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Equivalence-Based Instruction to Improve Portion-Size Estimation with Different Vessels


Obesity, which increases individuals’ risk for a variety of health problems and is associated with increased health-care expenses, is considered a public health concern due to the rapidly increasing rates of people who are considered obese (World Health Organization [WHO], 2018). One potential method for decreasing rates of obesity is to teach people how to more accurately estimate portion sizes to decrease the amount of calories they consume. Previous researchers successfully taught participants to accurately estimate portion sizes through equivalence-based instruction. The purpose of the present study was to teach healthy adults to estimate portion sizes using nonfood items and to assess generalization of the skill across a variety of vessels not associated with training (a small plate, bowl, and plastic bag). All participants demonstrated improved accuracy of portion size estimations following training with both the training vessel and the generalization vessels.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in figshare at:


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Correspondence to Jason C. Vladescu.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Vladescu, J.C., Marano, K.E. & Reeve, K.F. Equivalence-Based Instruction to Improve Portion-Size Estimation with Different Vessels. Psychol Rec (2020).

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  • Equivalence-based instruction
  • Obesity
  • Portion-size estimation
  • Portion-size measurement aids
  • Stimulus equivalence