Teaching mands by manipulating conditioned establishing operations
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Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior suggests the functional independence of the verbal operants. However, only a few empirical studies have directly examined the nature of these operants, and their independence. The present study evaluated whether teaching topographies as tacts would lead to their emission as mands. The results indicated that manding only occurred reliably after direct mand training, which consisted of the use of imitative and tact prompts, and fading those prompts, to transfer stimulus control from nonverbal stimuli to conditioned establishing operations. The results contribute to the existing data on the functional independence of mands and tacts, as well as demonstrate the value of manipulating conditioned establishing operations for mand training.
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