© Copyright 2019

Contact Us

Abstracts

Greer, R. D., Corwin, A., & Buttigieg, S. (2011). The effects of the verbal developmental capability of naming on how children can be taught. Acta de Investigacion Psicologia, 1(1), 23-54. 

Abstract

Naming, a verbal developmental capability that is a source for children to acquire language incidentally, may affect how they learn best in school. We tested the presence/absence of Naming (Experiment I) and the induction of Naming (Experiment II) on the rates of learning under 2 instructional conditions (9-participants, ages 5-7) using a counterbalanced reversal design across matched pairs for Experiment I and stage 2 of Experiment II. In stage 1 Experiment II we used a delay multiple probe design across participants to show the induction of Naming and then in stage 2 we tested the effects of the induction of Naming on rate of learning. The dependent variable in each study was numbers of instructional trials to meet curricular objectives. In Experiment I, we compared learning under (a) standard learn unit presentations (SLUs) or instructional trials that met the criteria for learn units and (b) model demonstration learn units (MLUs) learn units with antecedent instructions. In Experiment I, MLUs correlated with faster rates of learning for all 4 participants with Naming.  For the 4-participants who lacked Naming, MLUs did not accelerated learning. In Experiment 2, we induced Naming for those 4-participats and then MLUs accelerated rates of learning. The findings suggest that the onset of Naming allows children to learn and be taught in new ways. 

Speckman-Collins, J. & Greer, R. D. (2012). Multiple exemplar instruction and the emergence of generative production of suffixes as autoclitic frames. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 28(1), 83-99

Abstract

We report 2 experiments that tested the effects of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) across training sets on the emergence of productive autoclitic frames (suffixes) for 6 preschoolers with and without language-based disabilities. We implemented multiple exemplar tact instruction with subsets of stimuli whose “names” contained the suffix “-er” denoting the comparative form of adjectives. Subsets of stimuli included regular, irregular, and contrived tacts containing the target relational autoclitic frame in order to determine if our MEI procedure would induce the abstraction of the frame across all stimulus sets. In the second experiment, additional tasks were introduced to the participants to control for a possible sequence effect. A nonconcurrent multiple probe design was used to evaluate the functional relation between MEI and emergence of untaught tact responses containing the comparative adjective “-er.” The results of both experiments showed relations between MEI and novel, untaught tact responses containing the target autoclitic frame; the second experiment showing a functional relation. The results are discussed in terms of environmental sources for productive verbal behavior.

Gilic, L. & Greer, R. D. (2009). Establishing Naming in typically developing two-year children as a function of multiple exemplar speaker and listener experiences. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27(1), 157-177.

Abstract 

Naming is a verbal developmental capability and cusp that allows children to acquire listener and speaker functions without direct instruction (e.g., incidental learning of words for objects). We screened 19 typically developing 2- and 3-year-old children for the presence of Naming for 3-dimensional objects. All 9 3-year-olds had Naming, and 8 of 10 2-year-olds lacked Naming. For the 2-year-old children who lacked Naming, we used multiple-probe designs (2 groups of 4 children) to test the effect of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) across speaker and listener responses on the emergence of Naming. Prior to the MEI, the children could not emit untaught listener or speaker responses following match-to-sample instruction with novel stimuli, during which they had heard the experimenter tact the stimuli. After MEI with a different set of novel stimuli, the children emitted listener and speaker responses when probed with the original stimuli, in the absence of any further instruction with those stimuli. Seven of 8 children acquired the speaker and listener responses of Naming at 83% to 100% accuracy. We discuss the basic and applied science implications.

 

Singer-Dudek, J., Oblak, M., & Greer, R. D. (2011). Establishing books as conditioned reinforcers for preschool children as a function of an observational intervention. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44(3), 421-434.

Abstract

We tested the effects of an observational intervention (Greer & Singer-Dudek, 2008) on establishing children’s books as conditioned reinforcers using a delayed multiple baseline design. Three preschool students with mild language and developmental delays served as the participants. Prior to the intervention, books did not function as reinforcers for any of the participants. The observational intervention consisted of a situation in which the participant observed a confederate being presented with access to books contingent on correct responses and the participant received nothing for correct responses. After several sessions of this treatment, the previously neutral books acquired reinforcing properties for maintenance and acquisition responses for all three participants.

Greer, R. D., Pistoljevic, N., Cahill, C., & Du, L. (2011). Effects of conditioning voices as reinforcers for listener responses on rate of learning, awareness, and preferences for listening to stories in preschoolers with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27(1), 103-124. 

 Abstract

We used a delayed non-concurrent pre- and post-intervention probe design to test the effects of a voice conditioning protocol (VCP) with 3 preschoolers with autism on (a) rate of acquisition of listener curricular objectives, (b) observing voices and the presence of adults across 3 settings, (c) selecting to listen to adults tell stories in free play setting, and (d) the occurrence of stereotypy in the story setting. The VCP conditioned voices as reinforcers for listening to recordings of voices via stimulus-stimulus pairing, which resulted in the children listening to audio recordings of voices in 90% of intervals in 5-min concurrent-operant preference tests. After voices became conditioned reinforcers, all 3 children's learning accelerated; 2 children's observing responses increased in the 3 settings; and 2 children selected to listen to stories and also showed decreased stereotypy in the story setting. The data suggest that conditioned reinforcement for observing responses may be a verbal behavior developmental cusp that acts to accelerate learning that involves listening, and that the cusp may be induced using the VCP.

Gilic, L., & Greer, R. D. (2011). Establishing naming in typically developing two-year-old children as a function of multiple exemplar speaker and listener experiences. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27(1), 157-177.

 Abstract

Naming is a verbal developmental capability and cusp that allows children to acquire listener and speaker functions without direct instruction (e.g., incidental learning of words for objects). We screened 19 typically developing 2- and 3-year-old children for the presence of Naming for 3-dimensional objects. All 9 3-year-olds had Naming, and 8 of 10 2-year-olds lacked Naming. For the 2-year-old children who lacked Naming, we used multiple-probe designs (2 groups of 4 children) to test the effect of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) across speaker and listener responses on the emergence of Naming. Prior to the MEI, the children could not emit untaught listener or speaker responses following match-to-sample instruction with novel stimuli, during which they had heard the experimenter tact the stimuli. After MEI with a different set of novel stimuli, the children emitted listener and speaker responses when probed with the original stimuli, in the absence of any further instruction with those stimuli. Seven of 8 children acquired the speaker and listener responses of Naming at 83% to 100% accuracy. We discuss the basic and applied science implications.

Luke, N., Greer, R. D., Singer-Dudek, J., & Keohane, D. (2011). The emergence of autoclitic frames in atypically and typically developing children as a function of multiple exemplar instruction. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27(1), 141-156. 

Abstract

In two experiments, we tested the effect of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) for training sets on the emergence of autoclitic frames for spatial relations for novel tacts and mands. In Experiment 1, we used a replicated pre- and post-intervention probe design with four students with significant learning disabilities to test for acquisition of four autoclitic frames with novel tacts and mands before and after MEI. The untaught topographies emerged for all participants. In Experiment 2, we used a multiple probe design to test the effects of the MEI procedures on the same responses in four typically developing, bilingual students. The novel usage emerged for all participants. In the latter experiment, the children demonstrated untaught usage of mand or tact frames regardless of whether they were taught to respond in either listener or speaker functions alone or across listener and speaker functions. The findings are discussed in terms of the role of MEI in the formation of abstractions.

