Association for Behavior Analysis International

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47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

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Symposium #282
CE Offered: BACB
Equivalence Class Formation: Reaction Time and Sorting Performance
Sunday, May 30, 2021
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Online
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Erik Arntzen (Oslo Metropolitan University)
CE Instructor: Erik Arntzen, Ph.D.
Abstract:

In the first paper, Palmer et al. trained students diagnosed with autism visual-visual matching-to-sample relations with meaningful stimuli, plus employing a class-specific prompt (colors) for different classes. Testing, after the prompt was gradually faded, documented the formation of equivalence classes and further testing the showed that prompts became members of relevant equivalence class. The second paper by Arntzen et al. include two experiments, one with three 5-members and the other with four 4-member to-be-formed classes. In the sorting tests, either five or four novel stimuli, respectively, were presented together with the trained stimuli. The results showed that more participants in first than the second experiment sorted the stimuli in a new class. The third paper by Vaidya and Silguero show that when creating equivalence classes showed a slower reaction time to incongruent compounds relative to congruent compounds providing a partial replication of the Stroop Effect with laboratory-created equivalence classes. Finally, Fields and Belanich used three-dimensional abstract objects and the simple-to-complex protocol to establish two 3-member equivalence classes in a linear series structure. Initial reaction times were long for the baseline trials, much shorter for the symmetry probes, of intermediate duration for the transitivity probes, and shortest for the equivalence probes.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): reaction time, sorting, stimulus equivalence, stroop
Target Audience:

Intermediate level. People attending need some basic knowledge about emergent relations.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) to know the processes of expanding equivalence classes, (2) understand how sorting performance and equivalence classes are related; (3) to know how reaction time is a function of different features of stimulus equivalence.
 

The Inclusion of Prompts in Equivalence Classes: A Systematic Replication With Individuals Diagnosed With Autism

SIMONE PALMER (Simmons University), Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College), Karen M. Lionello-DeNolf (Assumption College), Paula Ribeiro Braga-Kenyon (Kadiant)
Abstract:

According to Sidman (2000), all positive elements of a contingency should join equivalence classes. Research has verified this outcome by testing if sample and comparison stimuli, responses, reinforcers, and prompts becoming members of equivalence classes. Prompts as a component to errorless instruction, are supplementary stimuli to occasion the correct response, becoming another positive element in a contingency. The present experiment taught students diagnosed with autism visual-visual matching-to-sample relations with meaningful stimuli (i.e., US states). Class formation was tested using a sorting procedure and functioned as a pre-test/post-test design. Initially, the S+ stimulus on each trial was highlighted using a class-specific prompt (i.e., colors: class 1 = blue; class 2 = red; class 3 = yellow). Contingent on correct responding, the prompt was systematically faded until nine conditional discriminations were acquired, in the absence of the color prompt (A1-B1; A2-B2; A3-B3; A1-C1; A2-C2; A3-C3; D1-D1; D2-D2; and D3-D3). Following training, testing documented the formation of 3-four member equivalence classes. Subsequent testing revealed that the class-specific prompts (i.e., colors) became members of relevant equivalence class, established during training and testing, and expanded the classes to five members. Implications for teaching students with developmental disabilities and increased efficacy of instruction are discussed.

 
Clustering of Stimuli when Novel Stimuli are Presented in Sorting Test
ERIK ARNTZEN (Oslo Metropolitan University), Anne Westgård (SIV), Anders Dechsling (Østfold University College)
Abstract: The present study includes two experiments with a focus on introducing novel stimuli in a sorting test. Both experiments used a Many-to-One training structure to train necessary conditional discriminations. In the first experiment, 30 participants trained 12 conditional discriminations as a baseline for testing the emergence of three 5-member equivalence classes. In the second experiment, eight participants trained 12 conditional discriminations as a baseline for testing the emergence of four 4-member classes. Stimuli in both experiments were abstract shapes. Both experiments employed the same arrangement of conditions; novel stimuli were presented in a sorting test after MTS training or after MTS training and testing. The main findings were that in the first experiment, 80% of the participants sorted the novel stimuli in a separate class when the sorting test was presented immediately after the MTS training, while 33% sorted the novel stimuli in a separate class when the sorting test was presented after the MTS training and testing (see Figure 1). In the second experiment, it was a 50–50 % distribution of participants depending on sorting immediately after the MTS training or after MTS training and testing.
 

Toward a Behavioral Interpretation of the Stroop Effect

MANISH VAIDYA (University of North Texas), Russell Silguero (UNT)
Abstract:

The original demonstration of the Stroop Effect found that participants’ reaction times to name a color (e.g., GREEN) was slower when the color and the color name were incongruent than when they were congruent. The robust effect has been documented numerous times across many laboratories. More recently, Vaidya & Brackney (2014) documented the slower acquisition of simple discriminations when the stimuli involved came from different equivalence classes than when they came from the same equivalence class. These data suggest that class-based conflict or cohesion may play a role in organizing the behavior of interest in these studies. In this study, we created equivalence classes comprising arbitrary stimuli and measured reaction times to class-congruent and class-incongruent compounds. The results showed a slower reaction time to incongruent compounds relative to congruent compounds providing a partial replication of the Stroop Effect with laboratory-created equivalence classes. This presentation will present some data and explore the possibility of interpreting the Stroop Effect in terms of cohesion or conflict among elements of naturally occurring equivalence classes.

 

Reaction Times and Observing of Sample and Comparison Stimuli During Tactual Equivalence Class Formation

LANNY FIELDS (Queens College, City University of New York), James Belanich (Institute for Defense Analyses)
Abstract:

Three-dimensional abstract objects labelled A, B, and C, matching-to-sample trials and the simple to complex protocol were used to establish two 3-member equivalence classes with A?B?C training structures. Participants “observed” the samples and comparisons by touch only. Classes emerged immediately for one participant and with a delay for the other, with errors occurring in the transitivity tests only. Even with errorless comparison-selection, reaction time (RT) duration and observing-response frequency across trial repetition declined systematically for most relational types. Since RTs and observing-responses were highly correlated, changes in the former most likely was driven by the latter. Initial RTs were long for the baseline trials, much shorter for the symmetry probes, of intermediate duration for the transitivity probes, and shortest for the equivalence probes. For all relational types, however, RTs dropped to the same asymptotic level with trial repetition. Many more observing-responses occurred to samples than comparisons. Immediate passage of AC transitivity tests was preceded by relatively high frequencies of sample-observing in prior BA, BC, and CB probes. When the AC probes were not passed, they were preceded by much lower levels of sample-observing. Thus, sample-observing was predictive of accurate performances on transitivity tests.

 

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