The Psychological Record

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 435–450 | Cite as

Merging Separately Established Functional Equivalence Classes

  • Mickey KeenanEmail author
  • Isobel Porter
  • Stephen Gallagher
Original Article


This study extended previous research on equivalence classes that contain more than one function. Initially, separate equivalence classes were established (A1, B1, C1 and A3, B3, C3) using a one-to-many matching-to-sample procedure where A1 and A3 were the sample stimuli. These classes then were transformed into functional equivalence classes by training unique functions at A1 and A3; using modelling clay, a ball was made at A1 and an oblong was made at A3. These two classes then were joined together using another matching-to-sample procedure to establish the class X1-A1-A3. Tests were conducted to see what behaviours occurred in the presence of A1, X1, and A3. Of seven participants, three produced entirely new behaviours at X1, while the others produced the behaviours previously taught at A1 and A3. Results are discussed in the context of variables affecting the generation of novel behaviour.


Stimulus equivalence Transfer of function Class merger Novel behaviour Creativity Humans 


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mickey Keenan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Isobel Porter
    • 1
  • Stephen Gallagher
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUlster UniversityColeraineN. Ireland

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