Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology



First Advisor

Kelly G. Wilson

Second Advisor

Denise A. Soares

Third Advisor

Alan M. Gross

Relational Format



Prior research on traditional emotion recognition training with individuals on the autism spectrum has shown improvement in skills. However, only a handful of studies have demonstrated generalization of skills to novel stimuli and contexts. The application of derived relational responding to interventions has been shown to be an efficient and effective way of producing generalized behaviors in both typically developing and developmentally delayed populations (Healy, Barnes-Holmes, & Smeets, 2000; Rehfeldt & Barnes-Holmes, 2009). The present study was designed to obtain preliminary data on the effectiveness of emotion recognition training that includes derived relational responding. Three Caucasian children (aged 12-15 years old) with autism spectrum diagnoses were recruited through direct solicitation at an Autism outpatient treatment center in the southeastern United States. A concurrent multiple probe design across participants was used to assess performance on an emotion matching-to-sample training task. A within participant analysis was also conducted to examine relative accuracy across more or less complex derived relational responses. The results indicated that the emotion recognition training procedure was sufficient for improving emotion recognition performance on a matching-to-sample task for all three participants. In addition, two of the three participants demonstrated clear generalization of emotion recognition skills to novel stimuli. Assessment of generalization to the natural environment, however, yielded mixed findings. Implications for developing future social skill interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum are discussed.


Emphasis: Clinical Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons



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