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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #242
CE Offered: BACB
The Shaping of Behavior Analysts as Scientist Practitioners: A Symposium Sponsored by the Behavioral Development Special Interest Group (DEV SIG)
Sunday, May 26, 2024
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 1-2
Area: DEV/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Gladys Williams (CIEL; LearnMore Inc.)
Discussant: Richard E LAITINEN (Educational and Developmental Therapies, Inc)
CE Instructor: Richard E LAITINEN, Ph.D.

One of the objectives of the Behavioral Development SIG is to support young behaviorists in their pursuit of becoming scientist-practitioners. Some examples of research themes that this SIG promotes are derived relational responding, equivalence, social referencing, interdependence of verbal behavior, skill acquisition, joint attention, attachment, impulsivity, and behavioral cusps. To assist in this undertaking, the SIG has established the Jack Gewirtz Student Research Award. This year’s award goes to three students, each of whom has contributed to the further analysis of (1) conditioning book preference, (2) observational learning, and (3) derived relational responding. Our fourth presenter demonstrated an example of basic, translational research with nonhumans to address the complex behavioral process of impulsivity. The findings of these award-winning research studies are relevant to practitioners working with children with autism and related disabilities. These results provide knowledge that pursues our understanding of diverse processes driving the development of complex human behavior.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

This symposium requires knowledge of applied research, selection of effective and efficient strategies, and behavioral cusps.

Learning Objectives: 1. Use research principles to commonly applied procedures 2. Select effective strategies to teach prerequisite skills 3. Work as a scientist/practitioner

Increasing Young Children’s Preference for Books Over Competing Stimuli

LILIAN MORALES (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Reading is an important repertoire that is critical to children’s academic achievement. While many studies have focused on teaching components of reading (phonemes, blending), reading fluency, and reading comprehension, fewer studies have evaluated how children become interested in reading and develop a preference for books and text. In this study, we evaluated the effects of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure on children’s preference for books. The procedure involved providing rich social interactions and established reinforcers when children engaged with books. In a multiple baseline design across 3 preschool participants with disabilities, we observed children who rarely engaged with books pre-intervention shift preference to book engagement following the intervention. These outcomes were observed both in the intervention setting and a naturalistic play area for all three participants. The outcomes are discussed in terms of promoting preference for book stimuli in the context of typical, evidence-based reading instruction. Key words: reading, stimulus/stimulus pairing, preschool, preference.


The Effect of Observational Learning on the Formation of Equivalence Classe in 7-Year-Old Children

KENYA VELAZQUEZ (Psicologa Kenya Velazquez )

This study aimed to evaluate an observational learning procedure to acquire tacts of abstract figures and reading written words in German, all in relation to the same stimuli in eight typically developing children of 7 years old who speak Spanish as first language. The participants were divided in couples and exposed to direct teaching with contingencies of reinforcement and correction of tacts and reading, and to observational learning probe trials of tacts and reading. The study consisted of two experimental phases: on Phase 1, the first participant of the couple was exposed to direct teaching of the tact and the second participant to observational learning probe trials of the tact. Subsequently, the second participant of the couple was exposed to direct teaching of reading and the partner to observational learning probe trials of reading. Once the mastery criterion was reached on each verbal operant with direct teaching and observational learning probe trials, Phase 2 continued. Phase 2 was identical to Phase 1, except that each participant of the couple received direct teaching of the opposite verbal operant they first learned in Phase 1. After each phase was completed, derived stimulus relations probes were performed: symmetry, transitivity and symmetric–transitivity, which consisted on figure selection, text selection, figure-text selection and text-figure selection. The results demonstrated that all participants reached the mastery criterion when they were exposed to direct teaching and observational learning probe trials of tacts and reading. The velocity to acquire the mastery criterion was higher with observational learning probe trials than with direct teaching. Also, the reading operant was acquired faster than the tact operant. Last, all participants demonstrated derived stimulus relations of symmetry, transitivity and symmetric-transitivity on Phase 1 and 2. However, symmetry relations derived slightly above transitivity relations and symmetric-transitivity. This study is the first one demonstrating the application of observational learning to acquire two related verbal operants and probe derived stimulus relations of the operants learned. Keywords: observational learning, direct contingencies teaching, derived relational responding, tacts, reading and second language.


An Evaluation of a Derived Relations Curriculum and Associations With Verbal Behavior

ELLIS SMITH (Teachers College Applied Behavior Analysis )

Educators may rely on research and curriculum to determine instructional strategies that are best for their students. However, selecting the best instructional strategies means considering individual pre-requisite repertoires and implies that strategies are effective and efficient. Researchers conducted an AB design across fifteen, fourth-grade participants to measure the relation between derived relational responding and verbal behavior development repertoires. Participants were selected from a CABAS AIL, public school classroom. We implemented Equivalence-Based-Instruction (EBI) to teach relations directly (word to picture and word to definition), across five operants. Researchers used pre and post tests to measure participants Verbal Behavior Development Repertoires and the number of correct responses to direct taught relations, mutually entailed relations, and combinatorally entailed relations. Results support the hypothesis that derived relational responding varies in accordance with Verbal Behavior Development Repertoires. Results support and extend previous literature by analyzing relations between verbal behavior development repertoires and derived relational response variations. Keywords: Combinatorial Entailment, Derived Relations, Equivalence-Based Instruction, Incidental- Bidirectional Naming, Mutual Entailment


Autoshaped Impulsivity and Self-Controlled Choice: A Comparative Learning Study Between Pigeons and Artificial Neural Networks

GISELLE MAGGIE-FER MAGGIE FER CASTAÑEDA LOZANO (University of Guadalajara, Center for Behavior Studies and Research (CEIC)), Miguel Angel Aguayo Mendoza (Universidad de Guadalajara, Mx)

The presentation will delve into a research tool utilized within the laboratory of Experimental and Theoretical Research in Learning, Conditioning, and Adaptive Behavior at CEIC. Examples will be provided of fundamental translational research conducted with nonhuman subjects, aiming to explore the intricate behavioral process of impulsivity and other related phenomena. This presentation will elucidate the foundational assumptions within the research framework and offer specific examples of ongoing investigations, including cases of associative conditioning and comparative connectionism, wherein the primary objective is to investigate the role of neural network architectures in simulating behavioral phenomena, particularly as a potential explanation for biological constraints on learning. Additionally, a proposal to examine applied phenomena such as Autism Spectrum Disorders within this context will be discussed. Furthermore, the presentation will provide an overview of recent work with a model designed to evaluate the effects of delay and magnitude of reinforcement within Pavlovian contingencies. This evaluation was conducted using two approaches: with living organisms (pigeons) and through an artificial neural network model. This study addresses the phenomenon of Pavlovian impulsivity (autoshaping) as reported by Aguayo (2024). Current research with this approach demonstrated that manipulating neural network architectures can model diverse biological constraints reported in learning psychology literature as learning typicities. These findings are consistent with the biology principle of structure-function correlation, offering predictive content for experimental testing.




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