Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Raymond G. Miltenberger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Timothy Weil, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kwang-Sun Blair, Ph.D.


Verbal behavior, ASD, Tacts, CEO, EO


In Verbal Behavior, Skinner (1957) suggested that each verbal operant has independent response functions, in which acquiring one does not automatically result in the other, unless transfer between the verbal operants is directly trained. Although several researchers have shown that mands and tacts are functionally independent, more recent research has demonstrated that mands may emerge following tact training. However, this research has not clarified the influence of establishing operations on the emergence of pure mands following tact training. Therefore, the present study investigated the effects of tact training on the acquisition of impure and pure mands in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) when conditioned establishing operations (CEO) were manipulated during mand probes. Three children diagnosed with ASD were taught to tact the utensils needed to consume their preferred edibles and then were assessed on their ability to mand for those utensils during CEO absent versus CEO present pure mand probes using a multiple baseline design across participants. It was hypothesized that children would be able to mand for the missing utensils needed to consume their preferred edibles only when the food items were present (CEO present, pure mand probes), but not when they were absent (CEO absent, pure mand probes). Results showed that responses taught as tacts failed to transfer to mand responses until direct training was implemented for two of the three participants. However, once a mand response was learned, all participants exhibited the mand in the CEO present condition but not in the CEO absent condition.