Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #263
Stimulus Relations in Humans
Sunday, May 27, 2007
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Del Mar AB
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Vennessa L. Walker (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Richard W. Serna (University of Massachusetts Medical School, E.K. Shriver Center)
Abstract: The papers in this symposium examine stimulus relations in humans from different perspectives. The Alligood and Chase paper examines stability and variability of choices among stimuli in established equivalence classes. The Lobo and Chase paper deals with merging of independent emergent functional and equivalence classes. Finally, the Guld and Pilgrim paper a compound class-specific reinforcement procedure was used in a match-to-sample format to teach math to children. Richard Serna will serva as discussant for this symposium.
Choices Among Stimuli In Equivalence Classes.
CHRISTY A. ALLIGOOD (West Virginia University), Philip N. Chase (West Virginia University)
Abstract: In the current research a within-class preference test was used to assess the effects of nodality and relation types on stability of responding to stimuli within established equivalence classes. In the first experiment, subjects more frequently chose comparisons related to the sample via fewer nodes than those related via more nodes. In addition, subjects chose comparisons related to the sample via symmetry as often or more often than those related via trained baseline relations and both symmetry and baseline more often than transitive and combined relations. Experiments two and three investigated the possibility that effects observed in the first experiment were due to the order of training and testing. Experiment four evaluated effects of a class-specific reinforcer arrangement during training on responding during post-class-formation within-class preference tests. Results are discussed in terms of the theoretical implications for the substitutability of stimuli in equivalence classes, and for application to education, particularly in learning languages and other complex curricula involving stimulus classes.
Complex Stimulus Control in Humans: Merging Functional and Equivalence Classes.
HAROLD E. LOBO (West Virginia University), Philip N. Chase (West Virginia University)
Abstract: This presentation deals with merging of independent emergent functional and equivalence classes. Training procedures will be discussed in which undergraduate students are trained to successfully demonstrate three three-member functional classes in which arbitrary stimuli control the occurrence of nonsense syllables. Additionally, these subjects are provided with baseline training for the formation of equivalence classes that involves class-specific reinforcers. This training will yield three three-member equivalence classes. After these classes have been demonstrated to remain independent from each other, merging of pairs of functional and equivalence classes is discussed by linking either antecedent of consequent stimuli used during training of the equivalence classes with the responses controlled by members of the functional classes. The benefits and limitations of relying on a multiple-baseline design to arrange class merging also are discussed. Further conceptual and methodological observations will be discussed, with particular attention to Sidman’s observations on the formation of arbitrary emergent classes. Illustrative data will be presented in order to expand on the topics to be addressed by this paper.
Using a Compound Class-Specific Reinforcer Procedure to Teach Math.
AMANDA E. GULD (The Ohio State University), Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina, Wilmington)
Abstract: A compound class-specific reinforcement procedure was used to teach math. Printed numerals, spoken and printed numbers, were used as class-specific reinforcers to teach children to match quantities to each other and addition facts. A match-to-sample format was used to train conditional discriminations, and test emergent relations. Two of nine participants with developmental disabilities and 7 typically developing children, mastered quantity training. Six of those nine participants mastered quantity training (with verbal instructions). Five of the seven participants performed in a class-consistent manner. Four of five participants exposed to AB training (quantities to addition facts) met mastery criterion. Three of four participants, exposed to symmetry probes (BA trials) and reinforcer probes, performed in a class-consistent manner. The findings support Sidman’s (2000) theory of equivalence, in which all members of the four-term contingency become members of the equivalence class. This procedure holds implications for classroom efficiency in mathematics, where many students struggle.



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