Eby, C. M., Greer, R. D., Tullo, L. D., Baker, K. A., & Pauly, R. (2010). Effects of multiple exemplar instruction on the transformation of stimulus function across written and vocal spelling instruction responses by students with autism. The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 5(1), 20-31. ISN 1932-4731. 

Abstract

Transfer of stimulus function (TSF) involves the acquisition of an untaught response to a stimulus which previously evoked only a single taught response. We tested the effects of multiple exemplar instruction on the TSF across vocal and written spelling responses of 3 elementary students with autism. Participants were taught to spell 4 words (Set 1) either vocally or graphically. Untaught responses were probed. Then, participants were taught to spell 4 different words (Set 2) in the opposite topography. Following mastery, untaught responses to Set 1 were again probed. Finally, 4 novel words (Set 3) were taught in a single-response-topography (saying or writing) and the untaught topography was probed. Results showed correct untaught responses to Set 1 words and eme rgence of set 4.

Greer, R. D. & Du, L. (2010). Generic Instruction versus Intensive Tact Instruction and the Emission of Spontaneous Speech. The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 5(1), 1-19. ISN 1932-4731. 

Abstract

We isolated the effects of intensive tact instruction from increased generic instruction on the emission of spontaneous speech (pure mands, pure tacts, intraverbals) in non-instructional settings by 3 boys with ASD, using a delayed multiple probe design across participants. The teaching procedure included the replacement of 100 generic academic learn units with 100 learn units of tact instruction until mastery of 5 sets of 4 stimuli (20 pictures). Results showed a strong functional relationship between intensive tact instruction and the participants’ production of pure mands and pure tacts in non-instructional settings. Findings suggest that it is not an increase in instruction alone but the nature of intensive tact instruction that results in more verbal operants in non-instructional settings.

Greer, R. D., & Longano, J. (2010). A rose by naming: How we may learn to do it. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 26(1), 73-106.

Abstract

Naming appears to be the source of the explosion in language development and involves the integration of the initially separate listener and speaker responses. This integration has a role in the development of reading, writing, and the following and construction of verbal algorithms that make types of complex human behavior possible. Considerable research has investigated the role of Naming in the emergence of derived relations. Recent research has also investigated the emergence of Naming itself. We describe these experiments and the experiences that function to induce Naming. We also describe evidence about preverbal developmental cusps that are foundational to the emergence of Naming and the evidence on its reinforcement sources. The isolation of the role of the environment in the emergence of Naming identifies stimuli that were said to be missing in accounts that were critical of Skinner's (1957) account of verbal behavior. These arguments purported that the phenomenon was not attributable to learning because of the “poverty of the stimulus.” Some of the relevant stimuli now appear to be identified.

Pereira-Delgado, J. A., & Greer, R. D. (2009). The effects of peer monitoring training on the emergence of the capability to learn by observing instruction received by peers. The Psychological Record, 59. 407-434.

Abstract

We tested the effects of teaching peer monitoring on the emergence of an observational learning (OL) capability in 2 experiments using delayed multiple probe designs with children diagnosed with developmental disabilities. In probes for the OL capability before and after each stage of the peer monitoring intervention, participants received unconsequated probes on material that was novel to them after they observed peers who were taught mastery of the material. In Experiment 1, 2 participants were probed for the presence of OL of textual responses and tact responses to pictures taught to peers prior to and after each stage of the peer monitoring intervention. In the training, target participants observed peers receiving different instruction involving reinforcement for accuracy and corrections for errors. After participants met criterion on the monitoring intervention, they demonstrated OL with the peer they trained with and a novel peer. In Experiment 2, the same results accrued for vocal spelling responses. The data suggest that for children like these, acquiring the capability to learn by observing instruction received by others in classrooms results from monitoring others receive instruction.

AbstractWe tested the effects of teaching peer monitoring on the emergence of an observational learning (OL) capability in 2 experiments using delayed multiple probe designs with children diagnosed with developmental disabilities. In probes for the OL capability before and after each stage of the peer monitoring intervention, participants received unconsequated probes on material that was novel to them after they observed peers who were taught mastery of the material. In Experiment 1, 2 participants were probed for the presence of OL of textual responses and tact responses to pictures taught to peers prior to and after each stage of the peer monitoring intervention. In the training, target participants observed peers receiving different instruction involving reinforcement for accuracy and corrections for errors. After participants met criterion on the monitoring intervention, they demonstrated OL with the peer they trained with and a novel peer. In Experiment 2, the same results accrued for vocal spelling responses. The data suggest that for children like these, acquiring the capability to learn by observing instruction received by others in classrooms results from monitoring others receive instruction.

Pereira-Delgado, J. A., Greer, R. D., Speckman, J., & Goswami, A. (2009). Effects of conditioning reinforcement for print stimuli on match-to-sample responding in preschoolers. The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 3.2/3.3, 199-216.

Abstract

We studied the effects of conditioned reinforcement for two–dimensional visual stimuli (print) on visual match-to-sample responses for three pre-schoolers with disabilities using a time lagged multiple probe design. Visual stimuli (pictures, symbols, letters and shapes) were conditioned using a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure untiltheseprintstimulifunctionedasreinforcementforlooking. Dependentvariableswere1)pre-andpost- conditioning responses to probes for the number of seconds participants looked at novel visual stimuli, and 2) the ratio of learn units to criteria for the acquisition of two -dimensional match-to-sample programs. Results showed a functional relationship between the acquisitions of conditioned reinforcement for the visual stimuli and decreased the mean numbers of learn units to criteria on match-to-sample curricular instruction for all participants. 

Greer, R. D. & Speckman, J. (2009). The integration of speaker and listener responses: A theory of verbal development, The Psychological Record. 59, 449-488.

Abstract

We provide an empirically updated Skinnerian-based account of verbal behavior development, describing how the speaker-as-own-listener capability in children (the capability of children to behave as speaker and listener within their own skin) accrues and how it is pivotal to becoming verbal. The theory grew from (a) findings in experiments with children with and without language delays and (b) findings from research devoted to the identification of derived and emergent behavior (i.e., novel, creative, and spontaneous behavior). Experiments identified preverbal instructional histories leading to separate listener and speaker capabilities and experiences that joined the listener and the speaker. Once this learned intercept is present, children engage in conversational self-talk, engage in say–do correspondence, and acquire new vocabulary without direct instruction. These developmental capabilities make it possible for most complex behavior to be learned, including reading, writing, emission of novel tenses and suffixes, and the following of and construction of complex algorithms.

Greer, R. D. (2008). The Ontogenetic Selection of Verbal Capabilities: Contributions of Skinner’s verbal behavior theory to a more comprehensive understanding of language, International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 8(3), 363-386. A special issue commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of B. F. Skinner™ 1957 Verbal Behavior. (Edited by Carmen Luciano, Miguel Rodríguez Valverde, and Charles Catania)

Abstract

I describe how Skinner’s (1957) Verbal Behavior and subsequent research that extended his theory contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of language with regard to the ontogenetic selection of verbal behavior. A large corpus of research has shown the applied utility of the theory for inducing verbal behavior in children missing certain verbal capabilities and developmental cusps. Other related work on Relational Frame theory, Naming theory, and Stimulus Equivalence provided the basis for identifying verbal developmental cusps and capabilities. Evidence on the initial independence of the speaker and listener, and research identifying the experiences that lead to the joining of the speaker and listener within the skin, suggests an empirically based theory of verbal development. This work identifies the preverbal foundations, the speaker and listener components and the experiences that lead to the capability for learning language incidentally and productive language. The growing evidence on the ontogenetic sources of language and its development in children complements the work of other scholarship in language and provides neuroscience with better tools to validate the relation between brain activity and the effects of experience.

