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 Degree Discipline: Behavior Analysis
The effects of "errorless" training and testing on the performances of typically developing children during acquisition and retention.

The effects of "errorless" training and testing on the performances of typically developing children during acquisition and retention.

Date: December 2003
Creator: Arnadottir, Iris
Description: This study examines the effects of two teaching procedures and two testing procedures (“Skip” and “Guess”) on acquisition, retention and generalization of learning. Three typically developing females between the ages of 8 and 11 learned the 24 lower case letters of the Greek alphabet. Half of the letters were taught with the “Skip” procedure and the other half with the “Guess” procedure. The “Skip” procedure produced faster and more efficient learning than the “Guess” procedure. The “Skip” procedure also resulted in better initial retention (4 weeks), but this effect disappeared in subsequent retention tests. The training conditions did not have differential effects on generalization tests across learning channels, except for the Free/Say channel.
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The Effects of Workshop Training and Coaching on the Acquisition and Generalization of Teaching Skills

The Effects of Workshop Training and Coaching on the Acquisition and Generalization of Teaching Skills

Date: December 2003
Creator: Almon, Holly C.
Description: The purpose of this study was threefold: (a) to examine the separate effects of increased accuracy on multiple-choice/rank-order written tests and coaching on the teaching performance of participants; (b) to compare generalization across tasks produced by the workshop and coaching; and (c) to assess maintenance of teaching performance. Following baseline, two adults received a lecture on discrete trial teaching procedures. A written test measured verbal performance on workshop material periodically throughout this phase. During the next phase, each adult then experienced further training via in-situ coaching. A multiple baseline design across tasks was used during the coaching phase. Results of the workshop training package revealed an inverse relationship between the strongest verbal performance and strongest teaching performance skill areas. In addition, only with the introduction of the in-situ coaching package did teacher performance improve significantly across all behaviors. Child responding remained relatively constant throughout the study, regardless of teacher performance. Some generalization of teacher behavior was observed across tasks, but was extremely variable across both workshop and coaching conditions. After the cessation of coaching, teacher performance remained stable across maintenance phases and at a 6-week follow-up.
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Teaching Children with Autism Three Different Questions

Teaching Children with Autism Three Different Questions

Date: December 2003
Creator: Cramer, Heather
Description: Children with autism often exhibit deficits in question-asking. This study replicated and extended Williams, Donley, and Keller.s (2000) training package: a modeling and reinforcement procedure to teach the use of 3 different questions about hidden objects. Two boys, aged 13 and 12, with primary diagnoses of autism, participated. A multiple baseline design across questions was used. Both children learned to ask all three questions: .What.s that?. .Can I see (item name)?. and .Can I have (item name)?. Question-asking generalized to novel locations, people, and stimulus materials with minimal additional training. These results support the efficacy of this training package as an efficient way to teach children with autism to ask questions about objects in their environment.
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The effects of parent training on the amount and variety of food consumed by a child with autism.

The effects of parent training on the amount and variety of food consumed by a child with autism.

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Date: May 2004
Creator: VanKirk, Tessa Schreiber
Description: The current study assessed the effectiveness of a training package, delivered in the form of a manual, to teach a parent to increase the variety and amount of food consumed by her son. The participant was a 5-year-old boy with Pervasive Developmental Disorder and limited food consumption. A changing criterion design across two variables, variety of food and quantity of food, was used. Results were that the parent who used the manual, with limited assistance from the experimenter, did succeed in increasing food variety and quantity of target foods.
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The effects of rate contingent consequences and charting on response rates for two children with autism.

The effects of rate contingent consequences and charting on response rates for two children with autism.

Date: May 2004
Creator: Berman, Christine M.
Description: This study investigated the effects of a precision teaching package on response rates of children with autism. Prior to both experiments a preference assessment was conducted to identify high preference activities for each participant. Experiment 1 investigated whether response rates would shift as a function of rate-contingent consequences during an academic task. Different activities were associated with different rates of responding. The experimental package of 1 minute timings, rate contingent consequences, and charting was successful in increasing the rates of responding when the most highly preferred activity was associated with high rates of responding. When the contingencies were switched and the most highly preferred activity was contingent on lower rates of responding, the participant's responding did not decrease. Experiment 2 was an attempt to replicate the results of Experiment 1 using a multiple baseline across tasks. The experimental package was not successful in increasing the rate of responding.
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The effects of sign language on the vocal responses of a child with autism.

The effects of sign language on the vocal responses of a child with autism.

