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 #208
CE Offered: BACB
Exploring Verbal Behavior Research: Translational, Application, and Recommendations for Practice
Sunday, May 26, 2024
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 111 AB
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Katie Renaud Breneman (University of Missouri-St. Louis)
Discussant: Per Holth (OsloMet -- Oslo Metropolitan University)
CE Instructor: Katie Renaud Breneman, M.A.
Abstract: Verbal behavior has been widely studied with the goal of understanding the process of language development and its applications for the intervention of people with language delays. This symposium will offer a collection of studies focused on verbal behavior and its applications across a variety of settings and participants. The opening presentation will feature Anne Carneiro, who will present a study that evaluated the effects of teaching problem-solving strategies on the accuracy of tacts in neurotypical children. In the second presentation, Dr. Juliana Oliveira will discuss the use of different training designs in the instruction of foreign-language vocabulary. The third presentation will feature Dr. Heidi Olaff, who will present on forming equivalence classes by using the bidirectional intraverbal naming paradigm with college students. Finally, Dr. Meral Koldas will discuss the findings of a systematic review of empirical studies focused on verbal behavior variability and provide preliminary recommendations for practitioners. Dr. Per Holth will serve as the discussant.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): behavior variability, equivalence, foreign language, verbal behavior
Target Audience: Intermediate instruction level. Attendees should have a good understanding of basic concepts and principles of behavior analysis.
Learning Objectives: Learning objectives: At the conclusion of the symposium, participants will be able to: 1) List the problem-solving strategies used to determine effects on the accuracy of tacts. 2) Name at least one training design that was effective at teaching foreign-language vocabulary. 3) Describe what is the bidirectional intraverbal naming paradigm. 4) Explain recommendations for practitioners to use to promote variability in verbal responses.

The Effects of Teaching Problem-Solving Strategies on Tact Accuracy of Past Events With Children

(Applied Research)
ANNE COSTA CARNEIRO (Guia AC; UFSCar), Ricardo Pereira da Silva Oliveira (Universidade Federal de São Carlos), Mariele Cortez (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)

This study aims to evaluate the effects of teaching problem-solving strategies (categorization and rule-used prompts) on the accuracy of tacts of past events. Three neurotypical children (4-5-years-old) were first taught to tact 36 unfamiliar visual stimuli (pictures of animal, plants, objetcts) using a auditory-visual discrimination instruction with echoic response requirement (preexperimental condition). After meet the learning criteria, participants will be exposed to the experimental conditions in a multiple probe across participants design. During probes, participants will be allowed to play with different toys and games, including a card game (critical activity) during which the experimenter will present nine out of the 36 pictures previously learned and require the children to tact each of them. After 10 min, they will be asked to respond questions about past events (e.g., What pictures did you see today at the playing room?). Intervention will consist in a teaching both categorization and medianting-response prompting (rule-used prompts) to the participants, according to Sautter et al. (2011). Data collection for the preexperimental condition is still in progress. Partial results shows that the auditory-visual discrimination instruction with echoic response requirement is producing emergent tact responses.

Evaluating Different Training Designs in Computerized Foreign-Language Vocabulary Instruction
(Basic Research)
JULIANA OLIVEIRA (Munroe Meyer Institute), Anna Ingeborg Petursdottir (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The present study sought to evaluate training designs commonly used in popular commercially available computer-assisted language learning (CALL) programs. In a between-group design, we compared the efficiency with which participants acquired the same emergent stimulus relations as a result of an instruction that teaches a small number of relations (Compound MTS condition) versus an instruction that directly targets a greater number of relations separately (Mixed condition). Forty participants were assigned to either a compound MTS or Mixed condition. In the compound MTS condition, each trial presented a compound sample (i.e., an auditory, picture, and a textual FL stimulus), to which the learner was required to respond by selecting a matching picture from an array of choices. In the Mixed condition, each trial presented a stimulus (i.e., textual, picture, or auditory separately) as samples. During training, participants received feedback on correct and incorrect responses. In a post-test, emergent listener relations, tacts, and intraverbal relations were tested. We predicted that the compound MTS condition would require fewer trials to complete mastery than the Mixed condition. This prediction was not confirmed. The compound MTS condition required fewer trials to achieve mastery, while also performing similarly during post- and follow-up tests.
The Role of Bidirectional Intraverbal Naming on Stimulus Class Formation
(Basic Research)
HEIDI SKORGE OLAFF (Oslo Metropolitan University ), Emilie Jørgensen (Oslo Metropolitan University), Erik Arntzen (Oslo Metropolitan University)
Abstract: Bidirectional intraverbal naming (I-BiN) involves establishing vocal relations between stimuli, which, in turn, results in the emergence of novel intraverbals and listener responses: Training A to B and B–C, will likely, produce the emergence of the relations B–A and C–B, A–C and C–A, in addition to listener responses. This study extends Ma et al. (2016) and comprises three experiments––eight college students in each experiment. In Experiment 1, we replicated the procedures in Ma et al. In Experiment 2, listener responses were established first, and subsequently, we tested tacts. Finally, in Experiment 3, we employed a one-to-many training structure, as opposed to the linear structure utilized in Ma et al. Additionally, we exposed participants to sorting tests. Across experiments, we assessed the properties of stimulus equivalence through pre- and post-tests across three meaningful stimulus classes, each containing three members. The results demonstrated when I-BiN was successfully established, the participants formed equivalence classes and correctly emitted matching-to-sample responses during posttests, thereby confirming the findings of Ma et al. The occurrence of I-BiN was confirmed by reaction time and post-experimental interviews. These results confirmed that participants form equivalence classes when they are trained in an I-BiN paradigm.
Verbal Behavior Variability: A Systematic Review of Empirical Literature
MERAL KOLDAS (University of Nebraska Medical Center Munroe Meyer Institute ), Andresa De Souza (University of Missouri-St. Louis)
Abstract: Research has shown that behavior variability can arise as a by-product of contingencies of reinforcement or as a direct outcome of such contingencies. In the former case, variability is not a mandatory condition for reinforcement delivery but is permissible. In the latter case, reinforcement is contingent upon variations (Neuringer, 1991). People with autism and other developmental disabilities typically engage in rigid, invariant verbal behavior, which might interfere with social interactions and the development of meaningful relationships. Therefore, it is essential to understand the contingencies that facilitate variability of verbal behavior during social interactions. The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate empirical studies focusing on the variability of verbal operants. We conducted a search on major databases as well as reference checks to identify studies that included humans as participants, directly evaluated variability, and focused on verbal behavior. A total of 44 studies were included for full-text review. Studies were coded for participants' demographics, study design, and procedures involved in promoting verbal behavior variability. The findings regarding participants' characteristics, verbal response topographies, and antecedent and consequence strategies to promote variance in verbal responses will be discussed. We will conclude with preliminary recommendations for practitioners focused on promoting variability in verbal responses.



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