 

Greer, R. D., Singer-Dudek, J., Longano, J., & Zrinzo, M. (2008). The emergence of praise as conditioned reinforcement as a function of observation in preschool and school age children. Revista Psychologie Mexico. 25, 5-26.

Abstract

We tested the effects of an observational interven- tion on the conditioning of praise as a reinforcer with 2-school age and 2-preschool age children for whom vocal praise did not reinforce either performance (the emission of previously learned operants) or learning (the acquisition of new operants). Pre-intervention reversal designs for performance tasks showed praise did not reinforce; similarly, baselines showed the chil- dren did not learn when praise was the reinforcer and correc- tions were done for learning new material. The intervention consisted of multiple observational sessions in which each par- ticipant performed other performance tasks simultaneously with a peer confederate under conditions in which the confederate received praise for performing and the target child did not. Following the intervention, the post-interventions reversal de- signs showed that vocal praise functioned as reinforcement for performance and the post-intervention multiple baselines showed that the vocal praise acted as reinforcement for learn- ing. The results are discussed in terms of the emergence of reinforcement as a function of observational Pavlovian condi- tioning (i.e., the observation of stimulus-stimulus pairings) and the potential for this procedure to condition praise as social reinforcement in applied settings. 

Singer-Dudek, J. Greer, R. D., & Schmelzkopf, J. (2008). The effects of an observational intervention on the acquisition of reinforcing properties of a previously neutral stimulus. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions, 5.1, 57-74

Abstract

This study sought to further investigate the effects of an observational intervention for two participants on the reinforcing property of pieces of string. Pre-observational intervention data showed that the neutral stimuli (strings) did not function to reinforce two participants’ responding to a performance task or learning three new skills that were not previously in their repertoires. The observational intervention involved the participants observing a peer confederate receive strings following responses that the participants could not see while they were deprived strings, regardless of whether their responses were correct or incorrect. Once the participants met criterion for terminating the intervention the same performance and learning tasks were again presented. The data showed that the strings now functioned to reinforce both performance and learning tasks. The results are discussed in terms of the utility of this procedure as an alternative to traditional stimulus-stimulus pairing procedures for conditioning neutral stimuli as reinforcers. 

Keohane, D., Luke, N., & Greer, R. D. (2008). The things we care to see: The effects of the rotated protocol immersion on the emergence of early observing responses. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions, 5.1, 23-39.

Abstract

We tested the effect of a Rotated Protocol Immersion package on the emergence of observing responses as prerequisites for more complex verbal developmental capabilities. Three elementary aged students between the ages of 6 and 7 participated. They were diagnosed with autism spectrum disabilities. The treatment condition consisted of total immersion in a rotation of six pre-listener Protocols (Greer & Ross, 2008), designed to induce foundations for verbal developmental capabilities. The participants were selected for their demonstrated lack of early observing responses (Keohane, Delgado & Greer, in press). The y did not respond when their names were called, orient toward voices in the environment, or follow instructions. They did not seek out the attention of others unless it was to fill an immediate need. The dependent variables in the study were observing responses; learn units to criterion, instructional objectives met, and incidental performances across instructional and non- instructional settings. We used a time-lagged multiple probe design and found significant increases in the dependent variables. Additionally, the post-probes demonstrated a range of increases in the number and level of complexity of students’ observing responses. The results are discussed in terms of theoretical implications, as well as, in the context of behavioral research on child development, and the hierarchy of verbal developmental capabilities.

Park, H., Pereira, Delgado, J., Choi, J. & Greer, R.D. (2008). The Effects of playful physical contact as an establishing operation on correct academic responding of three preschool students. Journal of Early Intensive Behavioral Interventions, 5, 90-10

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to test the effects of playful physical contact as an establishing operation (EO) on correct academic responses for four-year-old preschool students with developmental disabilities who functioned at the pre-speaker and pre-listener levels of verbal behavior. Two males and one female served as participants who attended a publicly funded, private preschool outside a large metropolitan area. A multi-element design (alternating treatments design followed by an AB design) was used to test the effects of the establishing operation. The data were collected in seven acquisition programs and one performance program for each participant. The establishing operation consisted of experimenters’ tickling, spinning, and hugging the participants as pre-instructional play for 10 seconds for every 10 learn units. The results of these data showed that an establishing operation was effective at increasing correct academic responding across all participants. In addition, Participants A and B emitted more mands for the playful physical contact during the pre-play sessions (mands were not measured for Participant C). 

 

Greer, R. D., Singer-Dudek, J (2008). The emergence of conditioned reinforcement from observation. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 89. 15-39.

Abstract

We report an experiment in which observations of peers by six 3–5-year-old participants under specific conditions functioned to convert a small plastic disc or, for one participant, a small piece of string, from a nonreinforcer to a reinforcer. Prior to the observational procedure, we compared each participant’s responding on (a) previously acquired performance tasks in which the child received either a preferred food item or the disc (string) for correct responses, and (b) the acquisition of new repertoires in which the disc (string) was the consequence for correct responses. Verbal corrections followed incorrect responses in the latter tasks. The results showed that discs and strings did not reinforce correct responses in the performance tasks, but the food items did; nor did the discs and strings reinforce correct responses in learning new repertoires. We then introduced the peer observation condition in which participants engaged in a different performance task in the presence of a peer who also performed the task. A partition blocked the participants from seeing the peers’ performance. However, participants could observe peers receiving discs or strings. Participants did not receive discs or strings regardless of their performance. Peer observation continued until the participants either requested discs or strings repeatedly, or attempted to take discs or strings from the peers. Following the peer observation condition, the same performance and acquisition tasks in which participants had engaged prior to observation were repeated. The results showed that the discs and strings now reinforced correct responding for both performance and acquisition for all participants. We discuss the results with reference to research involving nonhuman subjects that demonstrated the observational conditioning of reinforcers. 

 

Greer, R. D. & Yuan, L. (2008). How kids learn to say the darnedest things; The effects of multiple exemplar instruction on novel verb usage. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 24, 103-121.

Abstract

We report experiments using time-lagged pre- and postintervention designs with (a) 4 first graders with learning delays, and (b) a systematic replication with 3 preschoolers with learning delays. Both experiments tested the effects of multiple exemplar instructional procedures (MEI) on the emergence of untaught past tense emission of novel regular verbs (e.g., jumped derived from jump) and grammatically inaccurate but experimentally correct usage of irregular verbs (e.g., singed derived fromsing). Prior to the MEI, none of the children could produce regular or irregular past tense forms to pictures that provided simulated contexts (pictures with backgrounds for past and present tense). MEI provided across the picture contexts for past and present tense used separate training sets of verbs to teach children to form regular past tense. After either 1 or 2 MEI training sets, the children emitted accurate past tense forms of the untaught regular and inaccurate, but experimentally correct irregular verbs. These findings provided an instructional history that resulted in the children's acquisition of past tense for untaught regular past tense verbs and “creative” errors with irregular tenses. Results are discussed in terms of the research on experimentally induced sources for novel verbal behavior and related interpretations

Tsiouri, I., & Greer, R. D. (2007). The Role of Different Social Reinforcement Contingencies in Inducing Echoic Tacts through Motor Imitation Responding in Children with Severe Language Delays.  Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral interventions, 3 (4), 629-647. 

