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Establishment of Increased Stimulus Control for Bidirectional Naming Increased Stimulus Control for Other Derived Relations in 20- to 40-Month-Old Toddlers

Friedman, Leah Faith

Researchers across domains of behavior analysis agree that complexities of language acquisition can be defined by the degree to which an individual acquires language relations in the absence of direct training. In a series of studies, I examined the role of voluntary echoic responses on the onset of bidirectional naming (BiN) and the implications of the naming continuum, defined by accuracy of listener and speaker responses for familiar stimuli, on the emergence of untrained, language relations. Using a group descriptive analysis, I tested the correlations between storybook naming experiences and accuracy of listener (selection) and speaker (tact) responses across 24 toddlers, aged 20- to 37-months-old. During the naming experience, I measured voluntary production of the target stimulus (saying the target word). During the naming probe, I measured accuracy of untaught listener and speaker responses. While there were not significant associations between voluntarily saying the target stimulus and the accuracy of listener/speaker responses and voluntary responses remained low across 3 naming experiences, there were significant associations among accuracy of listener/speaker responses across the 3 experiences. Listener responses significantly increased across the three experiences, suggesting the emergence of unidirectional naming (UniN); however, speaker responses remained low. In Experiment II, I tested the effects of echoic clarity (phonemic responses that each participant demonstrated) on accuracy of untaught listener/speaker responses using storybook naming experiences. Data remained consistent in suggesting that UniN was present, but echoic clarity was not functionally related to measures of BiN. In Experiment III, I tested the effects of temporal proximity of visual and auditory stimuli on voluntary echoics and accuracy of listener/speaker responses using Successive Naming Experiences with Novel Stimuli (SNENS). This consisted of presenting auditory and visual stimuli simultaneously or with a one-second delay between the visual and auditory stimuli. Data remained consistent across participants in showing that the accuracy of listener/speaker responses was not dramatically affected by temporal proximity of visual and auditory stimuli. Serendipitous findings of this experiment suggested that the joining of listener and speaker responses may be required for acquisition of more complex derived relations. I conducted Experiment IV to address the unanticipated findings of the pilot study, by testing if a functional relation exists between the naming continuum and the emergence of other arbitrarily applicable derived relations (AAR). Four of the 6 participants demonstrated mastery of mutual and combinatorial entailment relations following increased degrees of BiN, while 2 of the participants demonstrated increases in combinatorial entailment relations. Results suggested a functional relation exists between the accuracy of untaught listener/speaker responses for word-object relations and the emergence of other AAR. I discuss these findings with regards to the essential stimulus control for untaught language relations as a history of reinforcement for correspondence.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Greer, R. Douglas
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 2, 2020