Harry A MacKay PhD
|Institution||University of Massachusetts Medical School|
|Address||Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center|
55 Lake Avenue North, S3-301
Worcester MA 01655
|Institution||UMMS - Programs, Centers and Institutes|
Dr. Mackay’s research examines behavioral processes, particularly forms of conditional discrimination, that are relevant to teaching rudimentary aspects of preacademic skills to people with developmental disabilities.One aspect of the research involves study of constructed-response matching to sample and its role in equivalence class formation and reading, spelling and numeric performances. Studies of the ordinal properties and class memberships acquired by stimuli used in sequence construction tasks provide bases for recent interest in a behavior analytic approach to syntax. An ongoing project is investigating how matching-to-sample procedures might be optimized to facilitate acquisition. To illustrate, in typical matching-to-sample procedures, the trials presented are entirely determined by the teacher. The child has no control over which stimuli are presented for matching at a given moment. However, this is not typical of many real-world situations. Individuals often can choose the order of tasks and/or the manner of responding. Our current research is designed to permit such choices, thus allowing learners to organize their own behavior in ways that may promote more rapid and/or more accurate performance.
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