Academic journal article The Psychological Record

Effects of Two Training Conditions on the Emergence of Novel Intraverbals: An Extension of Perez-Gonzalez et Al. (2008)

Academic journal article The Psychological Record

Effects of Two Training Conditions on the Emergence of Novel Intraverbals: An Extension of Perez-Gonzalez et Al. (2008)

Article excerpt

In recent decades, a large and fruitful body of research has emerged on stimulus equivalence and other derived stimulus relations. Broadly, this research has examined how the establishment of specific types of stimulus control gives rise to novel behavioral outcomes, mostly in human participants. A simple example is when a participant learns to relate Stimulus B to Stimulus A and Stimulus C to Stimulus B, and is subsequently able to relate Stimuli A and C without any explicit training (e.g., Sidman, Cresson, & Wilson-Morris, 1974). A major impetus for this area of research has been its perceived potential to advance a conceptualization of human language and cognition as instances of behavior that is governed by a small set of basic principles (Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2001; Sidman, 1994). In addition, the efficiency with which stimulus equivalence procedures can expand a person's repertoire, as the training of a small set of baseline relations yields a multitude of untrained relations, has led to applications ranging from language interventions for children with developmental disabilities (Greer & Ross, 2008; Rehfeldt & Barnes-Holmes, 2009) to instruction of college-level course material (e.g., Fields et al., 2009; Fienup, Covey, & Critchfield, 2010; Ninness et al., 2009; Walker, Rehfeldt, & Ninness, 2010).

In research on derived stimulus relations, it is common to train baseline relations and test derived relations using matching-to-sample (MTS) procedures. The participant is presented with a sample stimulus and responds by selecting a comparison stimulus (typically visual) from a pool of concurrently available stimuli, for example, by touch or with a mouse click. To the extent that this area of research is hypothesized to be relevant to human language and language-based interventions, it may be important to extend it to stimulus relations that involve vocal or other topography-based (Michael, 1985) responses. That is, instead of selecting a particular stimulus in the presence of another stimulus, the participant emits a specific response topography that has the effect of producing a particular stimulus in the presence of another (Hall & Chase, 1991). In research on stimulus equivalence, it has long been common to test emergent vocal naming of stimuli following the formation of equivalences classes that a participant has acquired via baseline auditory visual conditional discrimination training (e.g., Sidman et al., 1974; Sidman & Tailby, 1982; Sidman, Wilson-Morris, & Kirk, 1986). In addition, a number of studies have examined effects of training vocal or other topography-based relations on the emergence of additional topography-based relations (e.g., Perez-Gonzalez, Garcia-Asenjo, Williams, & Carnerero, 2007; Perez-Gonzalez et al., 2008; Petursdottir, Olafsdottir, & Aradottir, 2008; Poison & Parsons, 2000; Sundberg & Sundberg, 1990; Walker et al., 2010). Some of the research in this latter category has produced findings that at first glance may seem unexpected based on typical outcomes of MTS preparations. In MTS tests, for example, there is no reason to expect the training of A-B relations to be any more or less likely to yield B-A relations than the training of B-A relations to yield A-B relations. Nor should, for example, a B-C relation be more or less likely than a C-B relation to emerge as a result of the training of A-B and A-C relations. Nevertheless, outcomes of this nature have been reported in studies on topography-based relations with both children (Perez-Gonzalez et al., 2008; Petursdottir et al., 2008) and adults (Poison & Parsons, 2000).

There are several possible reasons for this discrepancy. First, it may be related to procedural variables that have yet to be identified. Second, it is possible that the processes that produce novel stimulus control over vocal or other topography-based responses differ from those that produce emergent conditional discriminations in an MTS test (Horne & Lowe, 1996). …

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