Student Group

Meet the Student Representatives!

Angelica Aguirre received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University, Fresno. She is a doctoral candidate in the Behavior Analysis and Therapy program at SIU under the advisement of Dr. Ruth Anne Rehfeldt. This is Angelica’s second year as student representative for the student VB SIG group. Her research interests include: verbal behavior, private events, derived stimulus relations, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, classroom management, and instructional design. Angelica’s dissertation is evaluating the effects of individual and small group equivalence-based instruction with elementary school children.

Adam Briggs is currently in his 4th year working towards a doctoral degree with Dr. Claudia L. Dozier at the University of Kansas. He earned degrees from Western Michigan University (B.S. in 2007) and Auburn University (M.S. in 2009) and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2009). Adam is currently conducting a study with typically developing children who have their vocal-verbal behavior under restricted stimulus control (i.e., selectively mute), to assess the environmental conditions under which their speech occurs (and does not occur) in order to inform an appropriate treatment approach. He also has a strong interest in conducting research on emergent verbal relations with typically developing children learning English as a second language in addition to children learning language who are diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Finally, he is interested in emergent verbal relations because understanding the conditions under which individuals might acquire untaught relations might be helpful in programming efficient teaching strategies to enhance early learning.

Brittany LeBlanc completed her bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2008 with a major in Psychology. She is currently studying in the psychology department with a focus in behavior analysis at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Her research interests include (1) young children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, (2) prevention and early intervention, with particular interest in children with autism spectrum disorders, (3) increasing instructional efficiency with children with developmental disabilities, and (4) parent training.
Sarah Pastrana began her doctoral training at the University of British Columbia in September 2013. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Laura Grow. Her current research interests focus on establishing conditioned social reinforcers, early language acquisition, bilingualism, and making applied behavior analytic resources available to populations whose first language is not English.

Catherine Taylor-Santa is a PhD candidate in Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell University under the supervision of Dr. April N. Kisamore. Her research interests include perspective taking, listening and listener behavior, tacting non-visual stimuli, bidirectional relations, learning history and its effect on skill acquisition, advanced intraverbals, and conditioning reinforcers.

Inagural VB SIG Student Symposium
Many thanks to our student members for organizing the first ever, VB SIG Student Group Event: Emergent Responding via Direct Training, Conditioned Seeing, and Visual Imagining. Mark Sundberg served as the discussant, providing encouragement and guidance to the student presenters. The papers included:
Evaluating the Efficiency of Listener and Tact Instruction
Caitlin H. Delfs, HANNAH ROBINSON, Sarah E. Frampton, Lauren Shibley, Sarah Wymer, Amanda Graham, M. Alice Shillingsburg, and Daniel Conine
The Relation Between Components of Naming and Conditioned Seeing
DEREK JACOB SHANMAN and R. Douglas Greer
The Establishment of Tacts from Past Experiences: Conditioned Seeing?
Effects of Visual Imagining and Instruction on the Spelling Performance of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities
ANGELICA A. AGUIRRE and Ruth Anne Rehfeldt

VB SIG Student Research Resource Center
The VB SIG welcomes the contributions of student researchers and aims to support their study of verbal behavior. The Student Research Resource Center will feature articles recommended by members of the VB SIG Student Research Group. It is our hope that this page can be used to facilitate discussion across campuses and organizations. Enjoy!
Rachel Yosick, a Doctoral Psychology Intern at Marcus Autism Center, selected an article by Kisamore, Carr, and LeBlanc (2011). Rachel says “I enjoyed this article because it tackled a subject that is somewhat difficult for behavior analysts to study—the covert behavior of “visual imagining” as a method of problem solving. That the authors were able to effectively train young children to “see in the absence of the thing seen” and to measure the effects of using such a strategy to answer intraverbal questions is impressive and offers exciting possibilities for future teaching strategies derived from the study of verbal behavior.”

This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Kisamore, A. N., Carr, J. E., & LeBlanc, L. A. (2011). Training preschool children to use visual imagining as a problem-solving strategy for complex categorization tasks. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44, 255-278, which has been published in final form at
Rachel also selected a second article, posted below. “I thought this article was interesting because it demonstrated so well that contriving a transitive CEO could lead to the emergence of novel manding in participants with severe language deficits. The fact that the participants were severely disabled adults who had no previous functional language was remarkable, given that they both acquired PECS skills and derived mands that were not explicitly taught (and also vocal mands!).”
This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Rosales, R. & Rehfeldt, R. A. (2007). Contrived transitive conditioned establishing operations to establish derived manding skills in adults with severe developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40, 105-121, which has been published in final form at