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.


46th Annual Convention; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Paper Session #248
Comparison of Words and Objects as Tools in Problem-Solving Tasks
Sunday, May 24, 2020
3:30 PM–3:50 PM
Area: DEV
Chair: Maria Elena Rodriguez Perez (University of GUadalajara)
Comparison of Words and Objects as Tools in Problem-Solving Tasks
Domain: Basic Research
MARIA ELENA RODRIGUEZ PEREZ (University of GUadalajara), Gerardo A Ortiz Rueda Rueda (Universidad de Guadalajara-Mexico), Elizabeth Lozano (University of Guadalajara), Carmen Quintana (University of Guadalajara)
Abstract: Objects and words can acquire a tool function in problem-solving tasks if their use meets three criteria: (1) it emphasizes stimulus properties, (2) it extends the organism skills, and (3) it mediates the solution to the problem. In order to compare the tool function of words and objects, a second-order matching to sample task was modified in such a way that a ruler could be used to stablish matching relations related to size (“similar width”, “different height”, etc.). In experiment 1, nine adults (university students) and nine 7-9 year-old-children participated. They were divided into three groups according to the order of training conditions: instrumental training using the ruler, instrumental training while receiving stimuli descriptions, or instrumental training. Results showed that neither the ruler nor the stimuli descriptions promoted correct responding. In experiment 2, a ruler was substituted by a set square. Verbal descriptions were also modified to promote relational responding ( “larger than”). Participants’ performance reached high percentages of correct responses especially when both, objects and words, were included in training. These results suggested that words and objects were equally efficient as tools. When children used them effectively, their performance resembled adult behavior.



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