Using Stimulus Equivalence-Based Instruction to Teach Graduate Students in Applied Behavior Analysis to Interpret Operant Functions of Behavior
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Stimulus equivalence-based instruction (EBI) was used to teach four, 4-member classes representing functions of behavior to ten graduate students. The classes represented behavior maintained by attention (Class 1), escape (Class 2), access to tangibles (Class 3), and automatic reinforcement (Class 4). Stimuli within each class consisted of a single textual label, and multiple exemplars of textual descriptions, graphical representations, and clinical vignettes. EBI was conducted using custom computer software in a match-to-sample (MTS) format. A pretest-train-posttest design conducted during a single session evaluated performances on computer MTS, written multiple-choice, and oral tests. Scores improved from pretests to posttests on all three tests for all students following EBI. In addition, class-consistent performances maintained 2 weeks after posttests were conducted. These results demonstrated that EBI can be used to effectively teach the functions of behavior and that a MTS teaching protocol administered on a computer can promote the emergence of class-consistent responding to selection-based (i.e., multiple-choice) and topography-based (i.e., oral) tests.
KeywordsStimulus equivalence instruction Functional analysis Multiple exemplar training Derived stimulus relations College instruction
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