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The Psychological Record

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 187–210 | Cite as

The Operant-Respondent Distinction Revisited: Toward An Understanding Of Stimulus Equivalence

  • Ruth Anne Rehfeldt
  • Linda J. Hayes
Article

Abstract

The distinction between operant and respondent behavior classes has received considerable attention throughout the history of behavior analysis. Some have contended that because operant and respondent processes share a number of similarities, the distinction should be dropped. Others, for lack of a better theoretical alternative, have supported the continued distinction. It is suggested that the failure of behavior analysts to recognize the ever-present role of respondent relations in operant conditioning experiments may be impeding the formulation of an effective explanation for stimulus equivalence, which has been investigated primarily as an operant phenomenon. Conceptual issues historically relevant to the operant-respondent distinction are discussed, and equivalence researchers are urged to consider the involvement of both classes of behavior in their analyses.

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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Anne Rehfeldt
    • 1
  • Linda J. Hayes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology/Mailstop 296University of NevadaRenoUSA

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