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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #177
Test Procedures and Equivalence Class Formation
Sunday, May 24, 2015
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
007A (CC)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Christoffer K. Eilifsen (Oslo and Akershus University College)
Discussant: Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: In studies of stimulus equivalence, tests for equivalence class formation are commonly presented to participants immediately following the establishment of sets of conditional discriminations. Despite the absence of any programmed consequences in such tests, several studies have reported response patterns indicating that the test arrangement may involve events affecting the participants’ performances. For example, some researchers have reported data indicating class consistent responding different from the experimenter-defined classes. Others have reported response patterns indicating so-called gradual or delayed emergence of equivalence classes. The current symposium presents two studies with adult participants that investigate the effects of different test formats on equivalence class formation. The first study looks at the effect of extended testing and repeated test administration immediately following conditional discrimination training. In this study, the participants experienced 1500 test trials without programmed consequences. The second study investigates the effects of test experience on the long-term maintenance of stimulus control related to conditional discriminations and stimulus equivalence classes. Such retention of stimulus classes is investigated by either including or omitting the commonly administered stimulus equivalence test immediately following the establishment of prerequisite conditional discriminations, and subsequently assessing stimulus equivalence performance two and four weeks later.
Keyword(s): Conditional discrimination, Matching-to-sample, Stimulus equivalence, Test format
The Effects of Extended Testing on Equivalence Class Formation
TORUNN LIAN (Oslo and Akershus University College), Erik Arntzen (Oslo and Akershus University College )
Abstract: The present study investigates the effects of extended testing with two different test arrangements. The participants experienced conditional discrimination training with three 5-member experimenter-defined classes. Following training, they experienced test for equivalence class formation. In Experiment 1, the participants experienced symmetry, transitivity and equivalence test trials in random order with baseline conditional discriminations interspersed. Each trial type was presented five times, constituting a total of 300 test trials. The test was repeated five times, all together 1500 test trials in extinction. In Experiment 2, the participants experienced tests without the baseline conditional discriminations interspersed. Each trial type was presented 5 times within each test, constituting a total of 1200 test trials in extinction. The participants who performed consistently in accordance with the experimenter-defined classes in the first test also did so in the following tests. In some participants, equivalence class formation occurred only after repeated exposure to test trials. These response patterns indicate so-called delayed emergence of equivalence classes. When participants experienced testing without baseline conditional discriminations interspersed in Experiment 2, less participants demonstrated delayed emergence, but an increased accuracy throughout repeated testing was observed in several participants. An appropriate account for these performances will be discussed.
The Effects of Immediate Testing on the Long-Term Maintenance of Stimulus Equivalence Classes
CHRISTOFFER K. EILIFSEN (Oslo and Akershus University College), Erik Arntzen (Oslo and Akershus University College )
Abstract: While studies of the establishment of relational responding are common, the maintenance of such responding over time is less explored. A previous study from our lab assessed responding in line with trained conditional discriminations and stimulus equivalence in mixed tests in extinction conditions at several retention points over a month. Participants who responded in accordance with stimulus equivalence immediately following conditional discrimination establishment, continued to do so on maintenance tests. Participants who in the same initial test responded in line with only the trained relations did not respond in line with any relational types on later tests. To further explore this finding, the current study omitted or included stimulus equivalence tests immediately following one-to-many training across different adult participants. All participants where then tested for trained and derived relations two and four weeks later. Preliminary results show participants in both groups responding in accordance with stimulus equivalence. Stimulus equivalence performance seems slightly more likely over time if tested immediately, at least if looking at performance in the second half of the two-week test. For several participants, performance seems to be more in line with the experimenter-defined stimulus classes in the four-week test compared to the two-week test.



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