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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #313
The Behavior Analysis of Music: Experimental and Theoretical Perspectives
Monday, May 25, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
007B (CC)
Area: EAB/TPC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Michael Domjan (University of Texas at Austin)
Discussant: Jose A. Martinez-Diaz (Florida Institute of Technology and ABA Tech)
Abstract: Virtually everyone listens to music and many participate in various types of musical activities. Music has been studied from a variety of perspective. For example, much of what is referred to as the "psychology of music" explores music from the perspective of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In contrast to the "psychology of music," the present symposium will explore music from the perspective of behavior analysis. Presenters will discuss how behavior analysis can be applied to the study of the nature of music and the training of musical skills.
Keyword(s): music, pitch discrimination, RFT, verbal behavior
A Relational Frame Theory approach to Learning Music
JASON LEWIS (Florida Institute of Technology), Joshua K. Pritchard (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: In this presentation, we will explore the utility of relational frames and the impact this approach has on teaching music theory. Relational Frame Theory has yielded behavior analytic technologies that could enhance instruction of music theory and we will describe a deliberate method by which naïve students to music theory can be led through learning trials to rapidly acquire foundational skills to play and compose music. This theoretical paper will showcase the utility of viewing music as a form of language as a method to design instructional modules compared to the traditional approach to teaching the art of music. It will conclude with ideas for research lines as well as technological implications for behavior analysts who wish to diversify their career options.
The Shaping of Absolute Pitch as a Higher Order Relative Pitch and Verbal Repertoire
BENJAMIN REYNOLDS (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Absolute pitch, or the presentation of an accurate note in the absence of an auditory prompt, is often treated as an innate ability in musicology. This study sought to improve absolute pitch accuracy among 2 trained and 2 untrained singers through the use of a changing criterion multiple baseline with criterion level probe design which shaped mimicked, relative, and absolute pitch. Results showed absolute pitch acquisition across all 4 participants as well as unique response acquisition curves between both groups. Further refinements of the existing study and implications of absolute pitch as verbal behavior are proposed for further investigation.
Musical Instrument Manipulation as Verbal Behavior
THOMAS LARUM (St. Cloud State University), Benjamin N. Witts (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: A functional account of language, or verbal behavior, opens up the analyses to many areas of exploration and application. B. F. Skinner (1957) defined verbal behavior as “behavior reinforced through the mediation of other persons” (p. 2) with the caveat that such listener behavior has “been conditioned precisely in order to reinforce the behavior of the speaker” (p. 225). Given this definition, it stands to reason that verbal behavior can encompasses behavior of any form or medium. Indeed, it is possible that the act of playing a musical instrument may meet Skinner’s definition of verbal behavior. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” It is in light of arguments of music as language that we offer a preliminary analysis of the verbal and non-verbal effects of playing a musical instrument. Limitations of such an analysis are presented in addition to possible conceptualizations in response to these limitations.
Training Intonation Using Shaping and Response Cards
Conny M. Raaymakers (Evidence Based Consultants), DON RAAYMAKERS (Caledonia Community Schools)
Abstract: The traditional method of training intonation is just having students sing pitches and over time they will just automatically gain the knowledge of playing “in tune.” This paper takes a look at whether playing “in tune” became trained quicker through the use of shaping, using response cards and a couple apps called Tonal Energy (TE) and APS Trainer. Students are first given a reference pitch, then a determinant pitch that is a major third higher or lower. Students utilized response cards to identify if the determinant pitch (DP) was higher, lower, or the same. Over time the pitches were brought closer together until the DP was only one half step away from the RP, which is 100 cents higher or lower. After this, we start using APS Trainer which can make the DP anywhere from 1 cent to 50 cents higher or lower than the RP. We start with 50 cents higher and lower and gradually decrease the difference. We ran a multiple baseline design on 4 groups of 6th graders from the same school. Students were called in individually and given a pitch. The students would then play the pitch on their instrument. After 5 seconds the recorder would write how many cents the student was above or below the pitch. Data was taken and treatment started every two weeks after baseline. It is early yet to make any conclusions from the data as students are still developing their technique. Results will be more clear toward the end of the school year.



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