PSYB45H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Stimulus Control, Intellectual Disability, Classical Conditioning
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Prompting and Transfer of Stimulus Control
An Example of Prompting and Fading: Teaching Little Leaguers to Hit the Ball
What is Prompting?
What is Fading?
Types of Prompts
Transfer of Stimulus Control
How to Use Prompting and Transfer of Stimulus Control
1. Choose the most appropriate prompt Strategy
2. Get the learner’s Attention
3. Present the SD
4. Prompt the Correct Response
5. Reinforce the Correct Behavior
6. Transfer Stimulus Control
7. Continue to Reinforce Unprompted Responses
Prompting and Transfer of Stimulus Control in Autism Treatment
Chapter 10, Quiz 1
Chapter 10, Quiz 2
Chapter 10, Quiz 3
Ideas for Class Activities
1. Set up a role play in the front of the class in which you play the role of a therapist and a student from class
volunteers to play the role of an autistic youngster. The therapist must teach the student a simple skill using
prompting and fading. Choose a skill that can be easily prompted (imitation of motor movements such as “touch
your head”). After showing the class how to conduct the procedure, switch roles and have the student play the role
of therapist as you ply the role of autistic youngster. The student should now demonstrate prompting and fading
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2. Provide a number of descriptions of scenarios in which prompting and transfer of stimulus control would be
used to teach skills. Have the students describe how to use the procedures in each scenario. Have students use
response prompts with some examples and stimulus prompts with other examples. Have students use prompt
fading as well as prompt delay procedures.
Answers to Practice Test Questions
1. A prompt, an antecedent stimulus that evokes a response, is used to increase the likelihood that an individual
will engage in the correct behavior at the correct time. In behavior modification, prompts are used during
discrimination training to help a person engage in the correct behavior in the presence of the SD.
2. Response prompts involve the behavior of another person (a trainer) used to get the desired response to occur.
With a verbal prompt, the verbal behavior of another person results in the correct response in the presence of the
SD. A gestural prompt is any physical movement or gesture of another person that leads to the correct behavior in
the presence of the SD. A modeling prompt (or modeling) is any demonstration of the correct behavior by another
person that makes it more likely that the correct behavior will occur at the right time. With a physical prompt,
another person physically assists the individual to engage in the correct behavior at the right time.
3. From the example in the chapter, when Coach McCall told Luke how to hit the ball correctly, he was using a
verbal prompt; Coach McCall used a gestural prompt with Tom when he motioned to him how to swing the bat.
With Matt a modeling prompt was used when Coach McCall showed him the target behavior. Coach McCall
provided a physical prompt to Trevor by physically guiding him through the correct behavior until he could do it
himself. (Note: in each case a verbal prompt was provided as well.)
4. A stimulus prompt involves some change in a stimulus or the addition or removal of a stimulus to make a
correct response more likely. There are two types of stimulus prompts: When the SD is altered, this is referred to as
a within-stimulus prompt. When another stimulus or cue is added to the SD, it is considered an extra-stimulus
5. Coach McCall used a within-stimulus prompt when he had Coach Dave throw easy pitches for the kids to hit at
first. An example of an extra-stimulus prompt is a picture prompt used to help adolescents with intellectual
disabilities complete complex vocational tasks correctly.
6. Least-to-most prompting, also called the system of least prompts, is defined as providing the least intrusive
prompt first and using more intrusive prompts only as necessary to get the correct behavior to occur. Least-to most
prompting is a method of fading across prompts. For example, Ralph’s job coach first uses the least intrusive
prompt, a verbal prompt, to get Ralph to remove the paper stuffing out of the shoe. If Ralph does not respond in 5
seconds, the job coach repeats the verbal prompt and points at the paper in the shoe (provides a gestural prompt).
If Ralph does not respond in 5 seconds, the job coach models the correct behavior and provides the verbal prompt.
If Ralph still does not respond, the job coach uses physical guidance as he provides the verbal prompt.
7. With most-to-least prompting, the most intrusive prompt is used first and is then faded to less intrusive
prompts. For example, in using most-to-least prompting the job coach should start by providing a physical prompt
together with a verbal prompt. He would then start to fade the physical prompt as Ralph successfully executed the
behavior. Once he faded the physical prompt he would provide a verbal and gestural prompt. Then as Ralph
continued to be successful, he would fade the verbal prompt as Ralph correctly took the paper out of the shoe with
8. The flashing lights are a stimulus prompt, in particular, an extra-stimulus prompt.
9. Once stimulus or response prompts have been used to get the correct response to occur, the prompts have to be
eliminated to transfer stimulus control to the natural SD. Transfer of stimulus control is important, because it
ensures that the correct behavior occurs at the right time without any assistance (prompts).
