Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Timothy Weil, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kimberly Crosland, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Samaha, Ph.D.


Applied behavior analysis, Derived stimulus relations, Relational Frame Theory, Verbal behavior


Relational Frame Theory provides an analysis of verbal behavior involving a focus on the development of relational operants which are seen as a basis for language. From this basis, a framework is provided for establishing relational networks in individuals who lack derived relational ability. Establishment of relational frames may increase the probability of responding relationally to novel instances and use of the specific relational frames during social interactions; therefore, training verbal relations in accordance with an RFT approach may enhance intraverbal responding and facilitate the emergence of untrained responses. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the emergence of specific relationships in the context of intraverbal responding as a collateral effect of training on relational networks in four children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Two participants demonstrated mastery of derived relational responding (DRR) without training, one participant demonstrated mastery of DRR following training, and a fourth participant demonstrated mutual entailment and some combinatorial entailment. Increases in vocal verbal behavior during generalization probes were observed, although increased use of all target relations was not observed in all participants. Further research is needed to evaluate specific deficits in derived relational responding among individuals with ASD, as well as the correlation between DRR and language ability.