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Theses Doctoral

Conditioned Seeing as Related to Bidirectional Naming for Unfamiliar Stimuli with Third through Fifth Grade Students Diagnosed with Autism

Syed, Noor Younus

In a series of three experiments, I investigated the emergence of conditioned seeing, defined as delayed drawing responses, as a potential component of bidirectional naming (BiN) for unfamiliar stimuli, which was defined in this study as the emergence of untaught listener and speaker responses following a naming experience with school-aged participants diagnosed with autism. Following exposure to incidental naming opportunities (stimulus-stimulus pairing), participants demonstrated BiN responses to non-contrived stimuli but did not demonstrate BiN responses to unfamiliar stimuli. In Experiment I, I assessed BiN and delayed drawing responses to unfamiliar stimuli following a naming experience in which attending to auditory stimuli, or names of the symbol, was paired with reinforcing stimuli for 6 participants. Participants were matched for level of verbal behavior and subsequently assigned to an experimental multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) or control group. A multiple probe design with a simultaneous treatment condition was utilized. Participants in the MEI group were exposed to listener, speaker, and drawing (transcription) responses with teaching sets of stimuli, while the control group experienced the school curriculum only, Direct Instruction. Participants in the control group were also exposed to a repeated probe condition during which they experienced a matched number of probe sessions with participants in the MEI-experimental group. Results of the first experiment indicated the presence of BiN with unfamiliar stimuli and conditioned seeing repertoires for participants in the MEI-experimental group following the intervention, however BiN and delayed drawing responses were not present for participants in the control group. Based on the results of Experiment I, I hypothesized that BiN and conditioned seeing behaviors may be evoked as a function of the establishment of a history for conditioned reinforcement for simultaneously observing a visual and auditory stimulus while engaging a drawing response. Two participants were selected for Experiment II as they demonstrated the presence of unidirectional naming for unfamiliar stimuli and delayed drawing responses during probe sessions; participants included in Experiment I did not demonstrate unidirectional naming for unfamiliar stimuli. Utilizing a multiple probe design, Experiment II tested whether the presence of unidirectional naming and drawing responses would evoke multiple stimulus control across speaker responses following exposure to a learn unit procedure. The learn unit procedure implemented in Experiment II required participants to emit an echoic for the name of the target stimuli while simultaneously attending to the visual and auditory stimuli, as well as drawing the stimuli. Results of the study indicated that BiN repertoires were present for unfamiliar stimuli following the intervention. In Experiment III, I again implemented the learn unit procedure but eliminated requirement of the echoic. Participants in Experiment III did not demonstrate unidirectional naming for unfamiliar stimuli or delayed drawing responses before the learn unit intervention. Three of these participants included in Experiment III had been assigned to the control group in Experiment I and a fourth participant was added. Results of Experiment III indicated that the learn unit procedure evoked BiN for unfamiliar stimuli and conditioned seeing for all four participants, indicating the presence of multiple stimulus control for verbal behavior. The source of this learning may be the establishment of conditioned reinforcement for observation of unfamiliar stimuli.


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More Information

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Greer, Robert D.
Ph.D., Columbia University
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