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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #45
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research in Equivalence-Based Instruction and Emergent Responding With Advanced Learners and Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Saturday, May 23, 2020
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Independence E
Area: EDC/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Leif Albright (Caldwell University)
Discussant: Daniel Mark Fienup (Teachers College, Columbia University)
CE Instructor: Daniel Mark Fienup, Ph.D.

In this symposium, four studies will be described that evaluated procedures to facilitate emergent responding and/or equivalence class formation with adults of typical development or adults diagnosed with ASD. In the first study, equivalence-based instruction (EBI) was compared to a PowerPoint lecture to teach differential reinforcement procedure descriptors to college students. In the second study, EBI was compared to self-study of videos to learn examples of American Sign Language and to combine them in novel ways using both listener and speaker behavior. In the third study, adult participants were trained on nutrition Information for different food items using conditional-discrimination training. In the last study, adults with ASD learned classes of stimuli representing computer hardware (i.e., hard drive, CPU fan, RAM, processor, and power supply) using EBI and then demonstrated the emergence of untaught relations, intraverbals, and assembly of a hard drive. Collectively, these studies inform best practices of procedures used to promote emergent responding and equivalence class formation across a broad domain of skill areas.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): advanced learners, emergent behavior, stimulus equivalence
Target Audience:

College instructors / BCBAs

Comparing Stimulus Equivalence-Based Instruction to Lecture to Teach Differential Reinforcement Descriptors to College Students
Sabrina Kelly (Caldwell University), ADRIENNE JENNINGS (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Carol J McPheters (Alta Families, Inc.)
Abstract: Many higher education students learn core concepts of behavior analytic principles through academic curriculum (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007; Malott, 2013). However, students of higher education may have difficultly learning such material (McConnell, 1990; Tauber, 1988). The present study compared a pre-recorded lecture to computerized equivalence-based instruction to teaching college students differential reinforcement procedures [i.e., differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO), differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA), and differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior (DRI)]. Each class contained three members (A: the term, B: the definition, C: multiple exemplars of vignettes). A between-subjects group design was used to compare pretest and posttest performances of participants assigned to either equivalence-based instruction or lecture instruction. Sorting and written tests were used to determine the degree of class-consistent responding in novel formats for both groups. Results demonstrated that EBI was more effective than lecture at teaching concepts of differential reinforcement.
Comparing Stimulus Equivalence-Based Instruction to Self-Study of Videos to Teach Sign Language to Adults
ANGELINA LONGO (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Adrienne Jennings (Caldwell University), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University)
Abstract: We compared equivalence-based instruction (EBI) to self-study of videos to teach eight 3-member classes of ASL signs with adults. Four of the equivalence classes consisted of verbs (i.e., throw, touch, blow, and spin) and four classes were nouns (i.e., truck, dollar, egg, and ball). We also assessed (a) speaker probes by having participants sign both single words and verb-noun pairs of words and (b) listener probes by having participants comply with signed requests of verb-noun pairs. Results showed that all 12 participants from the EBI group reached passing criterion of 88% for single sign probes on the first training. In the self-study group, however, only 3 of 12 participants reached passing criterion on the first training. Lastly, participants from the EBI and self-study group performed at high levels across MTS emergent relations responding. However, the EBI group showed significantly higher scores for the single signs posttest than the self-study group. Verb-noun phrases demonstrating recombinative generalization successfully emerged across listener and speaker tasks for both groups. Social validity measures showed that participants in the EBI group liked their method of learning more than the participants in the self-study group. These results further inform our procedures for effectively teaching ASL.
Teaching Skills About Content of Nutrition in a Matching-to-Sample Format
JON MAGNUS EILERTSEN (Oslo Metropolitan University ), Erik Arntzen (Oslo Metropolitan University)
Abstract: Adult participants were trained in nutrition knowledge for different food items. The participants were assigned to three different groups and all the participants were first exposed to a pre-test of stimuli with names of different food items. In the pre-test, they were asked to sort the stimuli according to three different ranges of carbohydrate values. This test was followed by a conditional-discrimination training and testing, and finally a post-sorting test of the stimuli used in the conditional-discrimination training. Stimuli used in the conditional-discrimination training were tailored, that is, food items that the participant categorized incorrectly in the sorting test were used in the conditional-discrimination training. Participants in Groups 1 and 2 were trained 6 conditional discriminations and tested for the formation of three 3-member classes. Group 2 had an option with “don’t know” in together with the three different ranges of carbohydrates values in the pre-sorting test. Participants in Group 3 were trained 12 conditional discriminations and tested for the formation of three 5-member classes. The main findings showed that all participants who responded correctly on at least one test for equivalence class formation in the matching-sample format test, sorted the stimuli correctly in post-sorting test.
Application of Computer Hardware Relations Learned During Equivalence-Based Instruction to a Vocational Task
KATRINA ROBERTS (Alpine Learning Group), Jaime DeQuinzio (Alpine Learning Group), Bridget A. Taylor (Alpine Learning Group)
Abstract: In the present study, we used a pretest/training/posttest experimental design to examine the effects of teaching specific conditional relations among stimuli representing computer hardware (i.e., hard drive, CPU fan, RAM, processor, and power supply), on the emergence of untaught derived relations, intraverbals, and assembly of a computer hard drive. Participants were three adults diagnosed with autism. Equivalence stimuli consisted of the written name of the hardware, a picture of the hardware, the written function of the hardware, and a picture indicating the location of the hardware. A match-to-sample procedure was used to train the conditional discriminations among the class members. We also used a simple to complex training protocol and a linear training structure for the classes. Responding of all three participants improved from pretest to posttest on measures of untaught relations, intraverbals, and assembling a hard drive. These results demonstrate the utility of EBI and direct application of the learned relations to a vocational task.



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