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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #240
CE Offered: BACB
Advancements in Emergent and Multiply Controlled Verbal Behavior
Sunday, May 26, 2019
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom CD South
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Olga Meleshkevich (Simmons University)
Discussant: Mark L. Sundberg (Sundberg and Associates)
CE Instructor: Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D.
Abstract: Particularly with children with autism, verbal responses (and their response products) emitted under the control of one set of stimuli may facilitate the emission of verbal responses under a different set of stimuli. Conine, Vollmer, and Dela Rosa demonstrated that tacting during listener training facilitated intraverbal responding. In the remaining three studies, the researchers evaluated the extent to which an echoic response (e.g., “Color”) facilitated intraverbal-tact responding; that is, responding under the control of both a verbal (e.g., “What is it?” “What color is it?”) and nonverbal (e.g., picture of a green square) stimulus. Aragon, Rodriguez, McKeown, and Luczynski considered this echoic response a differential observing response (DOR), and they also evaluated a corresponding category intraverbal to facilitate the intraverbal-tacts. degli Espinosa, Gerosa, and Brocchin trained the echoic responding to one stimulus at a time (e.g., square) and then produced generalization to novel stimuli across novel classes. Meleshkevich, Axe, and degli Espinosa trained echoic responses to combined visual stimuli (e.g., green square) and documented generalization within and across categories. The data will be discussed in terms of verbal mediation, multiple control, joint control, and autoclitic control.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): intraverbal, listener behavior, multiple control, question discrimination
Target Audience: behavior analysts, researchers, professors, graduate students, speech-language pathologists
Variables Contributing to Emergent Intraverbal Responses Following Listener Training
DANIEL E CONINE (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Cynthia Dela Rosa (Florida Autism Center)
Abstract: In Skinner’s Verbal Behavior, several elementary verbal operants are defined as being functionally independent. However, training one verbal operant may often result in untrained (emergent) responses in another verbal operant. One example is the relationship between listener training and intraverbal responding, where previous research has produced mixed findings. Our study extends prior research by conducting listener training with and without tact requirements for three children with autism using a multiple baseline across responses. Results suggest that tacts during listener training are predictive of emergent intraverbals. These findings have applied significance for clinicians looking to teach intraverbals to individuals with autism.
The Use of Joint Control to Facilitate the Emergence of Intraverbal Tacts
MICHAEL ARAGON (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Monroe Meyer Institute ), Nicole M. Rodriguez (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Ciobha Anne McKeown (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute ), Kevin C. Luczynski (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Children with autism may respond over-selectively to a given element in a conditional discrimination. In such cases, prompting a differential observing response (DOR) can reduce restricted stimulus control. A DOR commonly used during intraverbal training is an echoic DOR in which a portion of the sample stimulus is repeated (e.g., echoic of “color” when asked, “What color?”). Alternatively, a DOR that promotes joint control may be a mechanism through which multiply controlled verbal behavior is brought to strength. This study evaluated the role of joint control in facilitating intraverbal tacts. We asked two children with autism to tact one of two components (color vs. shape) when presented with a complex stimulus (e.g., a green square). If mastery was not achieved with an echoic DOR and differential reinforcement, we taught participants to engage in the DOR plus a corresponding category intraverbal (e.g., “red, yellow, blue” in response to “What color?”) prior to responding under both intraverbal and tact control. Results indicated the DOR plus category intraverbal facilitated accurate conditional discriminations of the elements when the DOR and differential reinforcement failed. High-level performance maintained following the removal of the prompted category intraverbal. We discuss the implications of joint control facilitating intraverbal tacts.

“What Color?” Versus “What Is It?”: Teaching Children With Autism to Discriminate Questions

FRANCESCA DEGLI ESPINOSA (ABA Clinic, U.K., University of Salerno, Italy), Francesca Gerosa (Queen’s University, Belfast), Veronica Brocchin (Bangor University, UK)

Rarely are verbal responses, even the simplest ones like saying the colour or name of a common visible object, not preceded by a verbal antecedent, such as a question. The ability to discriminate questions is therefore one of the most fundamental listener and speaker skills, yet it is poorly understood and underappreciated by ABA curricula. The present study will present both an analysis of intraverbally-controlled tacting and the first investigation to date on how to establish it effectively. Following chance responding on baseline measures across multiple probes of different stimulus classes (coloured items, numbers, animals), four children with autism underwent a procedure that brought tact responses under multiple echoic, intraverbal and non-verbal control on one set of stimuli only. Results showed that all participants were able to discriminate questions with respect to trained stimuli and demonstrated generalisation to novel stimuli across novel classes. In other words, once children learned to understand the question, they were able to demonstrate such understanding by answering questions on completely new stimuli. The present research provides clinicians with a conceptually systematic framework for teaching complex and generalised verbal behaviour to children with autism that is firmly based on a Skinnerian analysis of verbal stimulus control.


The Effects of Incorporating Echoic Responding Into Intraverbal Tact Training

OLGA MELESHKEVICH (Simmons University), Judah B. Axe (Simmons University), Francesca Degli Espinosa (ABA Clinic, U.K., University of Salerno, Italy)

We evaluated a procedure to teach answering questions about visual stimuli (i.e., intraverbal-tacts) by echoing the key word in the question. For example, in the presence of a blue cup and the question, “What color?” the participants were required to respond, “Color blue.” We evaluated two categories of questions: Object/Color (i.e., “What is it?” “What color?”) and Shape/Number (i.e., “What shape?” “What number?”). Stimuli in each category were distributed into one trained and two generalization sets. Cross-category probes were untrained combinations of trained components of visual stimuli: colored numbers, colored shapes, and colored shapes with numbers. We used a multiple probe across behaviors and participants design with 3 preschoolers with autism. After mastering the trained sets, all participants demonstrated generalized question answering across all generalization probes. IOA data were collected in 100% of sessions across participants and phases; means were 95-100%.




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