Effects of differential observing responses on observational learning across multiple contingencies

Andrew P. Blowers, Kevin C. Luczynski, Ciobha A. McKeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whether a child with autism spectrum disorder will exhibit observational learning may depend on their attention to and the stimulus modalities of the observed contingency. We used multiple-probe and repeated-acquisition designs to test observational learning across a diverse set of contingencies, which included hidden edible, hidden toy, hidden video, tact, receptive identification, and intraverbal contingencies. During preteaching, 2 children with autism spectrum disorder showed observational learning with some contingencies. After learning to engage in differential observing responses for observed behaviors and consequences with the hidden-video contingency, 1 child showed generalization of observational learning with receptive identification and intraverbals. Neither child showed generalization with the tact contingency. Thus, teaching was initiated with the tact contingency, which led to generalization of observational learning with tacts. The efficacy of teaching differential observing responses over observational learning was demonstrated. Inconsistent observational learning across contingencies suggests scientist-practitioners should assess observational learning across a variety of contingencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1385-1404
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • differential observing response
  • generalization
  • observational learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of differential observing responses on observational learning across multiple contingencies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this