The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 3–16 | Cite as

Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing and Subsequent Mand Acquisition of Children with Various Levels of Verbal Repertoires



Effects of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure on the subsequent acquisition of mand operants were investigated. An attempt was made to shape novel sounds that emerged through the pairing procedure into a mand. Six children, aged two to five years, with moderate to severe language and communication delays, participated. Two conditions were used following the pairing condition: postpairing and direct reinforcement. The emergence of mands was compared across these conditions. An additional analysis was made of the relation between participants’ baseline verbal repertoires and the effects of the pairing and the emergence of mands. Results indicate the possibility of stimulus control from a stimulus-stimulus pairing to mand as shown in two of the participants who had demonstrated high rates of vocal play and low to no verbal repertoire prior to this study. Target vocal sounds during postpairing and direct reinforcement condition remained at zero to low levels for participants with high verbal repertoire and little vocal play, warranting future studies on relations between the pre-existing verbal repertoire and the effectiveness of stimulus-stimulus pairing.

Key words

stimulus-stimulus pairing automatic reinforcement verbal repertoire vocal play mand acquisition overt vocalization severe language delays 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bijou, S. W., & Baer, D. M. (1965). Child development: Vol. 2. Universal stage of infancy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Esch, B. E., Carr, J. E., & Michael, J. (2005). Evaluating stimulus-stimulus pairing and direct reinforcement in the establishment of an echoic repertoire of children diagnosed with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 21, 43–58.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Kravitz, H., & Boehm, J. (1971). Rhythmic habit patterns in infancy: Their sequences, age of onset, and frequency. Child Development, 42, 399–413.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. McDonough, C., Shimizu, H., Bicard, D., & Yoon, S. (2004). Computer-based teaching procedure used to increase the vocal verbal behavior of young children with severe autism and related disorders. Paper presented at the 30th Annual Conference for Association for Behavior Analysis. Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  5. Miguel, C. F., Carr, J. E., & Michael, J. (2001/2002). The effects of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure on the vocal behavior of children diagnosed with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 18, 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Moerk, E. L. (1990). Three-term contingency patterns in mother-child verbal interactions during first-language acquisition. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 54, 293–305.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Moerk, E. L. (1983). A behavioral analysis of controversial topics in first language acquisition: Reinforcements, corrections, modeling, input frequencies, and the three term contingency. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 12, 129–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mowrer, O. H. (1954). The psychologist looks at language. American Psychology, 9, 660–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Nakazima, S. (1962). A comparative study of the speech developments of Japanese and American English in childhood. Study of Phonology, 2, 27–39.Google Scholar
  10. Palmer, D. C. (1996). Achieving parity: The role of automatic reinforcement. Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 65, 289–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Schlinger, H. D. (1995). A behavior analytic view of child development. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal Behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Smith, R., Michael, J., & Sundberg, M. L. (1996). Automatic reinforcement and automatic punishment in infant vocal behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 13, 39–48.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Sundberg, M. L., Michael, J., Partington, J. W., & Sundberg, C. A. (1996). The role of automatic reinforcement in early language acquisition. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 13, 21–37.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Vaughan, M. E., & Michael, J. L. (1982). Automatic reinforcement: An important but ignored concept. Behaviorism, 10, 217–227.Google Scholar
  16. Yoon, S. (1998). Effects of an adult’s vocal sound paired with a reinforcing event on the subsequent acquisition of mand functions. UMI Dissertation Services (UMI Number TX 4-872-654). A Bell & Howell Company. Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  17. Yoon, S., & Bennett, G.M. (2000). Effects of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure on conditioning vocal sounds as reinforcers. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 17, 75–88.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hawthorne Country Day SchoolHawthorneUSA
  2. 2.Shema Kolainu Hear Our VoicesUSA

Personalised recommendations