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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #152
Facilitating the Induction of Equivalence Classes and Emergence of Derived Comparative Relations
Sunday, May 30, 2010
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Lone Star Ballroom Salon C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Anita Munnelly (Swansea University)
Abstract: This symposium will present the most current research on stimulus class relations, derived comparative relations and training structures. The four different papers will introduce the audience into new procedures to establish equivalence classes and comparative relations using different types of training structures. Each paper presents findings from basic research with humans on equivalence classes, nodal distance, speed contingencies, comparative relations (more-than/less-than), transitive inference, testing protocols, class size, and training structures.
Nodal Distance Effects After Equivalence Class Formation With Two and Three Comparisons
PATRICIA A. MOSS (Westchester Institute for Human Development), Lanny Fields (Queens College, The University of New York)
Abstract: Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of nodal distance using within-class preference tests. In Experiment 1, two 2-node 4-member equivalence classes were established using the simultaneous protocol. In this procedure all of the baseline relations were trained together, after which all emergent relations probes were presented together. During equivalence class training and testing, trials were presented using match-to-sample trials that contained two comparisons. After class formation, the within-class preference tests yielded inconsistent test performances. Thus, the nodal distance that separated the stimuli in the class did not influence the strength of the relations among the stimuli in the class. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 with one exception; A third comparison was used in the establishment of the two equivalence classes under the simultaneous protocol. The subsequent within-class probes then produced the immediate emergence of performances that were consistent with the predicted effects of nodal distance. The strength of each relation among the stimuli in the class was an inverse function of nodal distance.
Training Structures and Speed Contingencies in the Acquisition of Equivalence Classes in College Students and Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities
YORS A. GARCIA (Southern Illinois University), Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The current study compares four different conditions to establish equivalence classes in college students. All participants in the four experimental conditions were taught four 3-members stimulus classes via conditional discriminations followed by symmetry and equivalence test. In one condition participants were exposed to a one-to-many (OTM) training structure (AB, AC, and AD). In a second condition participants were exposed to a many-to-one (MTO) training structure (BA, CA, and DA). In the third condition participants received OTM training with a time requirement. In the fourth condition participants received MTO training with a time requirement. Preliminary data suggest that there was not significant performance differences produced by each of the four conditions. In a second experiment both OTM and MTO training structures were implemented in counterbalanced order to teach mathematical relations to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Some of the applied implications of the training structures are discussed.
Forming Equivalence Classes With Trace Stimulus Pairing Trials and a Response Window
ERICA DORAN (The Graduate Center of the City University of New York), Lanny Fields (Queens College, The University of New York), Ariel Nemzeyano (Queens College, The University of New York), Inna Prehogan (Queens College, The University of New York), Jack Spear (The Graduate School of the City University of New York), Robert Travis (The Graduate Center of the City University of New York), Aaron Krakowski (The Graduate School of the City University of New York), John Foxe (City College of New York)
Abstract: A new protocol for establishing equivalence classes will be described and then discussed from two contexts: (a) the explanatory strength of equivalence classes to account for complex human behavior, and (b) the utility of this procedure for studying the neural concomitants of equivalence class formation. Typically, equivalence classes are formed using simultaneous matching to sample trials where samples evoke observing responses, samples and comparisons are concurrently present, and participants respond in the presence of those stimuli. We describe a procedure where trials consist of a sample that terminates before the presentation of a single comparison, and both terminate automatically. In addition, responding occurs during cued time window presented for after termination of the comparison. All training and testing trials contained a sample and comparison from the same or different classes. A YES response to same-class trials and a NO response to different-class are class indicative. Baselines were acquired rapidly and untrained relations emerged immediately, thus demonstrating the formation of 3-member classes (A-B-C) after training AB and BC, and the expansion of class size to 4 members (A-B-C-D) after training CD. Fourteen of the 16 participants formed the 3-member classes while the other two failed the transitivity tests. The 14 then showed expansion to the 4-member classes. Maintenance of class expansion was sometimes disrupted by the elimination of the relations from the 3-member classes.
Relational Reasoning With Derived Comparative Relations: Effects of Training and Testing Structure
ANITA MUNNELLY (Swansea University), Simon Dymond (Swansea University)
Abstract: Two experiments were designed to examine the effects of training and testing structure on relational reasoning with derived comparative relations (more-than/less-than). Experiment 1 compared two training schedules for establishing a five-series relational network. Phase 1 consisted of nonarbitrary relational training and testing. In Phase 2, arbitrary relational training and testing, participants were trained with either all-more than (E, D, C, B, A) or all-less than (A, B, C, D, E) relations. Both groups were then tested on trained, mutually entailed and one- and two-node combinatorial entailed relations. Findings demonstrated no differences in accuracy between the groups on any of the relations. Experiment 2 investigated the potential facilitative effects of a variant of the simple-to-complex testing protocol. Following arbitrary relational training, probes were presented in a sequential fashion, with mutual entailment tested first followed by test for combinatorial entailment. Findings indicate a facilitative effect of the sequential testing protocol on derived relational responding with comparative relations. The potential implications of a relational frame model of transitive inference involving derived comparative relations will be discussed.



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