Effects of Single Versus Multiple Verbal Operant Arrangements on the Acquisition of Mands and Tacts in Preschool Children
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. James E. Carr
Dr. John Esch
Dr. Linda LeBlanc
Dr. Jack Michael
Verbal Behavior programs for children diagnosed with autism typically teach novel language in the context of multiple verbal operant arrangements. Commonly called "mixed verbal behavior", this involves the interspersal of various exemplars across verbal operant categories. Despite the current recommended use of this teaching procedure, only 2 studies to date have empirically evaluated its effectiveness (i.e., Arntzen & Almas, 2001; Carroll & Hesse, 1987). In both of these studies, mixed mand-tact training resulted in faster mean acquisition of tacts than tact-only training. In Experiment 1 of the current investigation, a systematic replication of previous studies was conducted with 3 typically-developing children. Although tacts were acquired in fewer mean sessions during the multiple verbaloperant condition than in the single-verbal operant condition across all participants, mean differences were negligible andthe effect was inconsistent across stimulus sets. In Experiment 2, a direct replication of Carroll and Hesse was conducted with 2 typically developing children. Mand-tact training did not produce more rapid acquisition of tacts for participants. The results are discussed in the context of idiosyncratic differences between current and previous procedures, and the value of further research on this potentially valid but elusive phenomenon.
Sidener, Tina M., "Effects of Single Versus Multiple Verbal Operant Arrangements on the Acquisition of Mands and Tacts in Preschool Children" (2006). Dissertations. 987.