Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. James E. Carr

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda LeBlanc

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Scott Gaynor


The purpose of the current study was to assess whether children would categorize pictures when taught the relevant listener and speaker behaviors separately. A category-sort test was used to assess emergent conditional relations. Category-sort trials consisted of looking at (Test 1) or tacting/labeling (Test 2) a samplestimulus and selecting the appropriate comparison stimuli. In Experiment 1, 4 children (3- 5 years) were taught to tact pictures of six U.S. state maps as either north or south. An assessment was conducted to determine whether they would (1) correctly categorize or sort when presented with a visual sample and (2) select the correct stimuli when hearing their category names (listener behavior). Two of the children categorized the pictures during Posttest 1 after the initial (pairwise) tact training. The other 2 categorized after receiving additional tact training with all pictures presented together. However, one of them categorized only during Posttest 2. In Experiment 2, 4 children (3-5 years) were taught to select pictures when hearing their category names. An assessment was conducted to determine whether they would (1) correctly categorize or sort and (2) tact the stimuli (speaker behavior). One child categorized the pictures during Posttest 1, and two during Posttest 2. The other child required additional training with all pictures grouped together. When participants failed to categorize, they also failed to tact the pictures accurately. Taken together, results from Experiments 1 and 2 show that both speaker and listener behavior play an important role in stimulus categorization.


5th Advisor: Dr. Michaei Hixson

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access