Matching to Complex Samples: Further Study of Arbitrary Stimulus Classes
College students learned matching to sample where high and low tones were related to one set of forms (A-C relations), red and green hues were related to a second set of forms (B-D), and the tone/color complexes were related to a third set of forms (AB-E). Emergent relations among the five sets of stimuli (e.g., A-D, B-C, C-E, and E-D) were assessed and performances for 13 of 14 subjects suggested the formation of five-member equivalence classes. Eight subjects also received a test (AF-D) with new colors displayed as elements of sample complexes; subsequent test performances (e.g., B-F, F-C, and E-F) for seven of these subjects suggested six-member equivalence classes. Thus, the merger of arbitrary relations into equivalence classes may be based on the development of control by redundant elements of sample complexes. Analyses of variables studied in associative learning may help to determine the parameters of such control and their relationship to stimulus equivalence.
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