The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 75–86 | Cite as

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Recent Verbal Behavior Research on Individuals with Disabilities: a Review and Implications for Research and Practice

  • Matthew T. Brodhead
  • Lillian Durán
  • Sarah E. Bloom
Conceptual Article


The number of individuals from various culture and language backgrounds who are receiving behavior-analytic services is growing. Therefore, a behavioral understanding of the role of cultural and linguistic diversity (CLD) in language acquisition may be warranted. We searched recent editions of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis to determine the degree to which researchers report the CLD of individuals with disabilities who participate in verbal behavior research. Our results indicate that researchers in these journals rarely report the culture and language background of their participants. Given these results, we provide a conceptual analysis and describe implications for research and clinical practice. A further understanding of the role of CLD may aid in the development of better behavioral interventions and culturally sensitive treatments. Finally, research that explores the role of CLD in language acquisition may add to the generality of behavior-analytic research and practice.


Language Verbal behavior Diversity The Analysis of Verbal Behavior Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 



The authors thank Hannah M. Brodhead and Joe Lambert for their help in developing the organizational structure of this paper.


  1. American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: AuthorGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnett, W. S., Yarosz, D. J., Thomas, J., Jung, K., & Blanco, D. (2007). Two way and monolingual English immersion in preschool education: an experimental comparison. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22, 277–293. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2007.03.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barrett, B. H., Beck, R., Binder, C., Cook, D. A., Engelmann, S., Greer, R. D., Kyrklund, S. J., Johnson, K. R., Maloney, M., McCorkle, N., Vargas, J. S., & Watkins, C. J. (1991). The right to effective education. Behav Anal, 14, 79–82.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Behavior Analysis Certification Board (2010). Behavior Analysis Certification Board guidelines for responsible conduct for behavior analysts. Retrieved from Accessed July 2012.
  5. Betz, A. M., Higbee, T. S., Kelley, K. N., Sellers, T. P., & Pollard, J. S. (2011). Increasing response variability of mand frames with script training and extinction. J Appl Behav Anal, 44, 357–362. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2011.44-357.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brodhead, M. T., & Higbee, T. S. (2012). Teaching and maintaining ethical behavior in a professional organization. Behav Anal Pract, 5, 86–92.Google Scholar
  7. Chaabane, D. B. B., Alber-Morgan, S. R., & DeBar, R. M. (2009). The effects of parent-implemented PECS training on improvisation of mands by children with autism. J Appl Behav Anal, 42, 671–677. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2009.42-671.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Charlop-Christy, M. H., Carpenter, M., Le, L., LeBlanc, L. A., & Kellet, K. (2002). Using the picture exchange communication system (PECS) with children with autism: assessment of PECS acquisition, speech, social-communicative behavior, and problem behavior. J Appl Behav Anal, 35, 213–231. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2002.35-213.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis. New Jersey: Person Education.Google Scholar
  10. Coutinho, M. J., & Oswald, D. P. (2006). Disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education: measuring the problem. Tempe: National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems.Google Scholar
  11. Daly, E. J., Bonfiglio, C. M., Matrson, T., Persampieri, M., & Foreman-Yates, K. (2006). Refining the experimental analysis of academic skills deficits: part II. Use of brief experimental analysis to evaluate reading fluency treatments. J Appl Behav Anal, 39, 323–331. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2006.13-05.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Durán, L. K., Roseth, C., & Hoffman, P. (2010). An experimental study comparing English-only and transitional bilingual education on Spanish-speaking preschoolers’ early literacy development. Early Childhood Res Q, 25, 207–217. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2009.10.