Abstract

The study investigated the role of social reinforcement, when teaching two preschoolers with no functional vocal verbal behavior first instances of echoic responses, using rapid motor imitation responding. The dependent variables for the experiment were: (1) echoic tacts (echoics presented under the controlling variables of tacts) and (2) generalized motor imitation responses to the rapid motor imitation antecedent procedure (Ross & Greer, 2003; Tsiouri & Greer, 2003). Three single case reversal experimental designs were implemented, counterbalanced across two conditions: (1) delivery of praise and social reinforcement contingently upon only correct rapid motor imitation and echoic responses and (2) delivery of generalized social interaction on a fixed time schedule without extinction of correct echoic responses. Results showed that the number of echoics significantly increased during the contingent social reinforcement condition, when compared with the fixed time delivery condition, during which data consistently remained at a lower level, while motor imitation responding remained at high levels during both experimental conditions. These findings are discussed in terms of: a) whether motor imitation and vocal verbal imitation comprise two different response classes controlled by different setting events, yet may be joined as higher order operant by the procedure used and b) the importance of social reinforcement, when teaching first instances of echoic tacts, through rapid motor imitation responding. 

Fiorile, C. A. & Greer, R. D. (2007). The Induction of Naming in Children with No Prior Tact Responses as a Function of Multiple Exemplar Histories of Instruction. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 23, 71-88.

Abstract

The phenomenon identified as naming is a key stage of language function that is missing in many children with autism and other language delay diagnoses. We identified four children with autism, who, prior to the implementation of this experiment, did not have the naming repertoire (either speaker to listener or listener to speaker) and who had no tact responses for two- or three-dimensional stimuli. Tact training alone did not result in a naming repertoire or echoic-to-tact responses for these students. We then provided multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) across speaker and listener repertoires for a subset of stimuli (the teaching set) that resulted in untaught response components of naming and the capability to acquire naming after learning tacts for subsequent sets of stimuli. We used a delayed multiple-baseline probe design with stimuli counterbalanced across participants. The results showed that for all four students, mastery of tacts alone (the baseline or initial training condition) was not sufficient for the naming or echoic-to-tact repertoires to emerge. Following MEI the naming repertoire emerged for all four students for the initial set of stimuli. In addition, we tested for naming with novel stimuli that were probed prior to the MEI and naming also emerged following tact instruction alone for these sets. The results are discussed in terms of the role of naming in the incidental acquisition of verbal functions as part of the speaker-as-own-listener repertoire.

Greer, R. D. (September 2007). Teaching as a Specialization in Applied Behavior: What we Have Learned in 26 Years of CABAS®. Newsletter of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Abstract

Teaching as applied behavior analysis allows behavior analyst teachers to design optimum education rather than fix the problems that accrue from bad educational design, poverty, and native disabilities—after all this is what Skinner (1968) set out to do. As scientists-educators we can be more cost effective by functioning in the role of designing good practice than functioning in the role of fixing the effects of bad practice— running our own educational systems allowed us to do that.  

 

Speckman-Collins, J., Park, H. S., & Greer, R. D. (2007). Generalized selection-based auditory matching and the emergence of the listener component of naming. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention, 4 (2), 412-429.

Abstract

We tested the effects of teaching an auditory match to sample repertoire on the emergence of the listener half of the verbal developmental cusp of Naming for 2-preschool students with language-based disabilities. The study was conducted in a special education CABAS® preschool. Neither of the students had selection or discrimination responses, the listener component of Naming, following mastery of match to sample programs for two-dimensional visual stimuli while hearing the tact as they matched. We taught the students to match same sounds and same words using BIGMac® buttons, and then tested the effects of mastery of these skills on the emergence of the listener component of Naming. A time-lagged multiple probe design across students was employed to determine if there was a functional relation between the acquisition of auditory matching and the emergence of the listener component of naming. The results showed that for these two students, the acquisition of an auditory matching repertoire was functionally related to the emergence of the listener component of Naming. We also report data on the participants’ echoic responses to stimuli as well as emergent tact responses (the speaker component of Naming). 

Delgado, J. P. & Oblak, M. (2007). The Effects of daily tact instruction on the emission of pure mands and tacts in non-instructional settings by three preschool children with developmental delays. Journal of Early Intensive Behavioral Interventions, 4(2), 392-41.

Abstract

We tested the effects of an intensive tact instruction procedure on the emission of verbal operants in non-instructional settings by three preschool students with developmental delays. The participants were selected because they emitted low numbers pure verbal operants in non-instructional settings throughout the school day. Specifically, we measured the number of pure mands and tacts emitted during probes in the non-instructional settings. During the intensive tact procedure, the participants received an additional 100 tacts above their average number of daily learn units. In a delayed multiple probe design, we found that the intensive tact instruction was effective in increasing the number of pure mands and tacts emitted in the non-instructional settings by all three of the participants in the study. 

Greer, R. D., Stolfi, L., & Pistoljevic, N. (2007). Emergence of Naming in preschoolers: A comparison of multiple and single exemplar instruction. European Journal of Behavior Analysis. 8, 119-131.

Abstract

Several reports have demonstrated the emergence of the Naming capability as a function of multiple exemplar instructions (MEI). We compared singular exemplar instruction (SEI) and (MEI) on emer- gence of untaught listener and speaker responses (Naming) by preschool children who were missing Naming using combined experimental-control group and nested single-case multiple probe designs. We taught training sets of pictures using MEI to 4-participants and the same sets using SEI to another 4-participants with numbers of instructional presentations for SEI participants matched to the MEI participants. Naming emerged for the MEI group but did not for the SEI group. Subsequently, the SEI participants received MEI and Naming emerged. Instructional histories that involve the rotation of speaker listener responding appear to predict the emergence of Naming. We discuss the findings in terms of the relation of the MEI as the source of Naming as a higher order operant and whether or not Naming is a relational frame. 

Pistoljevic, N. and Greer, R. D. (2006). The Effects of Daily Intensive Tact Instruction on Preschool Students Emission of Pure Tacts and Mands in Non-Instructional Setting. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions, 103-120.

Abstract

We tested the effects of an intensive tact instruction procedure on numbers of tacts emitted in non-instructional settings (NIS) using a multiple probe design across 3participants (3and 4-year old boys with autism). The dependent variable was tacts emitted in NIS before/after the mastery of sets of 5 different stimuli. The non-instructional settings included the toy area of the classroom, lunchtime, and the school hallway during transition. All probe sessions were conducted daily for a cumulative 15 minutes, 5 minutes in each NIS. Intensive instruction involved increasing the tact instructions to 100-tact learn units above the daily learn units students were receiving daily. The intervention increased vocal verbal operants (tacts and mands) emitted by the target students in NIS. 

Longano, J. & Greer, R. D. (2006). The effects of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure on the acquisition of conditioned reinforcement for observing and manipulating stimuli by young children with autism. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Interventions, 3.1,135-150.

