Generalized instruction following with pictorial prompts

Cara L. Phillips, Timothy R. Vollmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The benefits of permanent pictorial prompts in enhancing maintenance and generalization are likely dependent on their degree of stimulus control and the extent to which their use is generalized. Although several studies on the use of pictorial prompts have demonstrated their efficacy (e.g., Pierce &amp Schreibman, 1994; Wacker & Berg, 1983; Wacker, Berg, Berrie, & Swatta, 1985), there is still some question regarding what ultimately controlled responding. The present study allowed an explicit examination of stimulus control by pictorial prompts. Three 4year-old children with developmental disabilities were taught to complete 4 instructional sets (5 steps each) using pictorial prompts such that the prompts would control responding. All 3 participants showed generalization to the final set after training with 3 sets. These results suggest that training a single task sequence may not be sufficient for acquisition of generalized pictorial instruction following. However, establishing stimulus control by the pictorial prompts rather than teaching behavioral chains may facilitate acquisition of a generalized repertoire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-54
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Developmental disabilities
  • Generalized instruction following
  • Pictorial prompts
  • Preschool children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy


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