Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Vocal exchanges are comprised of responses under multiple sources of stimulus control. For example, a picture may contain multiple components, and an instructor may ask a learner to respond differentially to questions about the picture (e.g., “who,” “what,” “where,” “color,” “number,” “shape”). Children with autism spectrum disorder frequently have difficulty acquiring these types of verbal conditional discriminations. For example, the format of training may affect the development of verbal behavior under multiple sources of stimulus control. Therefore, the present investigation compared training stimuli in isolation to training with compound stimuli on the emergence of verbal behavior to evaluate methods that assist with correctly answering questions about compound stimuli. This study used a translational model with undergraduate students. Probes of untrained speaker and listener relations were conducted prior to training and following the emergence of the multiply controlled target intraverbal-tacts. Results show limited differences of the impact of training stimuli on acquisition and emergence. Our results also show trial arrangements that may promote emergence to untrained verbal relations. Potential clinical applications for children with autism spectrum disorder and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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