Abstract

In 2 multiple baseline experiments, we tested stimulus-stimulus pairing effects on acquisition of conditioned reinforcement for observing and manipulating stimuli and stereotypy/ passivity. In Experiment I we studied a 5 year-old male with autism and we collected data using continuous 5-sec whole interval recording in 5 min sessions in which the student emitted appropriate play, and partial intervals of stereotypy, or passivity. Experiment 2 tested the effects of same procedure on independent work by 2 male participants with autism. The dependent variables were: intervals in which students worked independently, percentage of correct responses, and worksheet completion. Results from both experiments showed significant increases in numbers of intervals students emitted the target behaviors and decreases in stereotypy and passivity.

Tsai, H. & Greer, R. D. (2006). Conditioned preference for books and faster acquisition of textual responses by preschool children. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions.3.1, 35-60.

Abstract

We report an experiment investigating the effects of conditioning books as reinforcers for observing responses on the learning of textual responses by pre-school children. The independent variable was the acquisition of conditioned reinforcement of observing responses and choice of book stimuli in free play settings where children could choose to play with toys or look at books. Prior to the conditioning procedures, the children played with toys and did not look at books in free time in 4 preconditioning 5- minute free-play sessions. During the treatment we conducted simultaneous stimulus conditioning procedures until looking at books became the preferred free-play activity. The dependent variable consisted of the numbers of learn -units -to mastery of textual responses before and after conditioning books as reinforcers for observing responses. Three boys and one girl (ages 2 years and 9 months to 4 years) participated in the experiment in a pre and post learn-units-to-criterion and simultaneous matched-pairs design with a time-lagged component. Prior to reinforcement conditioning, we matched children in pairs based on learn units they required to master a sets of 5 counterbalanced word sets. One child in each of 2 pairs received book conditioning initially, and another child received an equal number of conditioning trials with toys, as a control conditions, and then book conditioning. The results showed that (1) all four children required fewer learn-units-to-criterion on textual responses after books were conditioned as reinforcers for choice and observing and those who received the book conditioning first performed best. (2) Three of the four children maintained preference for books at 33%, 83%, and 100% of time in free play probes at 1 month. (3) There were no maintenance effects on accuracy of textual responding.

Greer, R. D. (2006). Summary and Commentary on D. and S. Premacks Original Intelligence. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 22, 111-118.

Summary

Some evolutionary cognitive and developmental psychologists propose that the human mind consists of domain-specific modules. These are characterized as self-contained “mini-computers” that process information of a certain kind. Although, according to my reading, much of the extant human brain research does not necessarily support the module view (Greenwald, 1997), still module theories continue to occupy center stage in cognitive developmental and comparative psychology. One would think that neuroscience, as a study of the behavior beneath the skin, would simply replace cognitive psychology. But, perhaps I missed the value of the psychological construct.

In their book, the Premacks set out to provide a synthesis of evidence from various fields in order to identify what they characterize as “original intelligence.” Their synthesis is derived from their reading of findings in comparative psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, anthropology and other “life sciences.” All of the evidence and theory from psychology from which they draw their evidence comes from the cognitive perspective including their own contributions to that research. For them, original intelligence includes certain phylogenetic and ontogenetic contributions that they identify asexpectancies, capabilities that are present or not present in certain species including humans. These capabilities include inherited expectancies, derived from natural selection; and expectancies derived from experience and its interaction with inherited expectancies.

Infants have inherited expectancies not only about how physical bodies “act,” but also about psychological and biological objects, about language, number, spatial navigation, and music. Indeed, infants have inherited expectancies in all the domains into which human problem solving can be divided. These expectancies are an integral part of the infant's modules. (p. 17)

 

The authors define modules as “innate devices that guide the infant's learning in all domains that are basic to human knowledge” (p.18). However, they point out that not all learning is “domain specific”; some is domain generic, i.e. not tied to specific modules. The domain specific modules include the physical, psychological, biological, number, space, and music modules. They argue that these are separate capabilities and that some are uniquely human. They draw on evidence from anthropology, brain research, and cognitive developmental and comparative psychology, not surprisingly, excluding research in behavior analysis and behavioral biology.

 

Bahadourian , A. J., Tam, K. Y, Greer, R. D. & Rousseau, M. K. (2006). The effects of learn units on the student performance in two college courses. International Journal of Behavioral and Consultation Therapy. 2 (2), 246-265. 

Abstract

We report an experiment examining the academic performance of undergraduate students in two special education college courses. The experimenter/professor taught both courses in which he presented curriculum material via written learn units (LUs) (Greer & Hogin, 1999) or in a lecture format across randomly selected weeks in a 12-week semester. There were a total of 20 students (11 in the Emotional Disturbance course, 9 in the ABA course) primarily juniors and seniors majoring in special education ranging in age from 20 to 48.

The independent variable consisted of a series of written LUs presented to students in the form of guided notes that were scripted in logical sequence (based upon textbook material). LUs were defined as a series of meshed or interlocking 3-term contingencies 1 for the student and at least 2 for the professor arranged through scripted curricula. During the LU condition, the professor (1) read a phrase or question from the guided notes (with blank lines) that were distributed to students, (2) discussed the phrase or question, (3) exposed the phrase/question and its corresponding answer on the overhead, (4) provided an opportunity for all students to respond by writing/copying the answer, and (5) then immediately consequated their answers by checking their accurate completion of the blank line. During the lecture condition, the professor lectured (from the material obtained from the textbook chapter) without providing any written LUs. The dependent variable was student grade achievement on weekly short answer essay exams.

Interobserver agreement for independent scoring of the dependent variable for the ABA exams was 97%. Interobserver agreement for independent scoring of the dependent variable for the ED exams was 95%. The mean percentage of procedural integrity for the ABA course was 88% ranging from 83% to 100%. The mean percentage of procedural integrity for the ED course was 100%.

In the ABA course, the mean percentage correct on exams was 83% during the LU class sessions and 68% during the lecture sessions. In the ED course, the mean percentage correct on exams was 84% during LU class sessions and 74% during lecture sessions. Social validity measures indicated high student satisfaction with the learn unit instructional procedure. These results were discussed in terms of the potential utility of the learn unit as a microanalytic measure of both teaching and learning particularly for subject matter in higher education containing specificity in terminology (i.e., factual and scientific content).

Reilly-Lawson, T. and Greer, R. D. (2006). Teaching the Function of Writing to Middle School Students with Academic Delays. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions, 151-169. 

Abstract

Using multiple baseline designs, we studied the effects of having seven 9th graders edit their papers until a naïve reader accomplished a drawing assignment during writer immersion (communication in writing only). During Experiment I, students received no feedback in the first phase, teacher editing feedback in phase 2, and writer immersion plus viewing the effects of their writing on a naïve reader in phase 3. In Experiment II, students received the baseline followed by writer immersion and viewing effects on a reader. The dependent variables in both experiments were the structural components of the writing and accurately drawn components by a naïve reader. The writer immersion and self-editing package increased accuracy in structure and function in both experiments.

 

Schauffler, G. and Greer, R. D. (2006). The Effects of Intensive Tact Instruction on Audience-Accurate Tacts and Conversational Units and Conversational Units. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions, 120-132. 

Abstract

We examined the effects of intensive tact instruction on emission of audience-accurate verbalizations of 2 middle school students using a delayed multiple baseline design across participants. Dependent variables were accurate and inaccurate audience controlled tacts and conversational units during non-instructional times. Following baselines, students were taught tact sets of 5-novel stimuli. The instruction consisted of teaching 100 tact learn units daily until students met criterion on 10 sets of 5 tact stimuli. Students significantly increased audience-accurate tacts, conversational units, and inaccurate tacts/conversational units decreased for one student. We discuss the role of tact repertories on audience relevant verbalizations by students with histories of low preschool language interactions with parents. 

Greer, R. D., Singer-Dudek, J, & Gautreaux, G. (2006). Observational learning. International Journal of Psychology, 41 (6),486-489.

Abstract

Inconsistencies in the use of terms such as “modelling,” “copying,” “imitation,” and “observational learning” impede progress in studies of natural, behavioural, and cultural selection. Recent evidence suggests distinctions between the effects of observation on: (a) emission of previously acquired repertoires, (b) acquisition of new repertoires, (c) acquisition of conditioned reinforcers, and (d) acquisition of observational learning as a new repertoire. Prior research failed to identify whether changes in behaviour after observation constituted learning because tests were not done for the presence or absence of the repertoires prior to observation. Changing one's queue because of the potential of receiving faster service constitutes a performance task and is quite different from learning a language by observation. We describe new investigations reporting procedures leading to: acquisition of observational learning, acquisition of operants and higher‐order operants by observation, and the acquisition of conditioned reinforcers as a function of observation. The conditioned reinforcement effects after observation are related to the “copying” effects on reversal of sexual selection in some species. An observational effect on performance constitutes a different function from learning new repertoires. Acquiring new reinforcers is still another function. We propose empirically derived distinctions between these that are important in the analyses of the roles of natural selection, behavioural selection, and cultural selection in adaptation, changes in performance, learning, and the spread of cultural practices.

Greer, R. D., Stolfi, L., Chavez-Brown, M., & Rivera-Valdez, C. (2005). The emergence of the listener to speaker component of naming in children as a function of multiple exemplar instruction. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 21, 123-134.

Abstract

We tested the effect of multiple exemplar instruction on the transfer of stimulus function for unfamiliar pictures across listener responses (i.e., matching and pointing) and speaker responses (i.e., pure tacts and impure tacts). Three preschool students, who were 3- and 4-year-old males and did not have the listener to speaker component of the naming repertoire, participated in the experiment. The dependent variable was numbers of correct responses to probe trials of both untaught listener responses (“point to__”) and speaker responses (tact and impure tacts) following mastery of matching responses for two sets of five unfamiliar pictures (Set 1 and Set 3). After each participant mastered matching (e.g., “match Labrador”) for Set 1 pictures they were probed on the three untaught responses to Set 1 words. That is, they were asked to point to Labrador, tact the picture of Labrador, and respond to the picture of a Labrador and the question “What is this?” Next, the participants were taught mastery of all four types of responses using MEI for a second set of five pictures (Set 2) and probed again on the 3 untaught Set 1 responses. Finally, matching responses were taught to mastery for a novel set of pictures (Set 3) and then probed on the three untaught responses. The results showed that untaught speaker responses emerged at 60% to 85% for two participants, and 40%–70% for one participant. We discuss the role of instructional history in the development of the listener to speaker component of naming.

Karmali, I., Greer, R. D., Nuzzolo-Gomez, R., Ross, D. E., & Rivera-Valdes, C. Reducing Palilalia by Presenting Tact Corrections to Young Children with Autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 21, 145-154.

Abstract

Palilalia, the delayed repetition of words or phrases, occurs frequently among individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. The current study used a combined multiple baseline and reversal design to investigate the effectiveness of presenting tacts as corrections for palilalia. During baseline, five preschoolers with autism emitted high rates of palilalia and low rates of mands and tacts during play and instructional activities. During treatment, when experimenters presented opportunities to echoically tact actions and objects following the emission of palilalia, its frequency decreased to low and stable levels and mands and tacts increased. Functional relationships between the tact corrections and emissions of palilalia, mands, and tacts were established during reversals to baseline and treatment conditions. Similar trends in responding were found for frequency of palilalia, mands, and tacts in non-treatment settings.

Greer, R. D., Yuan, L. & Gautreaux, G. (2005). Novel dictation and intraverbal responses as a function of a multiple exemplar history. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 21, 99-116.

Abstract

We tested the effect of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) on acquisition of joint spelling responses, vocal to written and vice versa, for three sets of five words by four kindergarteners with language delays using a delayed multiple probe design. First, students were taught to spell Set 1 as either vocal or written responses (two vocal and two written) and probed on untaught responses. Next students were taught Set 2 using MEI (i.e., alternating responses) and again probed untaught responses for Set 1. Finally, Set 3 was taught in a single response and students were probed on untaught responses. Two students spelled none of Set 1 untaught responses before MEI, while two spelled the words at 60% accuracy or 10% accuracy. After MEI on Set 2, all students spelled untaught responses for Set 1 at 80% to 100% accuracy and Set 3 at 80% to 100% accuracy. The MEI resulted in joint stimulus function such that formerly independent responses came under the same stimulus control. We replicated these results with four other kindergartners with autism who performed academically above their typically developing peers. The results are discussed in terms of Skinner's treatment of the independence of the two verbal operants.

Greer, R. D., Chavez-Brown, M.. Nirgudkar, A. S., Stolfi, L., & Rivera-Valdes, C. (2005). Acquisition of fluent listener responses and the educational advancement of young children with autism and severe language delays. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 6 (2), 88-126.

Abstract

We investigated the effects of a “listener emersion” procedure on pre and post numbers of weekly instructional trials (learn units) required to meet instructional objectives in all curricular programs for 8 children with autism (3 and 4 years old) using a multiple probe design across participants. The students had few or no functional verbal repertoires (speech or alternative forms) and their teachers were having difficulty achieving instructional objectives for matching, basic discriminations, and instructional control learning with the students. The dependent variable was the weekly numbers of learn units the students required to achieve instructional objectives in all curricular programs 1 week before, and 2 weeks after the listener emersion. All curricular programs were suspended dur- ing the implementation of listener emersion and the students were required to master several sets of listener responses such that the responses could only be controlled by the auditory components of teachers’ audio-taped speech, first to a mastery criterion without a rate requirement and then to mastery with rate of responding criterion. Following listener emersion the students required from one half to ten times fewer learn units to achieve objectives. 

Keohane, D, & Greer, R. D. (2005). Teachers use of verbally governed algorithm and student learning. Journal of Behavioral and Consultation Therapy, 1 (3), 249-259.

Abstract

The effects of instructing teachers in the use of a verbally governed algorithm to solve students’ learning problems were measured. The teachers were taught to analyze students’ responses to instruction using a strategic protocol, which included a series of verbally governed questions. The study was designed to determine whether the instructional method would affect the number of verbally governed decisions which the teachers made as well as the number of academic objectives achieved by the teachers’ students. A multiple baseline design across three teachers and six students was used to measure the effectiveness of the instructional procedures. The results indicated that the teachers’ students achieved significantly more learning objectives when they used a verbally governed algorithm to solve instructional problems. 

Ross, D. E., Singer-Dudek, J. & Greer, R. D. (2005). The teacher performance rate accuracy scale (TPRA): Training as evaluation. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 40 (4), 411-423.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the Teacher Performance Rate and Accuracy Scale (TPRA) which is a method of direct teacher observation used in the teacher evaluation and training component of the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling (CABAS®) model of schooling. The TPRA builds on the concept of academic engaged time (a measure frequently employed during ecobehavioral assessment) by counting the presence or absence of learn units (interlocking three-term contingencies for both students and teachers) during instruction. Implementation procedures for the TPRA, its application for identification and analysis of instructional problems, and its use for training and ongoing evaluation of teachers are presented and discussed. 

Greer, R. D. & Keohane, D. D. (2005). The evolution of verbal behavior in young children. Behavioral Development Bulletin, 1, 31-48. Reprinted in 2006 in theSpeech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 1 (2), 111-141.

Abstract

There is a growing evidence of a developmental trajectory for key verbal capabilirties. The evidence comes from research guided by Skinner's (1957) theory of verbal behavior and the accomplishment of schools based entirely on scientific practices. The broad verbal developmental fractures include: listener, speaker, speaker-listener exchanges with others, speaker as own listener (self-talk conversational units and naming), reader, writer, writer as own reader, and advanced verbal mediation. Many of the capabilities, and their subcomponents identified in the research, are higher order operants or relational frames. Our research first identified missing verbal capabilities in children, which, in turn, led to the identification and induction of pre- and co-requisite repertoires. Once the missing verbal capabilities were induced in children who had been missing them, the children subsequently acquired repertoires that had not been possible for us to teacher previously. We speculate on the relation of these capabilities or fractures in verbal function to linguistic neuroscientific, cogniftie and anthropological suppositions concerned with the evolution of language function in the indvidual's lifespace, as well as, the evolution of verbal function in the species.

Singer-Dudek, J. & Greer, R.D. (2005). A long-term analysis of the relationship between fluency and the training and maintenance of complex math skills. The Psychological Record, 55, 361-376.

Abstract

In 2 experiments, each involving different mathematical operations, we compared 2 training procedures for teaching component math skills in terms of their effects on the learning and long-term maintenance of composite skills. The dependent variables were learn units to composite task mastery and performance on the composite task 2 months later. The independent variables were instruction in math facts under (a) fluency and (b) mastery conditions. The experiments used a simultaneous treatment design in which the students were selected for participation according to prerequisite skills and instructional histories and randomly assigned to receive 1 of the 2 training procedures. Four adolescents with developmental disabilities participated in each experiment. Instructional presentations were controlled by yoked learn units during component skill instruction. Results showed that fluency instruction did not result in fewer learn units to criterion on the composite task. However, 2 months later, the fluent students performed between 83% and 100% correct on the composite task, while the mastery students performed between 17% and 83% correct. The data are discussed in terms of fluency theory and educational practice.

Greer, R. D., & Ross, D. E. (2004). Verbal Behavior Analysis: A Program of Research in the Induction and Expansion of Complex Verbal Behavior. Journal of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention. 1 (2). 141-165. 

Abstract

Both applied and conceptual experiments based on Skinner’s theory of verbal behavior have led to significant benefits for: (a) persons with language disorders and delays, (b) students who need to bridge the achievement gap, (c) professionals who work with students, and (d) individuals who wish to design functional curricula and pedagogy to meet international educational standards. In our efforts to develop schools that provided an evidence-based education that was comprehensive in scope, we needed to address complex curricular goals that could be addressed scientifically only by drawing on Skinner’s theory. This need then led to the conduct of over 40 experiments on Skinner’s theory leading to procedures that filled many of the gaps needed to provide a total educational experience based entirely on scientifically derived procedures and curricula. We discuss the individual and cumulative findings of this research program (from dissertations, published papers, and papers in the publication process) including procedures for individuals for whom existing procedures were not effective. Procedures were identified for: (a) inducing speech and communicative functions for persons with autism and developmental disabilities, (b) replacing faulty speech with effective communication, (c) teaching self-editing and self-management repertoires for functionally effective writing, and (d) teaching complex problem solving repertoires to professionals such that stronger treatment and educational outcomes resulted for a variety of learners. Finally, we describe how these findings and recent research in multiple exemplar instructional histories suggest procedures for teaching generative forms and functions of verbal behavior building on Skinner’s work and the role of multiple exemplar instructional histories.

Greer, R. D., Keohane, D., Healey, O. (2002). Quality and comprehensive applications of behavior analysis to schooling.The Behavior Analyst Today, 3 (2), 120-132. 

Abstract

We describe the CABAS® system for developing and maintaining quality in schools that provide a system-wide application of behavior analysis to all of the components of education for teaching the entire curriculum to students. The system has accrued an extensive database for developing and maintaining quality applications. We outline some of those components including: minimal standards of teaching as applied behavior analysis, curricula for teachers and other professionals, research-based tools to train and monitor professionals, curriculum revisions for students occasioned by our research, CABAS and quality, an overview of the CABAS system. We also show data display examples from one of our schools in Ireland for children with autism and one of our middle schools for students with behavioral disorders, and the CABAS approach to monitoring and accrediting CABAS schools and professionals. Finally, we provide references for our research-based tools for other providers of behavior analytic services. 

Greer, R. D., & Hogin-McDonough, S. (1999). Is the learn unit the fundamental unit of pedagogy? The Behavior Analyst, 20, 5-16.

Abstract

We propose a measure of teaching, the learn unit, that explicitly describes the interaction between teachers and their students. The theoretical, educational research, and applied behavior analysis literatures all converge on the learn unit as a fundamental measure of teaching. The theoretical literature proposes the construct of the interlocking operant and embraces verbal behavior, social interaction, and translations of psychological constructs into complex theoretical respondent-operant interactions and behavior-behavior relations. Research findings in education and applied behavior analysis on engaged academic time, opportunity to respond, active student responding, teacher-student responding, student-teacher responding, tutor-tutee responding, tutee-tutor responding, and verbal episodes between individuals all support a measure of interlocking responses. More recently, research analyzing the components of both the students' and teachers' behavior suggests that the learn unit is the strongest predictor of effective teaching. Finally, we propose applications of the learn unit to other issues in pedagogy not yet researched and the relation of learn units to the verbal behavior of students.

Greer, R. D. (1998). Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling (CABAS). In Howard Sloane (Ed.), What works in education? Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. (Reprinted in Behavior and Social Issues, 1998).

Abstract

Using a university-based training model, CABAS provides teacher training, supervisory support and administrative support to implement a system or school-wide program for students with various disabilities including visual impairment, mild to profound mental retardation, autism, learning disabilities, and emotional disturbances and has also been used to mainstream students. CABAS-trained teachers provide academic instruction and classroom behavior management based on a combination of technologies developed through scientific research in applied behavior analysis. These technologies include Direct Instruction, Precision Teaching, and PSI (Personalized System of Instruction) for staff and parent training. Instruction is individualized and based on measurable objectives. Supervisors provide teacher training and assist with data collect in the classroom. Teaching is adjusted as needed based on student performance. In a range of studies over 15 years, CABAS students made greater gains than non-CABAS students with smaller special education placement and significant cost reductions.

Greer, R. D. (1994). A systems analysis of the behaviors of schooling. Journal of Behavioral Education, 4, 255-264. (This article is also being translated into Spanish for a chapter in a forthcoming book on scientific psychology to be published in Spain.)

