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 #12
CE Offered: BACB
A Verbal Behavior Analysis of Complex Relational Responding
Saturday, May 27, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3B
Area: VRB/PCH; Domain: Theory
Chair: Awab Abdel-Jalil (Endicott College / Great Leaps Academy / Eastern Florida Autism Center)
Discussant: Paul Thomas Andronis (Northern Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Anna Linnehan, Ph.D.
Abstract: The acquisition of verbal behavior is complex and requires the analysis of myriad variables. It is estimated that by the time a child has reached four years of age they have experienced nearly nine million language learning trials with mothers using at least 14 categories of maternal teaching interactions. These interactions provide a foundation for children learning the tact, mand, echoic, intraverbal, autoclitic and other relations, described by Skinner in Verbal Behavior. Here we examine two relations, the abstract tact and the autoclitic frame, that together arguably account for much of the generative features of verbal behavior, including relational responding and shared meaning. We argue the development of complex relational responding can be described absent of mediating variables, hypothetical constructs, or conceptual operants.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Target audience should have familiarity Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior.
Learning Objectives: 1. Distinguish between simple and abstract tacts. 2. Distinguish between intradimensional and interdimensional abstract tacts. 3. Describe the relation between interdimensional abstract tacts and autoclitic frames and its applicaiton.
The Intradimensional and Interdimensional Abstract Tact: Basic Relational Responding
ANNA LINNEHAN (Endicott College), T. V. Joe Layng (Endicott College & Generategy, LLC)
Abstract: Where a subset of nonverbal stimulus features control verbal behavior an abstract tact is defined. That subset is designated as demonstrating abstractional control when other features of the stimulus can be varied without affecting the response. A distinction will be made between the more commonly discussed intradimensional abstract tact, involving a single stimulus (cup, tree, chair, table, dog, etc.) and the interdimensional abstract tact involving two or more stimuli (opposite, same, steeper, now, etc.) Goldiamond’s treatment of stimulus control in its many forms; instructional, dimensional, and abstractional will be used to describe the acquisition of both types of abstract tact. Accordingly, a controlling subset of stimulus properties is designated as SDa. The entire set of dimensions, or properties, of the stimulus is designated SDd. Where a verbal stimulus restricts response alternatives to the SDa that stimulus will be designated as instructional and and referred to as SDi. It will be shown that SDa control is responsible for responding to a single intradimensional stimulus and to consistent relations between two or more interdimensional stimuli.
The Interdimensional Abstract Tact and the Autoclitic Frame: Complex Relational Responding
T. V. JOE LAYNG (Endicott College & Generategy, LLC), Anna Linnehan (Endicott College)
Abstract: The autoclitic frame is defined when an interdimensional abstract tact coordinates a relation between two of more other other verbal stimuli such that those events affect the behavior of the listener differently than if the abstract tact were absent of different. A opposite B, A same as B, are and examples. The word “opposite” can be considered an SDi that establishes the relation between A and B. It will be shown that the SDi occasioned relation can only occur if the interdimensional tact (SDa) “opposite” has been previously established. This presentation will discuss the wide ranging application of the possible relations between stimuli that may be occasioned and show that the fundamental account provided by Skinner (1957) is, for the most part, adequate to account for the relational qualities of complex human verbal behavior. Relational extension, analogies, metaphors, and relations between relations will briefly be discussed without the need for a special relational operant.



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