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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #231
CE Offered: BACB
Variables Affecting Equivalence-Based Instruction and Conceptual Learning
Sunday, May 26, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 201 AB
Area: EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Christopher R Colasurdo (Caldwell University)
CE Instructor: Christopher R Colasurdo, M.A.

Equivalence-based instruction (EBI) uses the principles of stimulus equivalence and derived relations to promote generative learning outcomes in many subject areas. The three talks in this symposium describe studies in which variables related to EBI and conceptual learning more broadly were investigated. The first study examined the effects of group-based EBI on children’s listener and speaker behavior related to six coin-related stimuli (e.g., coin's face, name, and value) using auditory-visual match-to-sample procedures. Results showed successful formation of coin equivalence classes. In the second study, the effects of the stimulus-pairing, yes-no (SPYN) procedure was compared to match-to-sample (MTS) to teach abstract stimuli equivalence classes with adults. Results showed no differential effects on class formation, but training time was significantly longer for participants exposed to SPYN. The third study investigated a type of conceptual learning related to categorizing novel stimuli based on the presence or absence of critical features. Results showed that the most robust conceptual learning was observed following practice with examples and nonexamples that lacked only one critical feature and contained few irrelevant features. Collectively, these studies further our understanding of procedures that can be used to successfully implement EBI specifically, and teach conceptual behavior more broadly.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): conceptual learning, derived relations, stimulus equivalence
Target Audience:

Attendees should have basic understanding of stimulus classes, match to sample procedures, and emergent behavior.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify and potentially implement procedures to establish equivalence classes with young learners; (2) identify and potentially implement equivalence-based instruction procedures using stimulus pairing yes-no response options; (3) identify and potentially implement procedures to establish stimulus classes based on presence or absence of relevant and irrelevant stimulus features.
An Evaluation of Equivalence-Based Instruction for Teaching Coin Identification in a Group Setting
(Applied Research)
XIAOYUAN LIU (Teachers College, Columbia University), Iliana Trevino Contla (Teachers College, Columbia University), Hannah Walker (Teachers College, Columbia University), Daniel Mark Fienup (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Abstract: Equivalence-based instruction (EBI) is an instructional approach that utilizes the principle of stimulus equivalence and derived relations to promote generative learning outcomes in many subject areas. The current study examined the effects of group-based EBI on listener and speaker behavior related to coin classes. Two dyads learned relevant relations and contacted tests for derived relations in a multiple probe design. The relations included six coin-related stimuli, including the coin's face, the coin's name, and the coin's value. The researchers directly taught two relations in dyads using auditory-visual match-to-sample procedures and measured the participants' performance for 16 relations both before and after the implementation of EBI. The results demonstrated that second-grade participants successfully responded in accordance with coin equivalence classes. The findings of the present study suggest that EBI is an effective and efficient instructional approach to teaching elementary-level math curricular content. The outcomes are discussed in terms of the participant’s verbal behavior.

Comparing the Stimulus-Pairing Yes/No Procedure to Match-to-Sample to Establish Equivalence Classes With Adults

(Basic Research)
SARAH AMY HENSEL (Caldwell University), Alexandra Cicero (University of Nebraska Medical Center- Munroe Meyer Institute ), Christopher R Colasurdo (Caldwell University), KENNETH F. REEVE (Caldwell University), Karly Stepper (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University)

The purpose of the present study was to compare the effectiveness and efficiency of match-to-sample (MTS) to the stimulus-pairing yes/no procedure (SPYN) to establish equivalence classes. During SPYN trials, two stimuli are presented during a trial. Stimulus pairs from the same class should occasion selection of the YES response option, while stimulus pairs from different classes should occasion selection of NO. A pretest-train-posttest sequence was used. During the pretest and posttest, both MTS and SPYN trials were used to assess all trained and derived relations. We also assessed the degree to which class-consistent responding would generalize to a card sorting task. During training of baseline relations, half of the participants were exposed only to MTS or only SPYN trials. Posttest results showed that the trial format used to train the baseline relations had no differential effects on class formation; however, participants exposed to MTS training mastered the baseline relations in fewer trials and required less time than those in the SPYN group. Implications of these results and suggestions for future studies are discussed.

The Type of Nonexamples and Number of Irrelevant Features Impact Conceptual Learning
(Basic Research)
REBECCA WOODARD (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Catherine Williams (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: A form of conceptual learning occurs when students categorize novel stimuli with all critical features as examples and those missing any critical feature as nonexamples, regardless of the presence or absence of noncritical, irrelevant features. By practicing identifying examples and nonexamples and receiving feedback on their selections, students can learn concepts. However, it is unclear what examples and nonexamples should be used during practice to produce the most robust conceptual learning. In these experiments, we evaluated conceptual learning before and after two kinds of practice: 1) examples and nonexamples missing all three critical features and 2) examples and nonexamples missing only one critical feature. Across experiments, we also compared conceptual learning following practice with stimuli containing many irrelevant features to practice containing stimuli with few irrelevant features. The most robust conceptual learning was observed following practice with examples and nonexamples that lacked only one critical feature and contained few irrelevant features. The difference between practice conditions was most pronounced when conceptual learning was tested using examples and nonexamples that lacked exactly one critical feature and had many irrelevant features.



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