Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Timothy Weil, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Raymond Miltenberger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Trevor Stokes, Ph.D.


verbal behavior, autism, tact, mand, preference


In Skinner's (1957) analysis of verbal behavior, the tact and mand are suggested to be functionally independent verbal operants. Many studies evaluating the verbal operants have provided results consistent with Skinner's notion of functional independence. For example, previous studies have yielded results showing that responses taught as tacts failed to emerge as mands unless they were directly trained as such. However, in many of the studies evaluating the functional independence of the verbal operants it is unclear whether the mand conditions were designed to actually evaluate that response function. The current study replicated and extended the findings of Wallace, Iwata, and Hanley (2006), who empirically demonstrated conditions that facilitated the transfer from tact to mand relations. Students in the current study were taught to tact both high preference and low preference items and were subsequently assessed on their ability to mand for those items. Responses taught as tacts transferred to mand responses without direct training for the high preference items only. These results suggest that the conditions under which training of one operant facilitates the emergence of an untrained verbal operant may be related to motivating operations.