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 #16
CE Offered: BACB
The formation of academic stimulus classes using Equivalence Based Instruction
Saturday, May 23, 2015
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
211 (CC)
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell College)
CE Instructor: Kenneth F. Reeve, Ph.D.

Previous applied studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of the stimulus equivalence paradigm in teaching skills such as fractions, reading, and U.S. geography. Additionally, researchers have confirmed the utility of match-to-sample procedures and tact training in the formation of equivalence classes. The following three studies showed the formation of equivalence classes with a variety of stimuli and across two different populations. Experiment 1 evaluated the effects of tact training on the formation of equivalence classes with a 10-year old male with autism. Results showed that following tact training, the participant demonstrated the emergence of derived auditory-visual and visual-visual relations. Experiment 2 examined at the use of equivalence-based instruction to teach four, 4-member classes representing functions of behavior to 10 undergraduate and graduate college students. Results showed that all participants acquired both trained and derived relations. Finally, in experiment 3, equivalence classes were established for the fifth grade science concepts, liquid, gas, and solid through the use of match-to-sample conditional discrimination training with students with autism spectrum disorders.

Keyword(s): derived relations, match-to-sample, stimulus-equivalence, tact training

The Formation of Geography Equivalence Classes Following Tact Training

MEGAN BREAULT (RCS Learning Center)

The stimulus equivalence paradigm has been well documented within the applied literature over the past four decades. Many researchers have shown that following the direct training and reinforcement of specific stimulus-stimulus relations untrained relations have emerged. Match-to-sample procedures have been frequently used in training however, some research has suggested that having an established naming repertoire for a particular class of stimuli may be sufficient for the formation of equivalence relations. The current study evaluated the formation of 3 equivalence classes following tact training using geography-based stimuli (state shape, state abbreviation, state flag). The participant was a 10-year old male who held a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. The nine visually dissimilar stimuli were separated into three different classes (i.e. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine). The participant was taught to tact each of the nine stimuli as Connecticut, Massachusetts or Maine. Results showed that following tact training, the participant demonstrated the emergence of untrained relations through auditory-visual and visual-visual match-to-sample tests.


Teaching advanced learners about functions of behavior using stimulus equivalence-based instruction.

LEIF ALBRIGHT (Caldwell College), Lauren K. Schnell (Caldwell College), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell College), Tina Sidener (Caldwell College)

Determining the function of behavior through the interpretation of data is a critical skill for any behavior analyst. The present study evaluated the use of equivalence-based instruction to teach four, 4-member classes representing functions of behavior to 10 undergraduate and graduate college students. Computerized equivalence-based instruction along with multiple exemplars of stimuli were used to teach the classes. A pretest-training-posttest design was used to evaluate performances on computer-based tests and written multiple-choice tests (selection-based responding), as well as oral tests (topography-based responding). All participants acquired both trained and derived relations during computer-based match-to-sample instruction. Testing scores improved from pretest to posttest on both selection-based tests (i.e., computer-based and written multiple-choice) and the topography-based tests (i.e., oral) for all participants following equivalence-based instruction. Finally, test performance maintained two weeks after equivalence-based instruction was completed. The present study demonstrated that equivalence-based instruction can be used to effectively teach the function of behavior and that a selection-based teaching protocol administered on a computer can promote the emergence of responses to a selection-based testing protocol using multiple-choice and to a topography-based oral test.

Stimulus Equivalence with Applied Fifth Grade Science: Class Expansion
EMILY LEONARD (Simmons College)
Abstract: In three experiments, equivalence classes were established for typical third grade science concepts of carnivore, herbivore and omnivore with multiple participants across multiple settings and methodologies. The current study was a systematic replication with novel science concepts (liquid, gas, solid) with students with autism spectrum disorders. Initially, participants were taught to match visual pictures of the different states of matter to their printed word categories liquid, gas, solid. Then they were taught to match the printed descriptions of liquid, gas, solid, again, to the same printed word categories. Subsequent testing of all possible stimulus-stimulus relations documented the formation of three, three-member equivalence classes. The results demonstrated the emergence of novel stimulus-stimulus relations indicative of equivalent class formations of novel science concepts with students with autism spectrum disorders. The results of these experiments are discussed in terms of applying stimulus equivalence technology to groups of general and special education students in order to teach general education science concepts.



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