Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Direct instruction is often necessary to develop language or expand language use in individuals with language delays. Previous research has begun to identify certain training conditions that result in more efficient use of instructional time devoted to language development. Specifically, incorporating mands into the instructional arrangement, increasing the quality of reinforcement delivered for interspersed tasks, and including instructive feedback stimuli into the consequences of learning trials have all demonstrated more efficient learning of targeted language skills. The purpose of the current investigation was to compare three methods for teaching intraverbals (i.e., conversation skills) to individuals with deficits in this area. Specifically, mand to intraverbal transfer of control, mand interspersal, and instructive feedback conditions were compared using a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across stimuli and multiple probe design. If mastery criteria for instructive feedback stimuli were not met, direct instruction was initiated for those intraverbals. In addition, generalization and maintenance probes were conducted to test for acquisition of symmetrical intraverbal behavior and retention of intraverbals over time, respectively. Training conditions incorporating mands into instruction did not result in faster acquisition of intraverbals relative to the instructive feedback condition. Two out of three participants acquired new intraverbals related to the instructive feedback stimuli; however, the third participant did not acquire intraverbals presented as instructive feedback even when direct instruction was initiated. Generalization was not explicitly programmed but was observed for two participants. Finally, no single training condition was associated with improved maintenance relative to the other conditions.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Dorothea Lerman



Included in

Psychology Commons