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 #247
Recent Research Trends and Applications of Joint Control
Sunday, May 26, 2024
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 105 AB
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Daniele Rizzi (Fondazione Oltre le Parole Onlus - Pescara)
Discussant: Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
CE Instructor: Daniele Rizzi, M.S.
Abstract: The three revolutionary ideas within radical behaviorism are: (1) the causes of behavior are to be found in the environment, (2) more than one variables in the environment can control one behavior (Skinner, 1957; Michael,1996) and (3) that behavior is not an “all or none” phenomenon and that we should instead use concepts like response strength in the interpretation of behavioral events (Skinner 1953; Palmer, 2021). When we can look for multiple controls and the variables that exerting control over behavior (Michael et al, 2011), whether it is human vs. non-human behavior or verbal vs. non-verbal behavior, it helps practitioners refining new applications and intervention strategies, specifically in targeting complex behavior (e.g., DeSouza et al., 2019; degli Espinosa, 2022; Fisher et al., 2019; Rodriguez et al., 2022). Joint control (Lowenkron 1984, 1991), offers a way in the explanation of multiple control over multiple forms of complex verbal behavior (Palmer, 2006). In this symposium, we will first provide a theoretical account of joint control, followed by three applied research using joint control to teach complex behavior such as remembering, teaching sequencing tasks to children and adults with ASD, and teaching listeners to respond to metaphorical tacts.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Joint Control, Multiple Control, Verbal Behavior
Target Audience: Intermediate. Knowledge of basic verbal operants and teaching procedures based on analysis of verbal behavior is suggested.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1- Describe how Joint Control is involved in learning complex forms of verbal behavior 2- Describe teaching procedures based on Joint Control in teaching listener responding to metaphorical language 3- Describe how Joint Control is involved in learning and maintenance of sequencing skills
Applications of Lowenkron’s Joint Control to Language Acquisition Programs
WILLOW M HOZELLA (May Institute), Miguel Ampuero (Berry College), Michael Miklos (Miklos Behavior Consulting and Training)
Abstract: Mediating one’s behavior through covert or overt verbal behavior is a phenomenon familiar to anyone who has had to remember a phone number with no way to write it down, follow a recipe without consulting the cookbook for each step, or solve a math equation without a calculator or pencil and paper. Jointly controlled responding is a type of multiply controlled responding that may provide a behavioral analysis of such mediating responses. Joint control involves one or more verbal responses bringing other verbal or non-verbal responses to strength under appropriate controlling conditions. Considerations for how to teach mediating responses via overt verbal behavior has pragmatic value for practitioners. This session will provide guidance for practitioners on applications of evidence-based methods to teach jointly controlled responses, considerations for mastery criteria, necessary prerequisite skills to assess prior to teaching jointly controlled responding, error correction methodologies, and suggest future applications and research considerations for the concept of joint control.

Using Joint Control to Teach “Remembering” and Intraverbal Behavior to Children With Autism

SYDNIE BRINKERHOFF (All Points LBA), Vincent Joseph Carbone (Carbone Clinic), Siun O'Rourke (The Learning Community Dubai), cherine Mohammad Basfer (Carbone Clinic, Dubai)

Explanations of complex human behavior, such as memory or problem-solving skills, in current psychological and educational research, rely heavily on explanatory fictions and hypothetical constructs. The concept of joint control (Lowenkron, 1989) provides a rich alternative explanatory mechanism, relying only on the principles of the science of behavior to account for some of these “executive function” skills. Most research on joint control involves teaching individuals to emit echoic and self-echoic responses that preserve a stimulus long enough to enter into joint control with a tact response of the same form. In contrast, Lowenkron and Colvin (1992) reported on a study that used an identity and non-identity matching experimental preparation, thereby demonstrating that the absence of joint control could also act as a stimulus to evoke unique selection responses. The purposes of the present study were to provide a conceptually systematic approach that relies entirely on behavior analytic principles to provide an alternative to cognitive explanations for a ubiquitous everyday “memory task” and to add to the current body of research on the study of the absence of joint control as an independent variable. The teaching procedures, informed by a joint control analysis, were shown to be effective in teaching children with autism to successfully respond to the question “What’s missing?” after having observed an array of items in which one item was subsequently excluded. Future research can rely on these findings to teach important functional and adaptive skills to children with autism.


A Joint Control-Based Procedure to Teach Listener Responses to Metaphors to Young Student With Autism

ALESSANDRO DIBARI (Fondazione Oltre le Parole Onlus), Annalisa Galeone (Fonazione Oltre le Parole Onlus), Stefano Assetta (Fondazione Oltre le Parole Onlus), Federica Corese (Fondazione Oltre le Parole Onlus)

Understanding complex forms of verbal behavior can be challenging for autistic people, and comprehension of figures of speech like metaphors can be especially challenging. Despite the manifold nature of the processes involved, previous studies have shown that autistic people can learn to respond appropriately to figurative language such as irony and metaphor, and these studies have offered important procedures for use in everyday clinical practice (Persicke et al., 2012; Persicke et al., 2013). Understanding metaphor specifically and non-literal language in general is clearly an important element in a full verbal behavior repertoire. Additionally, the fascinating characteristics of the environmental changes underlying the ability to understand metaphor add an appealing analytical challenge to radical behavior analysis, as well as providing an opportunity to refine assessment and intervention tools. The authors of the present study used a procedure based on the analysis of Joint Control to teach listener responses to metaphors to 4 autistic children and adolescents in a concurrent multiple baseline across participant design. The results of the study will be presented, together with a molecular, moment-to-moment analysis of the environmental and behavioral variables that the authors propose as a possibile explanation of the listener behavior.

The Role of Joint Control in Manded Sequencing Selection Tasks and Maintenance
JOYCE CHENCHEN TU BATTERSBY (Easterseals of Southern California), Fahad Alresheed (Easterseals Southern California), Carlos Santos (Endicott College), Bryan Figueroa (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Joint control shows that the manded selection response is evoked by one stimulus and preserved by rehearsal, and the rehearsal was combined with the control of an additional second stimulus (Tu, 2006). Gutierrez (2006) used joint control training methods to teach six adult participants to select four pictures in various sequences using Mandarin. The result showed that self-echoic is necessary for the participants to complete the selection responses. DeGraff and Schlinger (2012) used the same joint control training methods to teach 10 undergraduates to select pictures in various sequences using the Spanish language. They replicated the same results as demonstrated in Gutierrez (2006), in addition, they showed that joint control is a much more efficient way to train selection responses when compared to prompt-and-fade method. Causin (2013) demonstrated the same results as in DeGraff and Schlinger, but with young children with autism. This current study used the same training method as outlined in Gutierrez (2006). Nine adult participants were trained to select six pictures in various sequences using the Japanese language. The experimenters also added 5-minute time delay after tact and joint control training. After the time-delay and in generalization tests, the pictures that were trained using joint control methods were retained at a higher rate than those that were taught using tact training only. Furthermore, the experimenter also added a one-month extinction. The result shows that the “maintenance rate” of the pictures that were trained using joint control methods were slightly better than those that were trained using tact training only.



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