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.


First International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

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Paper Session #93
Stimulus Equivalence and Perceptual Effects
Friday, November 30, 2001
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
Palladian Refectory Hall
Area: EAB
Chair: James McEwan (University of Waikato, New Zealand)
The Emergence of Creative Free-Operant Behaviours through a Stimulus Equivalence
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
BRIAN MCVEIGH (University of Ulster at Coleraine, Northern Ireland), Michael Keenan (University of Ulster at Coleraine, Northern Ireland)
Abstract: The purpose of this experiment was to examine the development of creative free- operant behaviours through the use of a stimulus equivalence framework. Subjects were first trained to establish two five-member classes through a linear series matching-to-sample format (A1-B1-C1-D1-E1 and A2-B2-C2-D2-E2). Free- operant functions were attached to each of three stimuli within one group of subjects by requiring each subject to draw separate components of a stickman at each of A1, C1 and E1. In the presence of A1 drawing the 'bust' of a stickman was reinforced; in the presence of C1 drawing the 'torso and arms' of a stickman was reinforced; in the presence of E1 drawing the 'legs' of a stickman was reinforced. Subsequent tests revealed a number of unusual findings. For some subjects the drawing of a completed stickman appeared at B1 and D1 but this response also occurred in the presence of A1, C1 and E1 at various times. The completed stickman did not appear at all of the stimuli for any of the subjects. In addition responding took the form of a wide variety of novel drawings that for some subjects included a drawing of A1,B1,C1,D1,E1 and A2,B2,C2,D2,E2. These results raised issues in relation to multiple functions in equivalence classes.
Perceptual Effects in Human Operant Research
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
JAMES MCEWAN (University of Waikato, New Zealand)
Abstract: This paper notes that while the experimental analysis of animal behaviour has been highly successful, the experimental analysis of human behaviour ‘human operant’ has been less so. This has lead to the suggestion that Skinner’s original experimental preparation is not ideal for research with human participants. A short review of the major difficulties observed in human operant research is given and some of the resulting procedural variations are also outlined. It is then argued that the perceptual effects of behaviour have been inadvertently neglected in the typical human operant experiment and that greater attention needs be paid to arranging perceptual effects if we are to develop an effective experimental preparation for humans. Support for this view is drawn from the success of operant procedures with infants and the 10 billion dollar computer game industry. Data are then presented from recent research that address the argument made.



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