Theses Doctoral

Establishment of the Imitation Developmental Cusp via a Synchronous Mirror Protocol and the Role of Imitation as a Foundational Verbal Cusp

Wilczewski, Joanna

Across two experiments I sought to determine the relation between the Imitation developmental cusp and the emulative echoic cusp in preschoolers classified with a learning disability.

In Experiment I, the participants were 36 preschoolers selected via a convenience sample, where the goal was to test for relations between the preverbal developmental cusp and foundational learning capability of Imitation, the preverbal and emulative verbal developmental cusps in the participant’s repertoire, and the reinforcement value of age-appropriate toys and activities. Results showed significant correlations between Imitation and conditioned reinforcement for observing adult faces and voices, parroting, echoics, and listener literacy, as well as significant relations between Imitation and conditioned reinforcement for playing with toys, puzzles, coloring materials, and Play-Doh. Findings show that Imitation is either a prerequisite or a corequisite to emulative verbal developmental cusps.

Experiment II had two goals. The first was to determine whether educationally classified preschoolers with a disability can emit various imitative responses when the researcher presents instruction through a smart device using the mirror training protocol. The second was to determine whether the echoic behavior and observing responses of the participants would change as a result of undergoing the synchronous mirror training protocol. Results show a functional relation between the acquisition of the verbal foundational Imitation cusp and increases in emission of various imitative responses and emulative echoic responses, across both in-person and virtual conditions.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Greer, R. Douglas
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 27, 2022