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 #388
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research and Exploration of Teaching Complex Verbal Behavior
Monday, May 29, 2023
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3B
Area: VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Nicole Pantano (Assumption University)
Discussant: Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
CE Instructor: Nicole Pantano, Ph.D.
Abstract: This symposium seeks to provide information on recent advancements in complex verbal behavior across a variety of applied and translational studies. Emergent behavior, including the generalization of autoclitics to novel tacts and the acquisition of intraverbal-tacts, will be explored in research with autistic children. Considerations regarding skills necessary for teaching qualifying autoclitics will be presented. Additionally, research on the component skills necessary for the emergence of intraverbal-tacts will be presented. As a continuation of the exploration of skills related to emergent responding, this symposium will also present a summary of recent literature on the acquisition of novel responses through learning by exclusion. Additionally, a synthesis of research on teaching complex verbal behavior, specifically foreign language, will be presented. Suggestions for future research and practice will be shared.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): autoclitics, emergence, exclusion responding, foreign language
Target Audience: Should be familiar with complex verbal behavior, with recent research in responding by exclusion, interested in teaching foreign language, and interested in the importance of expanding research in these areas
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Understand the role of component skills in intraverbal-tact emergence; (2) Describe the most common teaching procedures and assessment methods implemented during learning by exclusion trials with participants that have autism; (3) Describe behavior analytic procedures for teaching a foreign language, and (4) Describe qualifying autoclitics and identify benefits and limitations of two methods to teach qualifying autoclitics

A Sequence to Facilitate the Emergence of Intraverbal Tacts in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
NICOLE PANTANO (Assumption University), Tina Sidener (Caldwell University), Nicole M. Rodriguez (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), April N. Kisamore (Hunter College)

Identifying component skills necessary for the emergence of intraverbal tacts, or verbal responses under control of both a verbal and nonverbal antecedent stimulus, is important because the occasion for this skill often occurs in a child’s everyday life (Palmer, 2016). Previous research has begun to identify a sequence of component skills that may lead to the emergence of multiply controlled intraverbals. However, it remains unclear which component skills are necessary versus sufficient. Our study sought to evaluate a subset of component skills evaluated in previous research that, conceptually, should be sufficient for emergence of intraverbal tacts. We found intraverbal tacts emerged to mastery criteria for all participants, only following acquisition of both element tacts and intraverbal categorizations. These data suggest these component skills may be sufficient for intraverbal tact emergence.

A Review of Learning by Exclusion
(Applied Research)
ARIADNA MARTINEZ (University of South Florida), Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini (University of South Florida)
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to review and summarize the literature investigating the acquisition of new responses through learning by exclusion. Learning by exclusion has been studied is also known as “fast mapping” or “exclusion responding”. Learning by exclusion consists of the acquisition of new relations through exclusion without explicit training (Wilkinson et al., 1996). In behavior analysis, matching-to-sample tasks are used in learning by exclusion research completed with familiar and unfamiliar stimuli followed by probe trials (Sivaram & Bhabu, 2018; Wilkinson & McIlvane, 1997). Researchers synthesized data from the literature for the following categories: (a) participant characteristics (b) target behavior information, (c) pre-evaluation assessments (d) post-evaluation assessments, (e) teaching procedures, and (f) outcomes. Results indicate that the majority of participants had an ASD diagnosis, expressive and receptive skills, communicated vocally, and had positive learning outcomes. However, there was variance in the expressive and receptive skills and pre-existing exclusion skills of participants that did not have positive learning outcomes. Limitations of the previous research, recommendations for future research, and implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Toward Establishing a Qualifying Autoclitic Repertoire in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
TODD M. OWEN (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Nicole M. Rodriguez (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Autoclitics are secondary verbal operants that are controlled by a feature of the conditions that evoke a primary verbal operant such as a tact or mand. Among the types described by Skinner (1957), qualifying autoclitics extend, negate, or assert a speaker’s primary verbal response and modify the intensity or direction of the listener’s behavior. In the only study to date on teaching qualifying autoclitics, Howard and Rice (1988) established autoclitics that indicated weak stimulus control (e.g., “like a [primary tact]”) with four neurotypical preschool children. However, generalization to newly acquired tacts was limited. In Experiment 1, we extended Howard and Rice to four autistic children while using simultaneous teaching procedures and observed generalization across sets and newly acquired tacts. In Experiment 2, we evaluated the effects of multiple exemplar training on generalization of autoclitics across sets of naturalistic stimuli. Across participants, gradual increases in autoclitics occurred across untaught stimuli after teaching with one or more sets.

Teaching a Foreign Language: A Systematic Review of the Literature
GRACE ECKO JOJO (Simmons University), Judah B. Axe (Simmons University), Sarah A. Lechago (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Mary Signorella (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: There has been a steady increase in publications on cultural humility and cultural diversity within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Given increases in culturally and linguistically diverse families in the United States (United States Census Bureau, 2017), it is critical to examine effective methods of teaching a new language. We conducted a comprehensive literature review of foreign language instruction studies published in the field of behavior analysis. Across the 27 articles that met the inclusion criteria, we coded participants, language (native and foreign), verbal operant, independent variable, generalization data, maintenance data, and setting. We found that the research primarily included typically developing children (55%) and adults (33%). Additionally, most languages targeted for instruction were Roman. Most researchers used a verbal behavior or derived relations framework to assess and teach the second language, while other researchers used Morphological Analysis Strategy (MAS) and programmed instruction. Generalization and maintenance data were collected in fewer than half of the studies, and half of the studies were conducted in school settings. We identify limitations and gaps in the literature and provide suggestions for research and practice.



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