Date: May 2004
Creator: Scarbro-McLaury, Jill
Description: Sign language is an effective form of alternative communication for persons with autism and other developmental disabilities. Only a few studies have systematically measured the effects of sign language on the vocal responses of its users. This study employed a multiple baseline design to evaluate the effects of sign language on the vocal responses of a four-year-old boy with autism. Results indicate that a reinforcement contingency placed only on sign responses is inadequate for maintaining vocal responses. When a reinforcement contingency is placed on sign responses as well as vocal responses that the user is capable of emitting in verbal imitation, both sign and vocal responses are maintained. Results are discussed in terms of the need for a reinforcement contingency placed on vocal and sign responses, the effects of teaching procedures on response variability, and the need for future research to examine procedures utilized to teach sign language to persons within the developmental disabilities population.
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Mediated Generalization of the Effect of Reprimands Across Two Topographies of Self-Injury

Mediated Generalization of the Effect of Reprimands Across Two Topographies of Self-Injury

Date: May 2004
Creator: Kliethermes, Lana L.
Description: This study sought to assess the effects of pairing a neutral stimulus with a reprimand contingent on occurrences of two topographies of problem behavior. Using a multiple baseline withdrawal with a nested multi-element design, contingencies were first applied to eye poking and, subsequently, to a second behavior, skin picking. In each case, the participant wore wristbands (a previously neutral stimulus) during treatment sessions. Results indicated that the reprimands were effective in decreasing both behaviors. In addition, when skin picking resulted in reprimands, eye poking also decreased. However, when reprimands were contingent on eye-poking, the effects did not appear to generalize to skin-picking. Some possible accounts for this asymmetrical pattern of generalization are discussed.
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On the Relation between Stimulus Equivalence and Extension of Stimulus Function

On the Relation between Stimulus Equivalence and Extension of Stimulus Function

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Date: May 2004
Creator: Hartman, Carrie
Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between stimulus equivalence (briefly, networks of relations among stimuli) and the extension of stimulus function (briefly, spread of effect across network) more closely than has been possible before. The traditional view of this relation suggests that equivalence classes mediate the extension of stimulus function and are, therefore, necessary for any extension to occur. This study used a preparation in which the conditional discriminations required for the development of equivalence classes and the simple discriminations required for the extension of function were trained or tested simultaneously. Results suggest that equivalence are not necessary for the extension of stimulus function though they may be sufficient.
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Order effects of variability-contingent and variability-independent point delivery: Effects on operant variability and target sequence acquisition.

Order effects of variability-contingent and variability-independent point delivery: Effects on operant variability and target sequence acquisition.

Date: May 2004
Creator: Lee, Coral Em
Description: Previous research has shown that variability is a reinforceable dimension of operant behavior. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that learning is facilitated when variability in responding is high. In this research, variability was observed within an operant composed of any sequence of six left and right key presses. Variability was either a requirement for point delivery (VAR conditions) or points were delivered independent of variability (ANY conditions). Two groups of college undergraduates experienced different orders of conditions. One group began the experiment under VAR conditions, and the variability requirement was later removed. The other group began the experiment under ANY conditions, and the variability requirement was later added. A concurrently reinforced target sequence (i.e., an always-reinforced sequence of left and right key presses) was introduced to both groups after these orders of conditions had been experienced. A variety of outcomes resulted. Subjects learned the target sequence when variability was both high and low with non-target points concurrently available. Other subjects learned the target sequence after all non-target point deliveries had been suspended. One subject failed to acquire the target sequence at all. These results were compared to previous findings and possible explanations for the discrepancies were suggested.
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Transfer of Mand Topographies to Tact Relations and Vice Versa in Two Vocal-Verbal Children with Autism

Transfer of Mand Topographies to Tact Relations and Vice Versa in Two Vocal-Verbal Children with Autism

Date: May 2004
Creator: Castellani, Jill E.
Description: Skinner (1957) suggested that verbal responses learned as mands are not necessarily emitted in tact relations and vice versa. Previous empirical research has found that newly acquired mands and tacts can be functionally independent. The present study investigated 1) whether novel responses taught in mand relations would be emitted as tacts when opportunity for tacting was presented; 2) whether novel responses taught in tact relations would be emitted as mands when opportunity for manding was presented; and 3) whether the size of pre-experimental mand and tact repertoires affected the rate of acquisition and/or transfer. Two vocal-verbal children with autism were taught three novel responses as mands and three other responses as tacts. Mand topographies transferred to tact relations and tact topographies transferred to mand relations for both participants. Overall acquisition as well as transfer of mands and tacts was faster for the participant with an entering repertoire of approximately 175 mands and 175 tacts than for the participant with a repertoire of approximately 100 mands and 100 tacts.
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