Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Paul Mountjoy

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. Norman Peterson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study investigated the acquisition of a few response forms under different controlling variables using both a topography based language (TB) (i.e., signing) and a stimulus selection based language (SSB) (i.e., touching symbols) with three language deficient developmentally disabled individuals. The subjects were taught to name, to ask for, and to touch keys that opened boxes that contained some form of reinforcement. Most of the keys' names were trained across more than one set of controlling variables per session. Before training began for a given key under a new condition, a transfer test was conducted, investigating the possibility of stimulus control transfer. Following mastery of a given condition, a probe session with a new key was conducted. The results showed that a new key name introduced after mastery of SSB language conditions was readily acquired. Transfer of stimulus control from one training procedure to another was not complete without training. Each subject demonstrated the use of complex verbal behavior by successfully using "the same word" under different controlling variables. Two subjects also demonstrated the use of verbal behavior multiply controlled as they mastered words in the SSB language.

Included in

Psychology Commons