Stimulus Equivalence, Generalization, and Contextual Stimulus Control in Verbal Classes
Stimulus generalization and contextual control affect the development of equivalence classes. Experiment 1 demonstrated primary stimulus generalization from the members of trained equivalence classes. Adults were taught to match six spoken Icelandic nouns and corresponding printed words and pictures to one another in computerized three-choice matching-to-sample tasks. Tests confirmed that six equivalence classes had formed. Without further training, plural forms of the stimuli were presented in tests for all matching performances. All participants demonstrated virtually errorless performances. In Experiment 2, classifications of the nouns used in Experiment 1 were brought under contextual control. Three nouns were feminine and three were masculine. The match-to-sample training taught participants to select a comparison of the same number as the sample (i.e., singular or plural) in the presence of contextual stimulus A regardless of noun gender. Concurrently, in the presence of contextual stimulus B, participants were taught to select a comparison of the same gender as the sample (i.e., feminine or masculine), regardless of number. Generalization was assessed using a card-sorting test. All participants eventually sorted the cards correctly into gender and number stimulus classes. When printed words used in training were replaced by their picture equivalents, participants demonstrated almost errorless performances.
Key wordsstimulus equivalence primary stimulus generalization contextual control of class membership generalization across tasks verbal classes language learning humans
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Adams, B. J., Fields, L., & Verhave, T. (1993). Formation of generalized equivalence classes. The Psychological Record, 43, 553–566.Google Scholar
- Catania, A. C. (1992). Learning (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Dale, R., Roche, J., & Duran, N. (2008). Language is complex. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 8, 351–362.Google Scholar
- Dube, W. V. (1991). Computer software for stimulus control research with Macintosh computers. Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Bulletin, 9, 28–30.Google Scholar
- Dube, W. V., & Mcllvane, W. J. (1996). Some implications of a stimulus control topography analysis for emergent behaviour and stimulus classes. In T. R. Zentall & P. M. Smeets (Eds.), Stimulus class formation in humans and animals (pp. 197–218). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science B.V.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fields, L., Reeve, K. F., Adams, B. J., Brown, J. L., & Verhave, T. (1997). Predicting the extension of equivalence classes from primary generalization gradients: The merger of equivalence classes and perceptual classes. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 68, 67–91.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Mackay, H. A. (1991). Stimulus equivalence: Implications for the development of adaptive behavior. In R. Remington (Ed.), The challenge of severe mental handicap: An applied behaviour analytic approach (pp. 235–259). London, England: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- Mackay, H. A., & Fields, L. (2009). Syntax, grammatical transformation, and productivity: A synthesis of stimulus sequences, equivalence classes and contextual control. In R. A. Rehfeldt & Y. Barnes-Holmes (Eds.), Derived relational responding: Applications for learners with autism and other developmental disabilities: A progressive guide for change. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.Google Scholar
- Mcllvane, W. J., Dube, W. V., Green, G., & Serna, R. W. (1993). Programming conceptual and communication skill development: A methodological stimulus class analysis. In A. P. Kaiser & D. B. Gray (Eds.), Enhancing children’s communication: Research foundations for intervention. (pp. 243–285). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.Google Scholar
- Salzinger, K. (2008). Skinner’s Verbal behavior. Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 8, 287–294.Google Scholar
- Sidman, M. (1986). Functional analysis of emergent verbal classes. In T. Thompson & M. D. Zeiler (Eds.), Analysis and integration of behavioral units (pp. 213–245). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Sidman, M. (1994). Equivalence relations and behavior: A research story. Boston: Authors Cooperative.Google Scholar