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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #357
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research on Stimulus Equivalence
Monday, May 26, 2014
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
W185bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Megan D. Aclan (The Chicago School, Los Angeles)
Discussant: Linda A. LeBlanc (Trumpet Behavioral Health)
CE Instructor: Megan D. Aclan, Ph.D.

Stimulus equivalence is a critical area of human learning, with broad implications for the analysis of language, cognition, and other areas of complex human behavior. Although much is known about stimulus equivalence classes and how they are formed, much research is still needed on the breadth of repertoires to which stimulus equivalence applies, how equivalence can be more effectively established, and on the application of stimulus equivalence technology to topics conventionally relegated to the cognitive and educational domains, such as analogical reasoning. The papers contained in the current symposium address these challenges. The first paper investigates the effects of differential tact training on the emergence of untrained analogical reasoning relations. The second paper uses tact training of class consistent compounds to investigate the emergence of analogical relations. The third paper uses a stimulus equivalence paradigm to conduct a behavioral investigation into learning styles. The fourth paper evaluates the effectiveness of a novel training procedure by comparing it to the standard match-to-sample equivalence training procedure. The symposium concludes with a discussion by Dr. Linda LeBlanc.

Keyword(s): analogy, derived relations, learning styles, stimulus equivalence

The Effects of Differential Tact Training of Stimulus Components on the Emergence of Analogical Reasoning

KELLY QUAH (California State University, Sacramento), Charisse Ann Lantaya (California State University, Sacramento), Careen Suzanne Meyer (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)

The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of differential tact training of stimulus components in the emergence of analogical reasoning. Six undergraduate students were initially trained to tact the images individually as "vek" and "zog" and then were taught to tact compound stimuli as "same" for compound stimuli consisting of images from the same class membership and "different" for compound stimuli consisting of images from different class membership. Participants were then presented with tact and matching-to-sample analogy test consistent with symmetry (BA and CB) and transitivity (AC and CA). Lastly, participants were tested on equivalence class formation across the individual stimuli. All six participants successfully completed the tact and analogy tests without requiring any remedial training. Results show that teaching the participants to name the stimuli individually established discriminative control of the individual components into two separate classes. Verbal reports suggested that when presented with a new compound stimuli, the participants engaged in the intraverbal mediation (e.g., when shown A1C2 the participants will say vek-zog is different) to determine the relations between the stimuli.


Developing Analogical Reasoning via Common Tact Training of Class-consistent Compounds

CHARISSE ANN LANTAYA (California State University, Sacramento), Danielle Lise LaFrance (California State University, Sacramento), Sarah Dickman (Marcus Autism Center), Jonathan Fernand (University of Florida), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)

Attempts to teach analogical reasoning via speaker training alone have produced mixed results, possibly due to the merger of stimulus classes. The purpose of the current study was to control for the possibility that a common reinforcer for tact training of class consistent and class inconsistent compounds would produce non-differential responding on matching-to-sample analogy tests. Six college students were trained to tact AB and BC compounds as "same" if stimuli were of the same class membership and trained to not respond to figures from a different class membership, (e.g., A1B1 as "same" and A1B2 as "different"). Tests of tacts and then analogies (matching compounds) followed. These tact and analogy tests were presented across the compounds consistent with symmetry (BA and CB) and transitivity (AC and CA). Lastly, the participants were exposed to a matching-to-sample task to assess the emergence of equivalence class formation across individual components. Three out of six participants successfully demonstrated all emergent relations. Three participants required remedial training and following the training successfully demonstrated responding to tact and analogy tests of transitivity compounds. Findings thus far suggest the possibility that the common reinforcer in previous studies may have served as a confound.


A Comparison of Visual Versus Auditory Match-to-sample in Establishing Stimulus Equivalence: A Behavioral Evaluation of Learning Styles

TAMMY FRINCU (Chicago School for Professional Psychology), Jonathan J. Tarbox (Autism Research Group, Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), Rachel Findel (Intercare Therapy, Inc.)

There is currently a high social interest in the area of "learning styles," particularly in the field of education. Although much attention is paid to identifying and tailoring instruction to individual's specific learning styles, there is very little empirical support regarding learning styles. Although the concept of learning styles is popular in education, little behavior analytic research has attempted to directly address it. The purpose of the current investigation was to bridge the gap between the lack of research in the area of learning styles with the wide body of behavior analytic research on skill acquisition. Specifically, the current investigation empirically evaluated the effects of stimulus presentation and response requirement on the emergence of derived equivalence relations in typically developing adults. The outcomes will be discussed with respect to the established learning theories and styles, potential impact on traditional educational settings, and directions for future research and practice.


Comparison of Two Stimulus Equivalence Training Procedures

MEGAN D. ACLAN (The Chicago School, Los Angeles), Jonathan J. Tarbox (Autism Research Group, Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), Rachel Findel (Intercare Therapy, Inc.)

Derived relational responding in general, and derived stimulus equivalence in particular, are critical ways in which verbally competent humans demonstrate the application of learning to new and important contexts. The most common approach to teaching equivalence relations is through match-to-sample discrimination training, wherein correct responses to discriminative stimuli are positively reinforced. However, there is limited research on other discrimination training methods for establishing derived equivalence relations. One particular approach that has not been previously investigated is to teach learners to identify "non-examples" of the discrimination being taught, that is, reinforcing selection of incorrect choices when presented with an instruction such as "choose an option that is not an example of X." Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to compare this modified discrimination training procedure to traditional match-to-sample training, in terms of their relative effectiveness in establishing derived equivalence relations. In addition, a stimulus generalization test was included to compare the relative effectiveness of the two procedures in establishing stimulus generalization of derived relations.




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