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Parametric Analyses of Protocols Utilized to Induce Verbal Behavioral Cusps and Capabilities

Hotchkiss, Rebecca Marie

The purpose of this study was to conduct parametric analyses of verbal behavior developmental protocols used to induce verbal behavioral cusps and capabilities. A parametric analysis detects the relationship between different values of an independent variable and its effects on behavior. Researchers manipulate parameters of an independent variable such as its quantity, rate, latency, intensity, or duration. In this study, the goal of the analysis was to determine how different parameters of developmental protocols affect the time required to induce verbal developmental cusps and how these parameters vary as a function of the differences in the cusps and capabilities present prior to initiating a protocol. In Experiment I, I conducted a parametric analysis of the intensity of an Intensive Tact Instruction (ITI) protocol on the induction of Bidirectional Naming (BiN). I selected eight participants due to absence of BiN in their repertoire while still demonstrating listener literacy and echoic, mand, and tact repertoires. I matched the participants into dyads based on their similarity in BiN level and rate of learning to assess the effects of the full (100 learn unit) intensity and the accelerated (50 learn unit) intensity of the ITI protocol. Results found varied results dependent on the students’ level of cusps/capabilities and degree of BiN at the onset of the intervention. Students with Unidirectional Naming (UniN) and higher capabilities at the onset of the protocol demonstrated that the intensities produced similar effects on inducing BiN; however, the accelerated protocol produced this outcome in fewer learning opportunities, suggesting the efficiency of the accelerated protocol. Students who demonstrated No-incidental Naming (NiN, or independence of listener and speaker repertoires) at the onset of the study demonstrated mixed results from the intervention, regardless of intervention intensity. While UniN could be established with these students with both the full and accelerated intensity of ITI, results on demonstrating BiN in these students varied. The outcomes are discussed in terms of efficiency and cost effectiveness, as well as the significance of conducting parametric analyses on protocols. In Experiment II, I conducted a parametric analysis of the stringency of an Auditory Match-to-Sample (AM) protocol on the induction of accurate echoics. I again matched participants into dyads based on their rate of learning and their similarity in echoic responses, to test the effects of the full (90% accuracy across 20 trials) criterion and the accelerated (5 consecutive correct responses) criterion of the AM protocol. Participants demonstrated increases in their full echoic emissions following the AM intervention, regardless of the stringency of the criterion delivered (i.e., full vs. accelerated). Results across both Experiment I and II demonstrated the positive effects of conducting parametric analyses on protocols used to induce verbal behavioral cusps, to develop more efficient methods. Despite the manipulation to more accelerated parameters of the protocol intervention, comparable behavior change occurred across verbal behavior developmental cusps for both experiments.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Fienup, Daniel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 24, 2019