Theses Doctoral

The Intersection of Incidental Bidirectional Naming and Behavior Analytic Instructional Design Tactics

Smith, Ellis Creed

All individuals develop new skills over time and one important developmental stage is when individuals can learn in the absence of direct reinforcement. Behavior Analytic theories have stressed the importance of these emergent response repertoires and have consistently studied them across fields (i.e. Incidental Bidirectional Naming, Arbitrarily Applicable Relational Responding, Equivalence). Emergent responses are responses that are not explicitly taught during instruction. Recently, behavior analytic perspectives have studied their similarities across perspectives, one area of interest being Incidental Bidirectional Naming (Inc-BiN). Researchers have identified multiple types of Naming, including Pre-Unidirectional Naming (Pre-UniN), Incidental Unidirectional Naming (Inc-UniN), and Incidental Bidirectional Naming (Inc-BiN).

Study 1 investigated the basic question about whether verbal development – in this case degree of Inc-BiN – is related to academic performance (mathematics and reading). The researcher correlated participants’ listener and speaker responses for two Brief Inc-BiN Probes with academic performance (iReady Diagnostic Mathematic and Reading scores) for 41 participants. Results demonstrated significant positive correlations between degree of Inc-BiN and reading and mathematics performance. Given this correlation, two experiments examined the relationship between verbal development and two specific instructional design tactics that focus on the emergence of novel behavior.

Experiment 2 investigated the effectiveness and appropriateness of a relational training procedure (matrix instruction) on participants’ emergent intraverbal responses. The researcher used learn units to teach intraverbal atomic units and measured generalized operant responding. The researcher used a matrix with five prefixes and five root words, which combined to make 25-word combinations. The researcher taught five combinations (1 prefix plus 1 root) and tested the other 20-word combinations. The researcher implemented a multiple probe design and measured emergent intraverbals and degree of Inc-BiN prior to and following intervention. Results demonstrated that emergent intraverbal responses varied in accordance with participant degree of Inc-BiN. Experiment 3 investigated the effects of another relational training procedure (Equivalence-Based Instruction; EBI), across participants with ranging degrees of Inc-BiN. During teaching, the researcher taught two of six relations in a class to mastery using learn unit instruction across 13 participants.

Results in Experiment 3 demonstrated that, after EBI, participants emitted a greater number of emergent intraverbals when they had higher degrees of Inc-BiN and lower emergent intraverbals when they had lower degrees of Inc-BiN. Experiment 2 and 3 demonstrate similar results that participants with Inc-UniN and Inc-BiN emitted a high percentage of emergent relations following learn unit instruction across the three studies. Data highlight the importance of Inc-BiN’s relation to academic performance in general (Experiment 1) and in predicting participants’ success with behavior analytic instructional design tactics (Experiment 2 and 3).


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Fienup, Daniel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 29, 2024