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Durán, L. K., Roseth, C., Hoffman, P., & Robertshaw, M. B. (2013). An experimental study comparing predominantly English and transitional bilingual education on Spanish-speaking preschoolers’ early literacy development: year three results. Biling Res J, 36, 6–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Emmick, J. R., Cihon, T. M., & Eshleman, J. W. (2010). The effects of textual prompting and reading fluency on the acquisition of intraverbals. Anal Verbal Behav, 26, 31–39.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Farver, J. M., Lonigan, C., & Eppe, S. (2009). Effective early literacy skill development for young Spanish-speaking English language learners: an experimental study of two methods. Child Dev, 80, 703–719. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01292.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frost, L., & Bondy, A. (2002). The picture exchange communication system. Pyramid Educational Consultants.Google Scholar
  17. Goldstein, B. (2012). Bilingual language development & disorders in Spanish-English speakers (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Brookes Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. Greer, R. D., & Ross, D. E. (2008). Verbal behavior analysis: inducing and expanding new verbal capabilities in children with language delays. Boston: Pearson and AB.Google Scholar
  19. Greer, R. D., & Speckman, J. (2009). The integration of speaker and listener responses: a theory of verbal development. Psychol Rec, 59, 449–488.Google Scholar
  20. Grow, L. L., & Kodak, T. (2010). Recent research on emergent verbal behavior: clinical applications and future directions. J Appl Behav Anal, 43, 775–778. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2010.43-775.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hammer, C., & Rodriguez, B. (2012). Bilingual language acquisition and the child socialization process. In B. Goldstein (Ed.), Bilingual language development & disorders in Spanish-English speakers (pp. 31–46). Baltimore: Brookes.Google Scholar
  22. Hayes, S., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Roche, B. (2001). Relational frame theory: a post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Horne, P. J., & Lowe, C. F. (1996). On the origins of naming and other symbolic behavior. J Exp Anal Behav, 65, 185–241.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Horne, P. J., & Lowe, C. F. (1997). Toward a theory of verbal behavior. J Exp Anal Behav, 68, 271–296. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1996.65-185.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Houmanfar, R., Hayes, L. J., & Herbst, S. C. (2005). An analog study of first language dominance and interference over second language. Anal Verbal Behav, 21, 75–98.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Ingvarsson, E. T., & Hollobaugh, T. (2010). Acquisition of intraverbal behavior: teaching children with autism to mand for answers to questions. J Appl Behav Anal, 43, 1–17. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2010.43-1.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ingvarsson, E. T., & Le, D. D. (2011). Further evaluation of prompting tactics for establishing intraverbal responding in children with autism. Anal Verbal Behav, 27, 75–93.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Lugo-Neris, M. J., Jackson, C. W., & Goldstein, H. (2010). Facilitating vocabulary acquisition of young English language learners. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch, 41, 314–327. doi: 10.1044/0161-1461(2009/07-0082).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 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. Anal Verbal Behav, 27, 141–156.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Marcon-Dawson, A., Vicars, S. M., & Miguel, C. F. (2009). Publication trends in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. Anal Verbal Behav, 25, 123–132.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. McComas, J. J. (2011). The influence of cultural and linguistic variables on student behavior and academic performance [special issue]. J Behav Educ, 20, 221–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Murphy, C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Barnes-Holmes, Y. (2005). Derived manding in children with autism: synthesizing Skinner’s verbal behavior with relational frame theory. J Appl Behav Anal, 38, 445–462. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2005.97-04.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Padilla Dalamau, Y. C., Wacker, D. P., Harding, J. W., Berg, W. K., & Schiettz, K. M. (2011). A preliminary evaluation of functional communication training effectiveness and language preference when Spanish and English are manipulated. J Behav Educ, 20, 233–251. doi: 10.1007/s10864-011-9131-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Padilla, A. M., & Perez, W. (2003). Acculturation, social identify, and social cognition: a new perspective. Hisp J Behav Sci, 25, 35–55. doi: 10.1177/0739986303251694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Paradis, J., Genesee, F., & Crago, M. B. (2011). Dual language development and disorders: a handbook on bilingualism and second language learning. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Pub.Google Scholar