10. With fading of response prompts (prompt fading), a response prompts is gradually removed across learning
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trials until the prompt is no longer provided. For example, when Coach McCall provided fewer and fewer
instructions to Luke as he hit the ball, Coach McCall was fading a verbal prompt.
11. Least-to most prompting and most-to-least prompting are methods of fading across prompts. With least-to-
most prompting, the least intrusive prompt is provided first and the more intrusive prompts provided only as
necessary, from verbal prompts to gestural prompts to modeling prompts to physical prompts. The same sequence
is subsequently repeated until the learner responds correctly. Over trials, the correct response will be made before
the physical prompt is needed, then before the modeling prompt, and then before the gestural prompt, until
eventually no prompts are needed. With most-to-least prompting, a physical prompt together with a verbal prompt
would first be provided. The physical prompt would then be faded as the learner successfully executed the
behavior. Once the physical prompt was faded, a verbal and gestural prompts would be provided. As the learner
continued to be successful, the gestural prompt would be faded and only the verbal prompt would be provided.
Finally, the verbal prompt would be faded as the learner successfully executed the behavior.
12. Fading of stimulus prompts (stimulus fading) entails gradually removing the stimulus prompts to transfer
stimulus control to the natural SD. For an extra-stimulus prompt, fading would involve the gradual removal of that
additional stimulus as the response began occurring reliably in the presence of the SD. For example, when a
student is using flash cards to learn multiplication facts, the answer on the others side of the flashcard is the
stimulus prompt. The student is using stimulus fading when she looks at the answers to the problems less and less
as she goes through the flash cards. For a within-stimulus prompt, fading would involve gradually changing the SD
from its altered form to its natural form. For example, Coach McCall used a stimulus prompt when he had Coach
Dave throw easy pitches for his players to hit. Stimulus fading involved gradually increasing the speed of the
pitches until they were being thrown at normal speed.
13. In the prompt delay procedure, you present the SD, wait a certain number of seconds and, if the correct
response is not made, you provide the prompt. With the constant prompt delay procedure, the number of seconds
which pass before the prompt is provided remains constant. For example, in teaching adolescents with intellectual
disabilities to read common words, a word was presented on a flashcard (SD) and, if the student did not respond in
4 seconds, a verbal prompt was provided. With the progressive prompt delay procedure, the number of seconds
which pass before the prompt is provided progressively increases. For example, in teaching children with autism
to say “thank you” upon receiving a toy, a toy was given to the child, and if the child said “thank you,” an edible
reinforcer and praise were delivered. When a child did not say “thank you,” a verbal prompt was initially provided
after 2 seconds. When the child said “thank you” when the prompt delay was 2 seconds, it was gradually increased
by 2 second intervals until the prompt delay was 10 sec. Eventually the child started to say “thank you” before the
prompt was given.
14. In using a verbal and physical response prompts to get an autistic child to pay attention to you as you
conducted a learning trial, you would use prompting and transfer of stimulus control procedures according to the
following guidelines: To begin you would choose the most appropriate prompting strategy, in this case verbal and
physical response prompts. The verbal prompt could be “J.R. (for example), look at me.” For a physical prompt
you could gently guide the child’s head (by the chin) with your hand so that he is looking at you. The next step is
to present the S D
, which is the relevant stimulus that should evoke the correct response in the learner once training
is completed. In this case, you sitting in a chair across from the child may be the SD. Next, prompt the correct
response. If the child does not look at you when you sit down across from him, the verbal and physical prompts
should be provided. Next, reinforce the correct behavior. When the child looks at you (whether prompted or
unprompted), immediately provide a reinforcer, perhaps a small edible in this case. Next, transfer stimulus
control. As soon as possible, prompts should be eliminated to transfer stimulus control from the prompt to the
natural SD. In this case a progressive time delay procedure would be appropriate. The prompts could initially be
provided after a period of two seconds had elapsed following the presentation of the SD. As the child began to
execute the target response within that 2 second period, the time before the prompt was provided could then be
gradually increased by 2 second intervals, until no prompts were needed. Finally, you would continue to reinforce
unprompted responses. Whenever the child looked at you when you sat down across from him after prompts have
been eliminated, continue to provide a reinforcer. As the child continues to engage in the correct behavior, change
from a continuous reinforcement schedule to an intermittent reinforcement schedule.
15. In using stimulus prompts and fading to learn definitions for the behavior modification procedures described
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