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

Previous Page


Symposium #248
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group (VB-SIG) Winners Present Their Findings
Sunday, May 26, 2024
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 111 AB
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mashiath Binti Mahabub (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Lesley A. Shawler (Southern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Lesley A. Shawler, Ph.D.
Abstract: The Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group (VB SIG) offers annual awards to support graduate students conducting empirical research that advances our understanding of verbal behavior. This symposium consists of four recent winners. One talk will present on the development of social referencing in children diagnosed with autism and if an operant discrimination procedure establishes social stimuli as conditioned reinforcers or discriminative stimuli. Another talk will present replication data on the efficacy of response-independent and response-contingent pairing in promoting vocalizations and the role of other intervention components (e.g., articulation skills, attending skills, and reinforcer efficacy) in stimulus pairing procedures. A third talk will report on the role of the echoic in the establishment of incidental tacts when investigated through a more ecologically valid set-up (e.g., during play). And a fourth talk will discuss the implications of overlearning and its effects on emergent intraverbal responding and how it may produce better retention of emergent relations.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): incidental tacts, overlearning, response-contingent pairing, social referencing
Target Audience: Knowledge of the basic verbal operants.
Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will be able to describe procedures that produce social referencing. 2. Participants will be able to distinguish between the efficacy of response contingent and response independent pairing procedures. 3. Participants will be able to describe the potential role of the echoic in the development of incidental tacts. 4. Participants will be able to define overlearning and describe its potential implications on the emergence and retention of intraverbal relations.

Developing Social Referencing Through Establishing Faces and Voices as Conditioned Reinforcers for Children With Autism

SARA SATO (Behavior Analysis No Ka Oi), Chad Favre (Northshore Autism Center/Endicott College), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)

A skill often lacking in children with ASD is social referencing, where one attends to social stimuli (e.g., facial expressions and head movements) to determine if one should approach or avoid an ambiguous situation. Recent research has established social conditioned reinforcers for children with ASD by utilizing an operant discrimination procedure (ODT) where the researchers placed a box with preferred items between themselves and participants, presented the target social stimulus, and taught the children to put their hands in the box conditional on the social stimulus. In essence, the ODT procedure may promote social referencing as the social stimuli become discriminative stimuli for attending and responding accordingly. The present study utilizes a multiple probe design across four participants with autism to assess whether the ODT procedure establishes social stimuli as 1) conditioned reinforcers and 2) discriminative stimuli. Initial probes have been conducted and have indicated social stimuli are not currently functioning as conditioned reinforcers or discriminative stimuli. Participant number one is currently undergoing ODT and preliminary results are indicating not approaching when “No” and a head shake are presented but not yet independently approaching when “Yes” and a head nod is displayed.


The Role of the Echoic in the Acquisition of Tacts

THEA SKAU ENGELL (Sacramento State University, Sacramento), Karina Zhelezoglo (Endicott College), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)

Recent laboratory studies (Miller et al., 2021; Petursdottir et al., 2020) have been unsuccessful in demonstrating the role of the echoic in the establishment of incidental tacts, as described by Horne & Lowe (1996). This may be because, to achieve a high degree of experimental control, these studies were conducted under conditions that may not resemble those encountered when young children learn language (e.g., uninteresting visual stimuli, computers with monotone voices, unknown degree of rapport with participants etc.). We conducted a systematic replication of the procedures described in Miller et al., (2021) while including parameters that more closely resemble typical parent-child interactions. For example, we included play sessions, presented stimuli with potentially greater reinforcing qualities, and interspersed reinforcement throughout the probes. Our current data were obtained from two five-year-old children. The results from participant one is consistent with the account described by Horne & Lowe (1996) and provides some evidence for additional important variables. Data collection is still ongoing for the second participant, and additional participants have been recruited. This line of research has important implications, both for the conceptual analysis of verbal behavior and for practitioners programming for acquisition of new verbal relations.


Comparison of Response-Independent Pairing (RIP) and Response-Contingent Pairing (RCP) Conditioning Procedures on Vocalizations in Children With Autism and Minimal Echoic Repertoire

JACQUELINE OLIVIA PECORARO (University of Missouri–St. Louis), Andresa De Souza (University of Missouri-St. Louis)

Vocalizations play a crucial role in a child's vocal language development by enabling them to refine their verbal behavior once brought under echoic control (DeSouza et al., 2017). Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) commonly present with delays in vocalizations, which can hinder the development of language and social communication skills (Lord et al., 2020). The present study aimed to replicate Lepper and Petursdottir's (2017) study comparing response-independent pairing (RIP) and response-contingent pairing (RCP) interventions for increasing novel vocalizations in children with ASD and minimal echoic repertoires. An adapted alternating treatments design (Sindelar et., 1985) was used to compare the effects of RIP and RCP on vocalizations with an embedded non-concurrent multiple-baseline design across participants to evaluate the effects of the best treatment on the levels of vocalizations. Secondarily, the study assessed attending skills, current vocalization skills, and reinforcer effectiveness before the implementation of both procedures. Participants included four children aged 3 to 6 years diagnosed with ASD and with minimal echoic repertoires. Results will be discussed in the context of the effects of the two different procedures on the levels of vocalization and the role of attending skills, articulation, and reinforcer effectiveness during stimulus pairing procedures.


Retention of Emergent Korean Vocabulary Following Foreign Tact Training and Overlearning

JOHN ROGER WOODERSON (The Kameleon Group), Lewis A. Bizo (University of Technology Sydney), Kirsty Young (University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Recent studies have demonstrated the potential benefits of emergent learning approaches in the context of foreign-language vocabulary acquisition. This research underscores the efficacy of instruction using emergent learning principles and verbal operant procedures. While the growing interest in this area is promising, a significant gap exists in our understanding of the retention of emergent learning outcomes. This preliminary study sought to address this gap by evaluating the impact of overlearning on the retention of emergent intraverbal Korean vocabulary. Five adult participants engaged in two training conditions: regular training and overlearning, which involved tacting visual stimuli in Korean. In the overlearning condition, participants were trained to additional fluency criteria and continued practicing beyond the initial accuracy mastery criterion. Both conditions yielded high levels of emergent intraverbal responses following training. We conducted 8-10 repeated measures up to six months post-training with each participant, which allowed us to examine the level and trend of participants' derived intraverbal responses through visual analysis. Notably, the level and trend appeared higher and more stable for the overlearning stimulus sets than the regular training stimuli. These findings offer valuable insights into the potential benefits of overlearning in the context of emergent learning approaches and foreign-language vocabulary instruction.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh