The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 113–133 | Cite as

The Effect of a Mediation-Blocking Task on the Acquisition of Instructive Feedback Targets

  • Amelia Dressel
  • Katie NicholsonEmail author
  • Kristin M. Albert
  • Victoria M. Ryan
Research Article


The inclusion of instructive feedback in discrete-trial training has been shown to increase the efficiency of learning. However, the behavioral mechanism underlying the effectiveness of this procedure has not yet been determined. Researchers have suggested that learners covertly self-echo the feedback, which mediates later responding. The present study sought to understand the role of self-echoics in the acquisition of untaught targets. Participants were directly taught to tact pictures, then given instructive feedback after the praise statement. The 3 experimental conditions were (a) a typical instructive feedback procedure; (b) a vocal mediation-blocking procedure, in which the participants were asked to engage in a competing vocal response immediately after the instructive feedback; and (c) a motor-distraction procedure, in which the participants were asked to engage in a motor response immediately after the instructive feedback. The inclusion of the vocal mediation-blocking task had little effect on the participants’ ability to learn the instructive feedback targets for all 3 participants.


instructive feedback mediation mediation blocking generalized imitative repertoire behavioral mechanism self-echoic 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This paper has not been previously published and has not been and will not be submitted elsewhere during the review process.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this research were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the Florida Institute of Technology and were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Behavior AnalysisFlorida Institute of Technology and the Scott Center for Autism TreatmentMelbourneUSA

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