Critical Thinking in Psychology

Topic: Behaviorism
Words: 1423 Pages: 5


A tool that can be implemented to achieve success in addressing behavioral problems is applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and the techniques that align with the premise of reinforcing certain behaviors. Namely, teaching omnibus mands can be an efficient way to implement a verbal operant, which is then reinforced. The current paper aims to examine the article “Does teaching an omnibus mand preclude the development of specifying mands?” to determine whether the method limits cognitive specifiesand verbal development or can be successfully applied with no further reproductions. Based on the analysis, the article provides a reliable overview of the use of omnibus and specifying mands despite limitations.

Summary of the Article

Literature Review

The authors have not specifically discussed the theories applied during the research or examined through the literature review, yet positive reinforcement is the recurring topic of the article. Moreover, the researchers have applied evidence from 49 sources to support the discussion or highlight different opinions on the use of omnibus mands (Ward et al., 2020). While the research itself was published in 2020, the supporting articles have not been published recently, limiting the evidence in relation to its present. Nonetheless, the literature review highlights multiple opinions on the topic, suggesting an in-depth examination of the evidence on the matter.

Methods Section

The researchers have examined the research question through the observation of three children with autism. The three participants, boys aged 5 to 10, have been engaging in activities related to behavioral problems, including verbal and physical aggression, destruction of property, and self-injuries (Ward et al., 2020). After the children had acquired the omnibus mand, the participants of the research learned techniques to initiate the response for the attention of the therapist to be acquired before additional mands were used. As the last step, specifying mands were acquired by the participants. The experiment has addressed possible disruptions by examining how sessions that were interrupted or stopped by therapists are being dealt with by the children with specific mands.

Results Section

The results highlight that the requirement of omnibus mands has significantly corrected the behavioral problems present at baseline. Moreover, as the participants have learned specifying mands (escape, tangible, and attention), the newly acquired prompts have replaced the simple ones taught at the beginning of the experiment. Thus, specifying mands were being expressed at a higher frequency, while the simple one has declined in the number of uses in each participant.

Discussion Section

Based on the findings, researchers have concluded that the implementation of omnibus mands is relatively unnecessary in case the child does not engage in activities that suggest behavioral issues. This implies that specifying mands are to replace them right away. However, the results show that while omnibus mands improve behavior, they also do not limit the further acquirement of specifying mands, highlighting the efficiency of the technique. Researchers mention applying conditional probability data as an effective measure to examine the topic. However, limitations such as not examining whether the order of the mands affects results are expressed as possible disruptors. Thus, the authors promote the matter in terms of exploration and analysis for future research.

Conclusion Section

The correlation between the appliance of omnibus mands and behavioral improvements is certain. Moreover, omnibus mands do not limit the abilities of children to learn specifying mands. As a result, the technique can be effectively and practically implemented to address behavioral challenges while acknowledging that learning simple mands do not disrupt or preclude further learning of more specific prompts in combination with reinforcement techniques.

Analysis of the Article


The article has examined both behavioral changes and the requirement of specifying mands. In other words, the researchers have provided an in-depth overview of both benefits of omnibus and specifying prompts. For example, it has been determined that while omnibus mands are effective in behavioral analysis and addressing challenges, specifying ones can replace the simple ones with relative ease, which is supported by multiple researchers (Mitteer et al., 2019). Thus, learning has been illustrated as the process of learning how to cook in which an individual, in order to feed themselves, starts with simple recipes that are gradually replaced with more complex ones.

Another strength is that the authors provide all the necessary definitions and explanations relevant to the topic. For instance, the process of functional communication training is discussed in detail and connected to the value of omnibus mands (Mitteer et al., 2019). Since this research paper can be useful for specialists with varied knowledge and experience levels, it is quite beneficial that the authors make their paper informative. Therefore, this article can be effective as it contains all relevant definitions.


It is possible to say that this article contains only one disadvantage discussed further. Overall, researchers have not examined whether specifying mands can be replaced with omnibus ones right away for individuals with behavioral problems. Namely, it is possible that positive behavioral changes can be achieved while skipping the initial step of teaching omnibus mands and starting with specifying mands right away. For example, researchers could have formed two groups of children with behavioral problems and taught omnibus mands to the children in one group and specifying ones to the other one to examine differences in results. The current design partly resembles the instance in which a child who knows how to read goes to school and has to learn letters without it being necessary.


Supported Opinions

It may be said that the research can be used by people working with children diagnosed with autism, ODD, ADD, and ADHD, as well as those who have disruptive behavior. Since the article provides crucial information regarding the effectiveness and harmlessness of omnibus mands, professionals working in the identified field may learn that this method is quite valuable. It is possible that this research will prove that teachers need to be educated about using omnibus mands to address children’s problematic behaviors. It is quite essential that the measure does address not only behavioral objectives but also encourages independent communication rather than limiting it (Mitteer et al., 2019). One way to improve the results of the study is to examine the direct link between specifying mands and behavior changes in a larger population sample. In that case, potential results would show that omnibus mands are not necessary and specifying ones have a similar effect.

Standards Check

“The Standards Check” critical thinking framework is the technique applied to conduct a check of standards. The method is supported by relevant literature and exemplified as effective in determining research reliability (Nosich, 2020, p. 158). The author’s reasoning and its presentation are clear and stated as certain researchers mention that the use of omnibus mandes can be limiting regarding the acquirement of subsequent specifying ones. Moreover, the accuracy of the reasoning is adequate as supporting arguments have been provided both in support and dismissal of the use of omnibus mands. The presentation follows a standard table of contents of research in the field, which also highlights accuracy. In terms of importance, the authors have focused on the initial aim to determine the efficacy of the methodology. The reasoning, however, has not been displayed based on its importance as no evidence was provided in regards to therapists dismissing the use of omnibus mands due to the controversy on the subject.

Moreover, there is no sufficient evidence in the reasoning as only three participants have been examined. It can be noted that the authors have jumped to a conclusion due to the other issue that was not considered, namely behavioral changes in individuals who have only been taught specifying mands. Nonetheless, the examination of both the omnibus and specifying ones provides a deep and broad overview of the main topic of the research. The reason, however, is precisely formulated and examined since multiple levels and prompts have been examined and illustrated in detail. It can be stated that the author’s reasoning is reasonable overall since, despite the limitations, the findings highlight that both an omnibus and specifying mands can be used interchangeably.


The article provides an in-depth overview of the use of omnibus mandes as an effective behavioral therapy while illustrating the lack of limitations when it comes to the subsequent acquirement of specifying mandes. While certain limitations are present, including the small sample size and the lack of comparison among different groups and approaches, the article has fulfilled the initial premise. As a result, it is inevitable that evidence highlights the appliance of omnibus mandes as efficacious and safe in relation to more complex communication techniques.


Mitteer, D. R., Fisher, W. W., Briggs, A. M., Greer, B. D., & Hardee, A. M. (2019). Evaluation of an omnibus mand in the treatment of multiply controlled destructive behavior. Behavioral Development, 24(2), 74–88. Web.

Nosich, G. M. (2020). Learning to think things through: A guide to critical thinking across the curriculum. Pearson.

Ward, S. N., Hanley, G. P., Warner, C. A., & Gage, E. E. (2020). Does teaching an omnibus mand preclude the development of specifying mands? Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 54(1), 248–269. Web.

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