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 #407
CE Offered: BACB
“Getting More Bang for Your Buck”: Utilizing Acquisition Procedures to Teach and Evaluate Skill Emergence
Monday, May 27, 2024
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 105 AB
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Natalie Mandel (Bancroft)
Discussant: Sarah Frampton (University of Nebraska Omaha)
CE Instructor: Sarah Frampton, Ph.D.

Numerous teaching procedures have been shown to lead to the acquisition of novel skills by persons with disabilities. However, in selecting teaching procedures, it is important that clinicians consider both the efficacy and efficiency of procedures and consider the implementation of procedures which have the potential to lead to the acquisition of multiple skills. Matrix training, multiple exemplar training, and instructive feedback are examples of empirically validated procedures for teaching multiple skills to individuals diagnosed with intellectual or developmental disabilities and this symposium includes four empirical studies evaluating these teaching procedures. The first study demonstrated that matrix training can be used to teach skills and obtain emergence of untrained adjective-noun tacts. The second study assessed whether multiple exemplar training of tacts led to emergence of mands for target stimuli. The final two studies evaluated the effects of instructive feedback. One study sought to teach tacts of emotions and assessed emergence of tacts of associated bodily responses whereas the other study taught tacts in English and in familial language.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Acquisition, Instructive Feedback, Matrix Training, Tacts
Target Audience:

Clinicians, Practitioners

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) describe how to promote the emergence of skills 2) describe how to use instructive feedback to provide additional information during training 3) understand background literature on procedures leading to emergence of new skills

Matrix Training to Teach Adjective-Noun Tacts for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

MEGAN MARIE HARPER (Marquette University), Chloe Slotten (Marquette University), Tiffany Kodak (Marquette University), Jessi Reidy (Marquette University), Brianna Duszynski (Marquette University)

• One essential component of behavior-analytic intervention is generalization (Baer et al., 1968). Matrix training is an intervention that can lead to recombinative generalization, which involves responding correctly to novel recombinations of components. Matrix training includes teaching a subset of responses from a matrix with at least two axes, and then testing for recombinative generalization. In this study, we used matrix training to teach two school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder adjective-noun tacts. A within-subject, multiple-baseline design across stimulus sets was used to evaluate the efficacy of this training on recombinative generalization. Posttest results indicated a degree of recombinative generalization for both participants. One participant emitted seven novel adjective-noun tacts across three matrices. The second participant emitted 22 novel adjective noun tacts across two matrices and cross-matrix generalization probes. Results suggest the use of matrix training may result in varying levels of recombinative generalization for adjective-noun tacts. Possible variables that may affect the idiosyncrasy of these results will be discussed.


Evaluating the Effects of Multiple Exemplar Training on Tact-to-Mand Transfer in Children With Autism

AMALIX FLORES (University of South Florida), Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini (University of South Florida), Ariadna Martinez (University of South Florida), Hannah Efaw (University of South Florida)

Mand training allows children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to access reinforcers (e.g., Albert et al., 2012) and has been shown to lead to a reduction in challenging behavior (e.g., Carr & Durand, 1985). Developing a tacting repertoire enhances the learning of other verbal operants (e.g., Greer & Du, 2010) and substantially improves social interactions (Marchese et al., 2012). In teaching verbal behavior, multiple exemplar training facilitates the acquisition and generalization of operant behavior (Stokes et al., 1974), including the transfer of stimulus control across verbal operants (Shea, 2013). The present study sought to determine whether multiple exemplar training leads to the transfer of stimulus control from tact to mand. Employing concurrent multiple probes across behaviors experimental design, participants experienced tact training for various target stimuli, and the emergence of mands was assessed at distinct stages throughout the training. Both participants acquired the tacts which were directly trained. Moreover, both participants also acquired the mands, without requiring any direct training. Results indicate that, at least for some participants, transfer of stimulus control across tacts and mands is plausible. Future research should include replicate this study with participants of different ages and verbal repertoires to assess generality of these findings.


Teaching Learners to Identify Emotions Following Tact Training With Instructive Feedback

BRITTANY BROWN (Marquette University), Lauren Casper (Marquette University), Tiffany Kodak (Marquette University)

Identifying other’s emotions is an important social skill. For some individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), this skill may need to be directly taught. Instructive feedback (IF) is a procedure that involves providing secondary targets during the consequence portion of primary target trials. Instructive feedback can increase the efficiency of instruction across a variety of skills. In the present study, a prompt delay plus instructive feedback was used to teach two learners with ASD emotions and the nonverbal behavior associated with those emotions. Learners were required to watch a video model of someone engaging in various emotional responses. Participants then had to tact the emotion, and the instructor provided instructive feedback about facial and bodily actions that related to the emotion. Acquisition of secondary targets was probed by asking “how” after the tact of the emotion. A multiple baseline design across sets was arranged for each learner. Both learners acquired the emotions that were directly taught. In addition, instructive feedback resulted in acquisition of all but one secondary target for one participant and all but one secondary target in Set 1 for the second participant. Further, generalization was assessed to a person wearing a mask for one participant, and that participant showed generalized responding to the untrained person.

The Use of Instructive Feedback for Teaching Familial Language Vocabulary to Children
GUANGYI LIN (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Michele R. Traub (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: Most of the applied behavior analysis services in the United States are only provided in English, presenting challenges to individuals whose families do not speak English (or exclusively English) at home. The communication deficits in individuals from bilingual families might be further exacerbated by the lack of applied behavior analysis research on language acquisition in non-English or multiple languages. One possible method of bilingual language instruction is the use of instructive feedback (IF), which involves providing additional information without requiring the learner to respond to it. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of IF used in tact training on the emergence of untrained relations between English and familial languages. Participants were taught to label pictures in either English or familial language, and IF was delivered to provide information in the other language. Results showed that both participants tacted the pictures accurately in the languages that were embedded in IF, and both demonstrated receptive skills and transitivity relations (i.e., translating between languages without pictures). The results support the use of IF with tact training when teaching language targets to be a time-sufficient and cost-effective teaching strategy.



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