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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #242
Derived relational responding and equivalence class formation: Experimental investigations and applications.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
North 228
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: John M. Hyland (University of Ulster, Coleraine Campus)
Discussant: Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Derived relational responding has been a popular focal point of research among behaviour analysts for many years, and is an important feature of complex human behaviour. Indeed, the examination of derived relational responding can trace its roots to philosophical debates as far back as the 19th century . The selection of papers in this symposium will address a range of topics related to this behavioural phenomenon, including the behavioural processes involved in derived and arbitrary relational responding, transformation of stimulus function, and sequential development. The first paper will discuss the effects of both phonological and orthographic interference on stimulus equivalence class formation. The second paper in the series will evaluate previous behavioural analytic approaches to hierarchical categorisation, which utilised aspects of stimulus equivalence and non-arbitrary stimulus relations. Moreover, the final paper will discuss the outcomes of an investigation into the effects of 'Before' and 'After' temporal relational cues on the development of stimulus sequences.
Phonological and Orthographic Interference Effects on Stimulus Equivalence Class Formation
IAN THOMAS TYNDALL (AMCD/NUI, Galway), Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway), Jon Gretar Sigurjonsson (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Stimulus equivalence describes a behavioral phenomenon that may, in part, account for the development of symbolic relations among stimuli. Two experiments are reported that examined the effects of phonological and orthographic interference on stimulus equivalence class formation. Specifically, the experiments explored whether incorrect comparison stimuli that were orthographically or phonologically similar to the sample or correct comparison stimuli in a matching-to-sample paradigm interfered with derived relational responding performance. Experiment 1 investigated the impact of sample-comparison similarity, while Experiment 2 examined the effects of comparison-comparison similarity. In both experiments, the combination of phonological and orthographic interference significantly reduced accuracy, but neither the effect of orthographic nor phonological interference alone were significant. In Experiment 2, orthographic interference increased response latency, but phonological interference did not, suggesting that orthographic interference increased the difficulty of the simple discrimination between response alternatives.
Transformation of stimulus functions to novel category members in a model of hierarchical categorization
BRIAN WILLIAM SLATTERY (National University of Ireland Galway), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway), Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Behavior analysis is not traditionally known for theorizing in relation to high level cognitive phenomena. Phenomena such as hierarchical categorization have received little attention from within this paradigm (Zentall, Galizio, & Critchfield, 2002). However, recently, behavioral researchers have begun to use derived relations as a model of language and other complex behavior. In this vein, Griffee and Dougher (2002) demonstrated a model of hierarchical categorization by drawing on the concepts of stimulus equivalence and non-arbitrary stimulus relations. However, although these researchers suggested that their model of hierarchical categorization incorporated stimulus equivalence, further work remains to fully include this phenomenon and thus make their model fully verbal. For example, Griffee and Dougher did not test for transformation of functions to novel stimuli based upon their relationship to stimuli in the category network. The aim of the present research was to extend Griffee and Dougher (2002) by incorporating transformation of stimulus functions to novel category members. Future research and implications for a developmental analysis and training of categorization behaviors are also discussed.
The effect of Before and After instructions on the latency and accuracy of sequential responding.
JOHN M. HYLAND (University of Ulster, Coleraine Campus), Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway), Sinead Smyth (University of Ulster, Coleraine), Julian C. Leslie (University of Ulster)
Abstract: Certain features of complex human behaviour require us to identify and derive temporal relations between stimuli. Previous research on temporal relational responding has shown that order judgements are slower and less accurate when reversed. That is, when participants see two events in a sequence (e.g., circle … square), they are quicker to report Before statements (e.g., “Circle before Square”) than After statements (“Square After Circle”). The current examined whether similar differences in reaction time would be observed when participants were required to order responses when provided with Before statements or After statements. That is, when participants are provided with an instruction to choose one stimulus before another (e.g., “Circle before Square”), they will be quicker and more accurate in choosing those two stimuli in a sequence (e.g., circle … square) than if the instruction stated that they were to choose one stimulus after another (“Square After Circle”). Twenty participants were exposed to a series of training phases and then provided with a mixed test consisting of both Before and After instructions. These findings will be discussed in light of current research in relational responding.



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