Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor



The present investigation evaluated the effectiveness of multiple exemplar training (MET) on the facilitation of bidirectional symmetry-like relations (object-naming) for typically developing children (ages 3-4 yrs) whose first language was Spanish. Two experiments were conducted in which a multiple probe design was implemented to introduce exemplar training across 3 four-item stimulus sets. Participants were first trained in listener (name-object or A-B) relations via either conditional discrimination training (in Experiment 1), or a respondent-type training procedure (in Experiment 2). This training was followed by tests for derived symmetry-like relations (B-A relations). If participants failed these tests, MET was implemented in which B-A relations were explicitly taught with novel stimulus sets. Following MET, probes were conducted again with the original training set and MET continued with novel stimuli until participants met criterion for the emergence of derived B-A relations (Experiment 1) or derived A-B and B-A relations (Experiment 2 only); or after they had been exposed to a total of three different MET sets, whichever occurred first. Results from Experiment 1 indicated failed tests for B-A relations following direct training in A-B relations, and marked improvements in derived B-A relations following MET across all participants. Results from Experiment 2 demonstrated the emergence of derived A-B relations following a respondent-type training procedure (denoted as receptive symmetry training) and the emergence of B-A relations following MET across all participants. These results lend support for the use of a respondent-type training procedure to establish derived relations in typically developing children. Results and implication are discussed in light of a behavior analytic account of language development in general, and for second language acquisition specifically.




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