Theses Doctoral

How Stimulus Relations Accrue for the Names of Things in Preschoolers

Frias, Frank Anthony

In a demonstration study, Experiment I compared the naming cusp and capability for auditory, tactile, and olfactory stimuli with 6 preschool-aged children who demonstrated the naming capability for visual stimuli. Probes for listener and speaker responses were conducted following separate stimulus-stimulus pairings during which the experimenter presented a stimulus from one of the four modalities (i.e., visual, auditory, tactile, or olfactory) for the participant to observe, and named the stimulus. The names of the stimuli were counterbalanced, such that the names of each of the stimuli within each modality (e.g., visual modality) had different assigned names than the stimuli in the other modalities (e.g., auditory, tactile, and olfactory modalities). Four of the participants in Experiment I were typically developing and two participants were diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Five of the participants demonstrated full naming (i.e. the emission of untaught listener and speaker responses) for visual stimuli and at least 1other stimulus modality after 2 sessions of stimulus-stimulus pairings of stimuli and their names (i.e., naming experiences). One participant only demonstrated the listener half of naming for visual stimuli and did not demonstrate naming for any of the other stimulus modalities tested. Naming accrued for one or more stimulus modalities for five of the six participants after the second naming experience. Previous research investigating naming for a stimulus modality other than visual have demonstrated the acquisition of naming for auditory stimuli following stimulus-stimulus parings of visual stimuli with auditory stimuli presented with the same name. In Experiment II, I used a delayed repeated probe design across three dyads (five participants from Experiment I) to test the effects of repeated stimulus-stimulus pairings across visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory stimuli, presented simultaneously, with 1 name assigned for each modality set, on demonstrations of naming. In Experiment II the naming experiences consisted of the simultaneous presentation of four stimuli (i.e., visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory) while the experimenter labeled each stimulus while the participant observed. Five of the participants demonstrated overall increases in correct untaught speaker responses following the repeated stimulus-stimulus pairings. Some participants demonstrated decreases in correct responses across sessions, indicating certain stimuli elicited avoidance responses after repeated exposures. Five participants also demonstrated transfer of stimulus control from visual stimuli to one or more of the other stimulus modalities, indicating higher-order conditioning occurred. The findings provide further evidence for the differential development of naming across stimulus modalities for children with visual naming through stimulus-stimulus pairings.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Greer, Robert D.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 6, 2017