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 #452
Innovative methods in the study of conditional discrimination and the development of equivalence relations.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
007A (CC)
Area: EAB/TPC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
Discussant: Richard W. Serna (University of Massachusetts Lowell)

A casual perusal of the history of science shows that progressively sophisticated and subtle understanding of a subject matter depends on our ability to ask increasingly sophisticated and pointed questions about the subject matter. The presentations in the proposed symposium represent novel approaches to the study of conditional discrimination learning and equivalence class formation. Lantaya and colleagues report on the effectiveness of a go/no-go procedure in producing equivalence-consistent responding with undergraduate students. Silguero & Vaidya report on the conditions under which stimuli used as consequences will or will not become a part of the equivalence relation. Meyer and colleagues report on the effectiveness of training a common vocal response to multiple stimuli on the likelihood of equivalence relations among those stimuli. Finally, Marchini and Vaidya report on the use of an alternative to eye-tracking to study patterns of observing in conditional discrimination learning. The use of alternative methods can simultaneously confirm or challenge existing interpretive frames. The symposium will provide an opportunity to explore this issue.

Keyword(s): Conditional Discrimination, Human participants, Novel methods, Stimulus Equivalence
An Evaluation of Successive Matching in the Development of Emergent Stimulus Relations
CHARISSE ANN LANTAYA (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento), Timothy G. Howland (University of Nevada, Reno), Danielle LaFrance (H.O.P.E. Consulting, LLC), Adrienne Jennings (California State University Sacramento), Danielle Hernandez (HOPE Consulting, LLC), Scott Page (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: Traditionally, behavior analysts have studied stimulus equivalence using a matching-to-sample (MTS) preparation. While researchers have demonstrated the utility of MTS to produce conditional discriminations or equivalence classes, MTS requires several prerequisite skills for a learner to accurately respond to a MTS trial. Without these prerequisites, MTS may produce faulty stimulus control. Studies generated from basic research demonstrated that alternatives to MTS might produce equivalence (e.g., go/no-go, successive matching-to-sample). Thus, the purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effectiveness of successive matching-to-sample (S-MTS) adapted from Frank and Wasserman (2005) as an alternative method in establishing emergent stimulus relations with adults. S-MTS trials consist of the presentation of a single sample stimulus followed by one comparison stimulus on a fixed location on the screen. Dependent on the relation of the sample stimulus and comparison stimulus, the participant either responds (i.e., go) or does not respond (i.e., no-go) to the comparison stimulus. Results demonstrate the utility of S-MTS to produce equivalence classes with one out of three Psychology undergraduate participants. The remaining two participants required remedial training to respond to transitivity relations. Future studies should continue to investigate S-MTS as an alternative to the traditional MTS procedure.
Investigating the conditions under which consequences become a part of the equivalence class
RUSSELL SILGUERO (University of North Texas), Manish Vaidya (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The present study began as an attempt to replicate Minster et al. (2006) study which showed that reinforcers that were common across two sets of contingencies did not drop out of the equivalence relation. Initial failures to replicate this study led to an investigation of the conditions under which stimuli used as consequences in an MTS procedure do or do not become a part of the equivalence class comprising the other stimulus elements. Some of the variables manipulated include familiarity with the contingency elements, types of behavioral consequence, the use of rules or instructions, and the placement of probe trials relative to training trials. Students interacted with a computer program which presented a symbolic match-to-sample task. Depending upon trial type, correct responding earned entries into a drawing for money, movie tickets, and candy. These consequences were indicated with an image of the respective consequence. After baseline performance met criteria, probes trials assessed whether the images signaling behavioral consequences now served as effective sample or comparison stimuli. Data show that the likelihood that consequences will become a part of the equivalence relation is sensitive to particular aspects of the match-to-sample procedure.
The Effects of Common Vocal Responses on the Emergence of Equivalence-Equivalence Relations
CAREEN SUZANNE MEYER (California State University, Sacramento), Adrienne Jennings (California State University Sacramento), Timothy G. Howland (University of Nevada, Reno), Danielle LaFrance (California State University, Sacramento), Charisse Ann Lantaya (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: Previous research suggests that equivalence-equivalence responding, can be produced in the laboratory via training of common vocal responses to stimulus compounds, as long as participants can also differentially respond to separate components. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of tact training of individual components on the emergence of equivalence-equivalence responding. Eight undergraduate students were presented with individual images belonging to one of two three-member classes, and trained to respond to stimuli from class one as “vek” and class two as “zog.” Participants were then presented with tests for emergence of novel vocal responses and equivalence-equivalence responding consistent with symmetry and transitivity. Six participants passed all tests without remedial training. Results suggest that for some participants, vocal response training was sufficient was sufficient for establishing discriminative control over components and led to stimulus class formation.
Can patterns of sample and comparison-stimulus observing predict performance on conditional discrimination probes?
KEVIN MARCHINI (University of North Texas), Manish Vaidya (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The use of eye-tracking technology has increased in recent years in a wide range of research; however, there are a number of drawbacks including cost and efficiency. Marchini and Vaidya (2013) developed an alternative to eye-tracking technology that produced results similar to traditional eye-tracking methods on facial recognition and was more economical and efficient. The current experiment studied acquisition and maintenance of a 4-ply conditional discrimination. Performance was either established via prompts or feedback. As reported by Vaidya & Hayashi (2010; 2012), prompt conditions facilitated acquisition relative to feedback but feedback conditions produced better results on probe trials presented without prompts or programmed consequences. The current study allowed us to identify the mechanism of this effect by measuring the patterns with which subjects viewed sample or comparison stimuli during the acquisition. Preliminary data support Vaidya & Hayashi’s interpretation that, during prompt conditions, participants turn the task into an identity matching task by differentially viewing the comparison longer than the sample. These data suggest that the drop in accuracy from training to testing for the prompted trials is the result of the relative neglect of sample stimuli.



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