Celebrating World Behaviour Analysis Day 2022
Speaker Martha Hübner:
Verbal Behavior - 18 years of research: data and practical implications.
The presentation will show that the verbal operant “autoclitic”, when presented as an antecedent condition of a response, may have persuasive effects upon it, altering the function of the verbal stimuli that accompanies them. The empirical base are eleven experiments, conducted at the Laboratory of Verbal Operants Studies (LEOV), under Prof Hübner’s coordination. A-B-A or Pre-Post Test designs are applied mainly. The participants were typical developing children and young university students.
The procedures always involved a baseline, where the frequency of a non-verbal response was observed. In experimental phases, one or more verbal manipulations were conducted, involving verbal antecedent stimuli with the autoclitic topography suggested by Skinner (1957), where one or more verbal responses, previously observed at baseline, were differentially reinforced.
After this, post-test measures were taken under similar conditions of those at baseline, verifying the reversion or not of the responses observed during baseline. The results in the majority of the studies indicated that the effects of the autoclitic verbal stimuli upon the non-verbal behavior were, in general, transient, more easily observed in children than in adults and with lower response cost.
Other parameters manipulated, such as the locus of the emission of verbal stimuli (the experimenter or the participant), the process that originated the emission of the autoclitic response (if instructed or shaped), if related to the announcement of positive or negative reinforcement did not show a great relevance. Under conditions where the emission of shaped autoclitic verbal stimuli did not show changes in the related nonverbal response, instructions announcing generalized reinforcers contingent upon the emission of planned response were effective. It was interpreted that the autoclitic is one more dimension of stimulus control, coherent with Schlinger’s analysis (1993) that says that, under certain conditions, it is an altering function stimulus.
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