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


Invited Tutorial #117
CE Offered: BACB
Humans Learn Language Through Observation: A Verbal Behavior Development Account of Language Acquisition
Saturday, May 25, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center, 300 Level, Ballroom B
Area: DEV; Domain: Applied Research
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Jessica Singer-Dudek, Ph.D.
Presenting Authors: : JESSICA SINGER-DUDEK (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Recent research developments in the identification and establishment of crucial verbal developmental cusps related to learning by observation provides a clearer picture of the trajectory of language development leading to incidental language learning (Incidental Bidirectional Naming or Inc-BiN). These findings suggest that a new account of Observational Learning (OL) is warranted, with particular attention to the role that it plays in language development. This reconceptualization of verbal behavior development includes cusps that encompass the following: a) imitating (see-do responding); b) emulating (duplication of outcomes); c) changing existing behavior; d) acquiring new respondents, operants, and higher-order operants; e) acquiring new reinforcers under denial conditions; f) learning listener and speaker responses from exposure alone; and g) learning multiple responses or arbitrarily applicable relations, all as a function of observation. This presentation will focus on the establishment of observational stimulus control that makes language learning possible.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Practitioners; researchers; theorists; students

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) be familiar with the verbal behavior development theory; (2) be familiar with an updated account of the observational stimulus control cusps involved in language development; (3) be familiar with the role that observational learning plays in language development
JESSICA SINGER-DUDEK (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Dr. Jessica Singer-Dudek is the Director of Transdisciplinary Programs in ABA at Columbia University Teachers College. She also serves as a Senior Behavior Analyst Consultant to schools implementing the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling (CABAS®) model, and serves as the CABAS® Professional Advisory Board Secretary/Treasurer. Dr. Dudek’s research interests include component analyses of successful behavior analytic models of education, teacher and supervisor training, verbally governed and verbally governing behaviors, establishment of early observing responses, verbal behavior development, conditioned reinforcement, and observational learning.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh