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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #30
CE Offered: BACB
Translational Issues in Equivalence Class Formation
Saturday, May 27, 2023
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom A
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Danielle LaFrance (SunRise ABA)
Discussant: Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University)
CE Instructor: Danielle LaFrance, Ph.D.

This symposium will include innovative procedures and preparations aimed at the development of equivalence classes across populations. In the first paper, Paula Debert will present on the use of the identity matching procedure with compound stimuli with children with autism. In the second paper, Jillian Sordello will present on use of the successive matching-to-sample procedure with auditory stimuli consisting of common sounds with adults. In the third paper, Vanessa Lee will present on use of tact and intraverbal training to establish four-member classes with adults. In the fourth paper, Sarah Frampton will present on the inclusion of note-taking during baseline relations training with five-member classes with adults. Findings from these studies and implications for research in equivalence class formation will be discussed by Kenneth Reeve.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): emergence, mediation, stimulus equivalence, verbal behavior
Target Audience:

BCBAs and BCBA-Ds. Attendees should be familiar with conditional discrimination training in a matching-to-sample format. Attendees should be able to describe relations of reflexivity, symmetry, transitivity, and equivalence.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Describe at least two variations of matching-to-sample preparations. (2) Describe equivalence outcomes when preparations include compound or auditory stimuli. (3) Describe the potential mediating role of verbal behavior in equivalence outcomes.

Identity Matching Procedure With Compound Stimuli to Establish Emergent Conditional Arbitrary Relations in Children With Autism

PAULA DEBERT (University of Sao Paulo), Nathalia Felix (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia sobre Comportamento, Cognição e Ensino, Brazil )

The Identity Matching procedure (IMTS) with compound stimuli is an alternative to the standard matching-to-sample to establish emergent arbitrary conditional relations with adults and typically developing children. The present study evaluated whether the IMTS procedure with compound stimuli would establish these emergent performances in children with autism. Three children with autism accomplished tasks in a computer and were exposed to the following experimental phases: Pre-test of A-B relations, Pre-test of AC and CA relations, IMTS training of AB-AB relations, Post-test of A-B relations, Post-test of B-A relations, Post-test of AC-B relations, Post-test of C-B relations, Post-test of B-C relations and Post-test of A-C and C-A relations. The results showed that all children achieved the learning criteria with IMTS procedure with compound stimuli in one or two training sessions and two of them showed performances indicative of the emergence of all relations in the posttests. These results indicate that the IMTS procedure with compound stimuli provides fast acquisition of trained relations and is an effective alternative to establish emergent conditional relations in children with autism.

The Possible Role of Verbal Mediation in the Formation of Auditory Stimulus Classes
CHARLES DINGUS (Graduate), ROBBIE HANSON (Lindenwood University), Jillian Sordello (California State University, Sacramento), Armando Angulo (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: The successive matching-to-sample (S-MTS) procedure consists of successively presenting a sample and a comparison in the same location. Touching the comparison related to the sample produces reinforcement, whereas touching the comparison unrelated to the sample does not. This procedure has been used to establish three-member auditory equivalence classes with adult participants. In these studies, participants seemed to have echoed or tacted verbal and non-verbal auditory stimuli, and intraverbally related their names which could have positively affected their performance. However, these mediation strategies have not been directly assessed. In the current study eight college students were exposed to a S-MTS procedure utilizing auditory stimuli consisting of common sounds. During emergent relations tests, participants were asked to talk aloud. Even though all participants met emergence criterion for symmetry, only three did so for equivalence. All participants used either experimenter-defined or unique tacts while undergoing post-tests and three out of eight participants related the stimuli intraverbally. Results suggest possible verbal mediation during emergent relations tests.
Intraverbal Bidirectional Naming as Problem-Solving During the Formation of Equivalence Classes
VANESSA N LEE (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento), Herdís Ásta Pálsdóttir (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the role of verbal mediation (i.e., intraverbal bidirectional naming; I-BiN) as problem-solving during equivalence class formation. Two college students were exposed to tact training with unfamiliar stimuli and baseline intraverbal training (A’B’, B’C’, and C’D) using autoclitic frames “goes with”. The formation of three, four-member stimulus classes (A1B1C1D1, A2B2C2D2, A3B3C3D3) were tested using visual-visual matching-to-sample (MTS) and intraverbal tests for symmetry (BA, B’A’, CB, C’B’, DC, D’C) and transitivity (AC, A’C’, CA, C’A’, BD, B’D, DB, D’B, AD, A’D, DA, D’A). Following posttests, participants completed an additional block of transitive MTS tests while required to talk aloud. Results replicate previous findings in that that verbal operant training seem sufficient to produce equivalence classes with four members. Further, data obtained during the talk aloud procedure suggest a correspondence between verbal behavior (i.e., tacts and intraverbals) and selection responses during MTS tasks. Although data are currently being collected with additional participants, our results add support to the notion that verbal behavior, more specifically I-BiN is sufficient to establish performances consistent with equivalence class formation.
The Effects of Note-Taking As a Visual Mediation Strategy on the Formation of Equivalence Classes
SARAH FRAMPTON (University of Nebraska Omaha), Judah B. Axe (Simmons University), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento), Kylan S. Turner (Simmons University)
Abstract: A graphic organizer (GO) is a note-taking device with concepts and fill-in spaces that may enhance equivalence yields under sub-optimal training and testing parameters (e.g., linear training, simultaneous testing, 5-member all abstract classes). We used a nonconcurrent multiple probe design across 8 adult participants to evaluate the effects of a treatment package consisting of abstract matching-to-sample baseline relations training (MTS-BRT) and GO construction training. GOs were faded until participants drew or wrote the trained relations from a blank page, which was available in the pre and posttests. There was a 75% yield (6 of 8 participants) on the first posttest and a 100% yield following remedial training with Set 1. With Set 2, MTS-BRT alone resulted in voluntary GO construction and a 75% yield (3 of 4 participants) on the first posttest and a 100% yield following remedial training. These results suggest that teaching participants to draw relations among stimuli may strengthen the effects of MTS-BRT training on equivalence yields.



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