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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Invited Paper Session #304
CE Offered: BACB
Measurement, Application, and Death in Research on Stimulus Equivalence
Sunday, May 26, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 108 AB
Area: EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Salem State University)
CE Instructor: Christoffer K. Eilifsen, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: CHRISTOFFER K. EILIFSEN (Oslo Metropolitan University)

In psychology, including in various forms of behaviorism, many once prominent research traditions are no longer active fields of inquiry. While research on stimulus equivalence currently appears relatively vibrant when looking at the number of published articles, historical fields of inquiry proposing to study similar derived or emergent phenomenon have, following a period of research activity, subsequently disappeared from the literature. One such field is research on mediated generalization, a line of research that originated in a branch of behaviorism with somewhat differing theoretical commitments from modern behavior analysis. Lessons may potentially be drawn from the demise of this tradition for current research on stimulus equivalence. By the time of its demise, research on mediated generalization had several interrelated characteristics including: (a) unobservable explanatory constructs guiding scientific activity, (b) reliance of inferential group statistics for analyzing effects on the dependent variable, (c) indirect measurement of the dependent variable, and (d) complete domination by basic laboratory research. While the first two topics will provide context, the current presentation will focus on the two latter issues. Publication trends relevant to these characteristics as they appear in the empirical literature on mediated generalization, modern stimulus equivalence research and research in the related field of relational frame theory will be presented. Several topics arising from this comparison will be discussed. including the use of so-called savings and reaction time measurements and the interplay between basic research and application in stimulus equivalence and related fields.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Persons with an interest in historical and current research trends in behaviorism in general and/or historical and current research trends mediated generalization and stimulus equivalence specifically.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) explain similarities and differences between stimulus equivalence and mediated generalization; (2) describe historical and current publication trends in research programs on mediated generalization, stimulus equivalence and relational frame theory; (3) provide examples of and discuss how theoretical commitments influence research programmes in the study of derived and emergent relations.
CHRISTOFFER K. EILIFSEN (Oslo Metropolitan University)
Dr. Christoffer Eilifsen is an Associate Professor at Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway. His research background is in empirical research on stimulus equivalence, including studies of the long-term retention of equivalence classes, research on the effect of training structures on equivalence class formation, and the analysis of reaction time in studies of stimulus equivalence. In addition, he has also always had a soft spot for the philosophy of science and a variety conceptual and historical issues in behavior analysis and beyond and has published in this field as well. He has recently lapsed into academic sector management, and now works as the Program Director responsible for a PhD Program in Behavior Analysis, an ABAI accredited MS in Behavioral Science and an ABAI accredited BS in Psychology with an Emphasis on Behavior Analysis, all at the Oslo Metropolitan University.



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