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Reading recombinative generalization under individual and group contingencies

Grant number: 18/13270-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2018
Effective date (End): March 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal Investigator:Deisy das Graças de Souza
Grantee:Thays Nogueira da Silva
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/50909-8 - INCT 2014: Behavior, Cognition and Teaching (INCT-ECCE): relational learning and symbolic functioning, AP.TEM


Group contingencies in teaching settings are planned so that reinforcing consequences depend on the joint performance of individual participants. This type of arrangement has been successfully used to promote learning of different skills in academic contexts. However, research generally evaluates the same set of responses that have been taught. It is necessary to investigate whether, and how, group contingencies can affect generalization and emergence of new skills. A promising alternative is to use teaching procedures based on the stimulus equivalence paradigm, which favors learning a set of directly taught relations as well as the emergence of new relations, derived from those previously taught. The current study has the objective of using group contingencies together with a curriculum for teaching relations between stimuli and between stimuli and responses that characterize reading and writing repertoires. This curriculum (ALEPPÒ) has been extensively evaluated and promotes high scores in learning relations between spoken words, printed words, and pictures, as well as in new emergent (equivalence) relations between the same stimuli. Recombinative generalization is a by-product that doesn't necessarily emerge from learning the relations; instead, it results from abstracting (text and sound) subunits that are repeated within taught words and it involves reading new words that include different sequences formed by the same subunits. ALEPP offers a controlled opportunity to evaluate the effect of group contingencies. Twelve middle school students, aged between eight and 12 years old, will participate in the study. They will be selected based on low writing scores (<10%) and variable reading scores (between 10% and 60%). The participants will be assigned to two groups of six students; each group will include children with different reading levels, so they can help each other. Half of the students will participate in group activities but will receive individual consequences (tokens) for their performance, in an Individual Behavior-Dependent Contingency (IDC). The other half will participate in the same activities, but each student's reward will depend on the behavior of all group members, in a Group-Dependent Contingency (GDC). In the IDC group, each student will receive tokens (or not), depending on their own correct responses; in the GDC group, tokens will depend on the number of correct responses of all members of the group. Tokens will be traded for preferred items at the end of the session. Data analysis will verify the effects of individual and group contingencies on social interaction and performance in the reading program: percentage of correct responses in tasks directly related to teaching steps, in probes of equivalence class formation, in the emergence of discriminated operants (textual behavior and dictation-taking) with taught and novel words (recombinative generalization), and on the number of trials to reach the learning criterion. Procedures will be conducted according to a between-subjects design, with pre- and posttest, for global results and according to a multiple baseline design between teaching steps for analysis of individual behavior. GDC and IDC global results will be compared as well as each sextet, according to initial reading levels. (AU)

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