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 #258
CE Offered: BACB
Equivalence Class Formation Under Various Training and Testing Procedural Variables: Recent Research and a Review of the Literature
Sunday, May 26, 2024
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 201 AB
Area: EAB/EDC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: KENNETH F. REEVE (Caldwell University)
CE Instructor: Kenneth F. Reeve, Ph.D.
Abstract: In this symposium, the first two talks involve basic research studies that address the role of specific procedural variables on the formation of equivalence classes. In the first paper presented, the authors examined whether either mastering or not mastering baseline relations training prior to testing for derived relations affected class formation. This study also evaluated whether meaningfulness of the stimuli during this procedure had an effect. In the second paper, the authors investigated the phenomenon of delayed emergence of equivalence classes by presenting either a full test involving all emergent properties or a test for a subset of the ordered stimulus pairs constituting an equivalence relation (symmetry, transitivity, and equivalence). They also examined whether testing with or without baseline relations interspersed in the test block would affect delayed emergence of equivalence classes. The third talk is a review of the literature concerning studies in which active responding was not required to establish equivalence classes. Although most equivalence studies involve match-to-sample (MTS) trials, the studies reviewed concerned either respondent-type or observational learning. Collectively, these papers further our understanding of training and testing procedures that affect derived relational responding and equivalence class formation.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): derived relations, stimulus equivalence
Target Audience: Attendees should have a basic understanding of match-to-sample procedures, stimulus equivalence, and derived relational responding.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify procedural variations of mastery of baseline relations to establish derived relations in equivalence class formation; (2) identify procedural variations in testing that may affect the delayed emergence of equivalence classes; (3) identify methods for establishing equivalence classes with non-active responding.

Analyzing the Learning of Arbitrary Stimulus Relations Under Less Stringent Contingencies

RAMON MARIN (Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil), Daphne Odeh (Teachers College, Columbia University), Daniel Mark Fienup (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Equivalence researchers teach baseline relations to mastery before testing for derived relations. However, this arrangement may not occur in naturalistic environments, where opportunities to derive relations may occur before mastering baseline relations. To examine this further, we assessed (a) whether participants would learn and derive arbitrary relations in a less stringent condition and (b) how familiar pictures affect the learning process in this condition. Twenty students were assigned to one of two experimental conditions. In both, nine baseline relations (AB, BC, CD for Classes 1, 2, and 3) were taught in a 27-trial block of matching-to-sample trials. Regardless their performance in teaching blocks, participants performed a 54-trial testing block to assess the emergence of 15 relations (BA, CB, CA, DB, DA) and the maintenance of baseline relations. All stimuli in Condition 1 were abstract pictures; Set A stimuli in Condition 2 were three familiar pictures (a bee, an airplane, and a house). Participants repeated the training-testing cycles until they reached 100% accuracy in testing, or up to two hours. Eight participants in each condition showed the emergence of programmed equivalence classes. Results suggest that familiar pictures facilitated improvement of baseline performance and, consequently, the emergence of untaught relations.

Delayed Emergence of Equivalence Classes and Tests for Ordered Pairs
TORUNN LIAN (OsloMet), Erik Arntzen (Oslo Metropolitan University)
Abstract: Delayed emergence of equivalence classes is an often observed, sometimes reported, and theoretically discussed phenomenon. The present experiment aimed to experimentally investigate the phenomenon. More specifically, we examined the effects of arranging either full test involving all emergent properties or test for just some of the ordered pairs of events constituting an equivalence relation (symmetry, transitivity, and equivalence). Furthermore, we wanted to examine whether test with and without baseline relations interspersed would influence delayed emergence. In an MTS format participants experienced a simultaneous training and test protocol with three potential 5-member classes. The participants were quasi-randomly assigned to eight different test conditions. Each test consisted of two test blocks in which each trial type was presented five times. Results show that more participants showed delayed emergence in the symmetry tests compared to the full test or test for other ordered pairs. In total, however, relatively few participants showed delayed emergence. Directions for further investigations will be discussed.
Establishing Equivalence Relations in the Absence of Active Responding: A Systematic Review of the Literature
CHRISTOPHER R COLASURDO (Caldwell University), KENNETH F. REEVE (Caldwell University), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Adrienne Jennings (Daemen University)
Abstract: Match-to-sample (MTS) trials are typically used during equivalence class formation in which selection of a comparison stimulus occurs in the presence of a sample. Various studies have also demonstrated that equivalence classes can emerge in the absence of active responding and direct reinforcement under specific conditions. To date, however, no comprehensive published review has summarized non-active procedures to establish equivalence classes. Thus, in the current literature review we systematically summarized the equivalence literature involving two types of non-active training (i.e., those involving respondent-type and observational learning) across the following variables: (a) participant and setting, (b) stimuli type, (c) class number and size, (d) delivery modality, (e) training type and parameters, (f) dependent variables, (g) experimental design, (h) training structure, (i) training protocol, (j) mastery criterion, (k) outcomes and yield, (l) generalization, and (m) maintenance. A total of 28 articles containing 50 experiments were identified for inclusion. Results are discussed to identify trends in the literature and their implications for future research.



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