  36. Passel, J., & Cohn, D. (2008). U.S. population projections: 2005–2050. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center. Retrieved from Accessed Apr 2011.
  37. Pelaez, M., Virues-Ortega, J., & Gewirtz, J. L. (2011). Reinforcement of vocalizations through contingent vocal imitation. J Appl Behav Anal, 44, 33–40. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2011.44-33.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Peña, E., Bedore, L. M., & Rappazzo, C. (2003). Comparison of Spanish, English, and bilingual children’s performance across semantic tasks. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch, 34, 5–16. doi: 10.1044/0161-1461(2003/001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Peña, E. D., Kester, E. S., & Sheng, L. (2012). Semantic development in Spanish-English bilinguals: theory, assessment, & intervention. In B. Goldstein (Ed.), Bilingual language development & disorders (pp. 131–152). Baltimore: Paul H. Brooks.Google Scholar
  40. Rehfeldt, R., & Barnes-Holmes, Y. (2009). Derived relational responding: applications for learners with autism and other developmental disabilities: a progressive guide to change. Oakland: New Harbinger.Google Scholar
  41. Ribeiro, D. M., Elias, N. C., Goyos, C., & Miguel, C. F. (2010). The effects of listener training on the emergence of tact and mand signs by individuals with intellectual disabilities. Anal Verbal Behav, 26, 65–72.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Rispoli, M., O’Reilly, M., Lang, R., Sigafoos, J., Mulloy, A., Auguilar, J., & Singer, G. (2011). Effects of language implementation on functional analysis outcomes. J Behav Educ, 20, 224–232. doi: 10.1007/s10864-011-9128-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rosales, R., Rehfeldt, R. A., & Lovett, S. (2011). Effects of multiple exemplar training on the emergence of derived relations in preschool children learning a second language. Anal Verbal Behav, 27, 61–74.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Sautter, R. A., & LeBlanc, L. A. (2006). Empirical applications of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. Anal Verbal Behav, 22, 35–48.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J. B., Zamboanga, B. L., & Szapocznik. (2010). Rethinking the concept of acculturation: implications for theory and research. Am Psychol, 65, 237–251. doi: 10.1037/a0019330.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
  47. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Skinner, B. F. (1971). Beyond freedom and dignity. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  49. Skinner, B. F. (1981). Selection by consequences. Science, 213, 501–504.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sugai, G., O’Keeffe, B. V., & Fallon, L. M. (2012). A contextual consideration of culture and school-wide positive behavior support. J Posit Behav Interv, 14, 197–208. doi: 10.1177/1098300711426334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sundberg, M., & Partington, J. (1998). Teaching language to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Pleasant Hills: Behavior Analysts.Google Scholar
  52. Van Houten, R., Axelrod, S., Bailey, J. S., Favell, J. E., Foxx, R. M., Iwata, B. A., & Lovaas, O. I. (1988). The right to effective behavioral treatment. J Appl Behav Anal, 21, 381–384. doi: 10.1901/jaba.1988.21-381.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Washio, Y., & Houmanfar, R. (2007). Role of contextual control in second language performance. Anal Verbal Behav, 23, 41–56.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Weatherly, N. L., & Malott, R. W. (2008). An analysis of organizational behavior management in terms of the three-contingency model of performance management. J Organ Behav Manag, 28, 260–285. doi: 10.1080/01608060802454643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Williams, G., Pérez-González, L. A., & Vogt, K. (2003). The role of specific consequences in the maintenance of three types of questions. J Appl Behav Anal, 36, 285–296. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2003.36-285.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yi, J. I., Vittimberg, G., & Lowenkron, B. (2006). Generalized negatively reinforced manding in children with autism. Anal Verbal Behav, 22, 21–33.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew T. Brodhead
    • 1
  • Lillian Durán
    • 1
  • Sarah E. Bloom
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Special Education and RehabilitationUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.Department of Child and Family StudiesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

Personalised recommendations