learning the names of novel objects. The applications of the HDML framework to assess the strength of the levels/dimensions of incidental naming will be discussed.




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