Abstract

Thus, the existing nonsystematic system, and the various vested interests associated with it, targets groups of students rather than individuals. Prior to the advent of a science of schooling, the tutorial approach associated with the privileged or ruling classes did not seem feasible for educating the masses, simply because there was no adequate science of behavior for the individual. Even after that science showed promise for pedagogy, there was still no systems-wide science for applying what was known to groups and organizations in which the individual was pivotal. In order to determine whether behavioral conceptions of schooling work on a larger scale, we must experimentally test whether or not thoroughgoing applications are feasible to educate the masses individually. Findings from 8this research can be used to design and modify systems of schooling that are measurably effective, workable year in and year out, automatically self-correcting, and beneficial to all of the parties involved. CABAS has demonstrated how such a system can work on a small scale; other attempts may show us how to make a large scale system work. We have not yet seen what man can make of man (Skinner, 1971, p. 215).

Axelrod, S., & Greer, R. D. (1994). Cooperative learning revisted. Journal of Behavioral Education, 4, 41-48.

Abstracts

The endeavor to teach academic skills known as cooperative learningis of interest to behavioral educators due to its record of effectiveness, its use of behavioral procedures, and its relatively widespread adoption by regular educators. All forms of cooperative learning emphasize operations that encourage students to work together to achieve commonly held goals rather than competing with or ignoring the efforts of others. Despite the apparent soundness of the approach, the present commentary raises several issues. First, it states that some cooperative learning proponents fail to describe the behavioral processes underlying the approach. Second, it is pointed out that it is unclear whether cooperative learning is an independent or dependent variable. Given that cooperative learning applies group contingencies to academic behavior, the question is raised as to whether group contingencies do, in fact, produce desirable social interactions, and whether group contingencies are appropriate for academic behaviors. A concern is also raised as to whether the spontaneous peer tutoring generated by cooperative learning compares favorably with planned peer tutoring. Finally, it is claimed that the minor variations from academic group contingencies that cooperative learning proponents have introduced do not require identifying a new process.

 

Greer, R. D. (1992). L'Enfant terrible meets the educational crisis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25, 65-69.

Abstract

The results [of applications of behavior analysis to education] are interesting but are akin to those produced by an infant who acquires a hammer and then discovers that everything in the environment needs hammering (Brophy, 1983, p. 11)

Brophy's statement was part of a rebutal to a paper published in the Educational Researcher over 8 years ago (Greer, 1983). In that paper, I made four claims: (a)There was a science of pedagogy based on a science of behavior, (b) the results of behavior analysis had been more fruitful in producing a science of pedagogy than had educational research, (c) this diference in results was due to the characteristic scientific practices used by each group, and (d) educational researchers had been remiss in ignoring the findings and epistemology of the science of behavior. I stated that there was a science and technology of pedagogy awaiting dissemination. 

Greer, R. D. (1991). The teacher as strategic scientist: A solution to our educational crisis? Behavior and Social Issues, 1, 25-41.

Abstract

The solution to the educational dilemma is tied necessarily to the ability of teachers to insure that their students achieve learning objectives that are germane to the survival of the culture and the species. The growing body of scientifically based practices necessary to eliminate the existing educational crisis is briefly outlined. It is argued that these practices can be implemented by teachers who function as strategic scientists. The science used by such teachers include research findings and teaching models incorporating that research (Precision Teaching, Direct Instruction, Programmed Instruction, Personalized System of Instruction). In order to train, support, and motivate the pervasive and sustained application of effective pedagogy by teachers who function as strategic scientists, behavior analysis must be applied to all components of schooling-students, parents, teachers, and supervisors. One model for doing so has developed over the last decade. Research studies and applications in six schools for handicapped children in this country and abroad suggest that this comprehensive application of behavior analysis to schooling (CABAS) is effective, efficient, and viable.

Greer, R. D.(1991). Teaching practice to save America's schools: The legacy of B. F. Skinner. Journal of Behavioral Education, 1, 159-164.

Abstract

The research and practices found in behavior analysis and the behavioral models of instruction suggest a common set of effective teaching practices. Implementation of these practices could save our schools. They have implications for the students, parents, teachers, and supervisors in our schools. They are presented herein as standards for effective pedagogy and schooling from the viewpoints of students, parents, teachers, and supervisors. Indeed, they may be the necessary ingredients for adequate schooling. All of these practices are feasible now, and all of the parties involved in schooling stand to benefit from their implementation!

Barrett, B., Beck, R. Binder, C., Cook, D. A., Engelmann, S, Greer, R. D., Kryklund, S. J., Johnson, K. R., Maloney, M., McCorkle, N., Vargas, J. S., & Watkins, C. L. (1991). The right to effective education. The Behavior Analyst, 14, 79-82

Abstract

Societies enable their members t olead productive and enjoy able lives by efectively educating their young. In most cases, schools are entrusted with a good portion of that teaching. Schools are charged not only with imparting specific skils that enable students to act knowledgeably insituations that may confront them long after formal schooling is over, but also with imparting ethical conduct and cultural values of long term benefit both to the individual and to the society as a whole. 

A good teacher or instructional system must satisfy at least three criteria: (1) It must be effective in helping students learn more rapidly than they would on their own (2) what students learn must benefit both the individual and society as a whole; and (3) it must employ positive rather than coercive or punitive methods. 

Because many of the opportunities open to a person hinge on educational accomplishment, the American goal of equal opportunity cannot be realized without effective schooling. Among the rights granted to American citizens should be right to an effective education.

Greer, R. D. (January, 1983). Straightening the nail: A rejoinder. Educational Researcher, pp. 13-14.

Abstract

Yes, the science and technology to which I referred does exist. But how can Brophy find out by reading an introductory text and one 10-year-old article? His frequent reading of relevant journals has a 10-year interresponse time. My references included over 40 re­ports of experiments, reviews of literature, data-based curricula, and related theoretical writings. He addressed none of these. Am I to believe that the two studies to which he referred constitute a re­buttal?...

Greer, R. D. (January, 1983). Contingencies of the science and technology of teaching and prebehavioristic research practices in education. Educational Researcher, 12, pp. 3-9.

Abstract

There is an existing technology of instruction derived from the sci­ ence of behavior. This assertion is certain to provoke shock and skepticism from the majority of educa­tional researchers who learned their methodology from social scientists. Educational researchers admit that they are discouraged with the results of over 20 years of research using their brand of sci­ ence and they assume apparently that theirs is the only set of scien­tific practices. 

 

Greer, R. D.  (1982). Countercontrols for the american educational research association. The Behavior Analyst, 5, 65-76.

Abstract

Publications of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) maintain that years of research in education have failed to produce a useful technology for teachers. Little is said to be known about teaching children beyond the potential of new findings such as mastery learning, time on task, and features of an appropriate school climate. These latter conclusions are in stark contrast to the large body of useful findings in the behavior analysis literature. Several possible reasons are discussed for the discrepancy in views between behavior analysts and educational researchers. The lack of acknowledgement of behavior analysis is viewed as a serious problem because of the control that the educational research establishment exerts over federal funding of research and the training of teachers. There is a growing use of some of the aspects of behavior analysis by educational researchers; however, the derivation is not acknowledged and there is little enlightenment about radical behaviorism. It is suggested that ABA should countercontrol the influence of AERA by incorporating doctoral students in educational research as students of behavior analysis, teaching the complexity of behaviorism, teaching the positions of the opposing camp to behavior analysis students. ABA can take an aggressive role in countercontrolling AERA by forming committees to insure (a) quality of treatment, (b) funding representation in government, (c) protection and qualified review of untenured behavior analysts, (d) expansion of certification.

Greer, R. D. (1981). A review of Psychological foundations of musical behavior. Journal of Research in Music Education, 29(1) , 71-72.