Graduation Date

Spring 5-7-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Nicole Rodriguez


Autoclitics are secondary verbal operants that are controlled by a feature of the conditions that evoke a primary verbal operant (e.g., tact, mand). Among the types described by Skinner, qualifying autoclitics extend, negate, or assert a speaker’s primary verbal response and modify the intensity or direction of the listener’s behavior. In the only study to date on teaching qualifying autoclitics, Howard and Rice (1988) established generalized autoclitics that indicated weak stimulus control (e.g., “like a [primary tact]”) with four typically developing preschool children. However, generalization to newly acquired tacts was limited. In Experiment 1, we extended Howard and Rice to autistic children while using simultaneous teaching procedures and assessing for generalization across sets and newly acquired tacts. In Experiment 2, we evaluated the effects of multiple exemplar training on generalization of autoclitics across sets of naturalistic stimuli when generalization of autoclitics taught with shapes and textual characters did not occur.

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