Academic journal article The Psychological Record

Effects of Collateral Response Requirements and Exemplar Training on Listener Training Outcomes in Children

Academic journal article The Psychological Record

Effects of Collateral Response Requirements and Exemplar Training on Listener Training Outcomes in Children

Article excerpt

We evaluated the effects of collateral response requirements during listener training on the emergence of vocal foreign-language tacts and intraverbals among 4- and 5-year-old children. In Experiment 1, participants were first exposed to auditory-visual match-to-sample training without collateral response requirements. Four participants did not perform to criterion in probes for derived vocal responses, and were exposed to a two-phase intervention that involved adding echoic and native-language tact requirements to match-to-sample trials. Performance did not improve as a result of the intervention. However, all participants passed tact probes after receiving direct tact and intraverbal training with a subset of the stimuli, and two of four participants also passed the intraverbal probes. Experiment 2 addressed potential limitations of Experiment 1 with three additional participants, but collateral response requirements still failed to affect the emergence of tacts and intraverbals.

Keywords Listener training * Intraverbals * Naming * Tacts * Children

Auditory-visual match-to-sample (MTS) training is commonly used to teach relations between words and their referents; for example, when teaching children with developmental disabilities. A dictated name is presented as a sample stimulus at the beginning of each MTS trial, and the learner's task is to select the corresponding object or a picture from an array of comparison stimuli. Correct responses are differentially reinforced, and incorrect responses may be followed by prompting or error correction procedures. In applied contexts, auditory-visual MTS training is often considered to be a form of listener training (Greer and Ross 2008; Sundberg 2008), because its ultimate goal is usually to establish control by verbal stimuli over responses that are not verbal "in any special sense" (Skinner 1957, P. 2), such as orienting toward, picking up, or retrieving objects. In addition to its use in early vocabulary instruction, listener training is sometimes a component of instruction in more advanced language and academic skills for learners with and without disabilities (e.g., Joyce and Joyce 1993; Lynch and Cuvo 1995; Mcichiori et al. 2000).

A practical limitation of listener training is that it may fail to generate relevant vocal behavior. For example, a child who can point to several colors given their dictated names may be unable to name vocally the same colors upon seeing them. In addition, the child may fail to answer such questions as "What color is grass?" or "Name something that's yellow", in spite of already being able to name grass and a variety of yellow objects. In Skinner's (1957) terms, the child fails to emit appropriate vocal (acts (verbal responses controlled by antecedent nonverbal stimuli) and vocal intraverbals (verbal responses controlled by antecedent verbal stimuli, the sound patterns of which differ from those produced by the responses). Failures of listener training to generate vocal repertoires under appropriate stimulus control have been documented in numerous studies with individuals diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities (e.g.. Lee 1981; Sidman et al. 1986; Wynn and Smith 2003), as well as in typically developing children of preschool and early school-age (e.g., Connell and McReynolds 1981; Horne et al. 2004; Petursdottir et at. 2008a, b; Petursdottir and Haflidadottir 2009). However, some of these studies have also included participants who passed tests that required vocal responding. It may be speculated that those participants had prerequisite skills or pre-experimental histories that permitted them to derive greater benefits from the specific listener training procedures that were employed in each case. A potentially important avenue of applied investigation involves identifying ways to enhance the effects of listener training on vocal responding, either by building the prerequisite histories, or by modifying the training procedures so that they better match the learner's existing skill set. …

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