Association for Behavior Analysis International

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45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

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Symposium #312
CE Offered: BACB
Stimulus Equivalence: Conceptual and Experimental Issues
Sunday, May 26, 2019
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich E-G
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Erik Arntzen (Oslo Metropolitan University)
Discussant: Abdulrazaq A. Imam (John Carroll University)
CE Instructor: Erik Arntzen, Ph.D.
Abstract: The first paper is by Arntzen, Nordenstam, and Fields. They present an experiment in which college students were trained 12 conditional discriminations (ABCDE) followed by a sorting test and a simple discrimination of C stimuli and finally a test for emergent relations. The main findings were a 100% correspondence between sorting and MTS performance, and all participants sorted correctly after an extension of stimulus classes. The second paper by Vilela and Tomanari present an experiment exploring the effect of delayed matching-to-sample with the focus on parameters of eye-fixation. They found that the longer exposure to the sample stimuli in an MTS task may be not enough to explain the differences observed in the establishment of equivalence classes in DMTS compared to SMTS tasks. Fields and Arntzen in third paper discuss the use of the percentage of participants in a group who form equivalence classes. They argue that many of the critiques raised are about other factors that are essential in the measurement of class formation. The last paper by Vaidya discusses the definition of equivalence classes. The presentation will describe important aspects of developments in Sidman’s conceptualization of equivalence relations.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): conceptual, experimental, stimulus equivalence
Target Audience: Researchers, students
Learning Objectives: Participants will by the end of the symposium be able to talk about (1) sorting as measurement for class formation, (2) the role of eye-fixations, (3) arguments why yields are important in equivalence class formation, and (4) definitions on stimulus equivalence.
 
Extension of Stimulus Classes
(Basic Research)
ERIK ARNTZEN (Oslo and Akershus University College), Constanse Nordenstam (Oslo Metropolitan University), Lanny Fields (Queens College, City University of New York)
Abstract: The correspondence between performance on class-formation sorting test (CFST) and matching-to-sample (MTS) test have been shown in many recent experiments. The present experiment expands the knowledge by studying sorting performance after extending stimulus classes by including a simple discrimination training. Twenty participants trained 12 conditional discriminations with a linear series training structure (ABCDE).The training was followed by a CFST. Then, they were exposed to an extension training with simple discrimination of the C stimuli. In the presence of C1, C2, and C3, they had to click 3, 5, and 7 times, respectively. The numbers 3, 5, and 7 were used as F stimuli in a test block including AF, BF, DF, and EF. The participants were assigned into two different groups. Half of the participants were exposed to MTS testing and a CFST, while the other half of participants were exposed to CFST, MTS test, and CFST. Half of the participants were exposed to MTS testing and CFST, while the other half of the participants were exposed to CFST, MTS testing, and CFST. The main findings were a 100% correspondence between sorting and MTS performance, and all participants sorted correctly after an extension of stimulus classes (see Table 1).
 

The Effects of Delayed Momentary Time Sampling Tasks on the Establishment of Equivalence Classes and on the Parameters of Eye Fixations

(Basic Research)
Eduardo Vilela (University of Sao Paulo), GERSON YUKIO TOMANARI (Universidade de Sao Paulo)
Abstract:

Data have suggested that delayed MTS (DMTS) is more effective in establishing equivalence classes than simultaneous MTS (SMTS), in addition to providing stronger associations among stimuli within classes. A possible explanation for these results is that the delay allows the participant to be exposed to the sample stimuli for longer time. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of different delays in MTS tasks on the formation of equivalence classes and on temporal parameters of eye fixations regarding the sample stimuli as assessed by eye-tracking apparatus. Nine undergraduate students were exposed to a conditional discrimination training in order to establish classes A1B1C1, A2B2C2, A3B3C3 and A4B4C4. Each of these classes was associated with one of the following condition: SMTS and DMTS (delay 0 s, 2 s and 4 s). Seven participants demonstrated the formation of stimulus classes. Regarding eye tracking, no remarkable differences had been observed regarding the fixations to the sample stimuli during the acquisition of conditional discriminations as well as during equivalence tests in any of the experimental conditions.These results suggest, therefore, that the longer exposure to the sample stimuli in a MTS task may be not enough to explain the differences observed in the establishment of equivalence classes in DMTS compared to SMTS tasks.

 
Yield as an Essential Measure of Equivalence Class Formation
(Theory)
LANNY FIELDS (Queens College, City University of New York), Erik Arntzen (Oslo Metropolitan University)
Abstract: “Yield”, the percentage of participants in a group who form a set of targeted equivalence classes, has been used to discover many variables that enhance the immediate emergence of equivalence classes. Additionally, yield is now being used increasingly to document the formation of educationally relevant equivalence classes. Recently, however, six criticisms have been raised regarding the appropriateness of using yield to study equivalence class formation. An analysis of each critique suggests that (i) none are supportable, (ii) yield cannot be replaced with trial-based measurements of stimulus control topographies that influence responding during or after class formation, and (iii) both yield and trial-based measures of performance are needed to provide a comprehensive understanding of equivalence class formation. Further, many of these critiques are really about other factors that play critical roles in the measurement of class formation.
 

On the Definition of Stimulus Equivalence: Current Status and Future Directions

(Theory)
MANISH VAIDYA (University of North Texas)
Abstract:

Theoretical developments in the inductive sciences come about when a sufficient amount of data has been collected to warrant a conceptual organization or reorganization of known empirical facts. When cast precisely, theories can also delimit their domain and, thus, serve to create the conditions for their modification and development. Sidman’s (1994 and 2000) papers serve as excellent examples of this kind of theory making. In this address, I will attempt to describe how developments in Sidman’s conceptualization of equivalence relations have created the conditions for a re-evaluation of the procedures and criteria by which equivalence relations are assayed and measured. In brief, Sidman’s recognition that equivalence relations include all positive members of a contingency or reinforcement allows for the possibility that equivalence relations can emerge from systematically arranged two- and three-term contingencies. This presentation will explore the implications of this shift in thinking for how equivalence relations are defined and measured.

 

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