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Comparing Stimulus Equivalence-Based Instruction to a Video Lecture to Increase Religious Literacy in Middle-School Children

  • Special Section: Diversity and Inclusion
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Being familiar with world religions and their diverse practices is referred to as religious literacy. The present study compared the effects of stimulus equivalence-based instruction (EBI) and video lecture (VL) to increase religious literacy in middle-school students; 10 participants were assigned to either the EBI or the VL group. Participants in the EBI group were taught five 6-member equivalence classes using match-to-sample (MTS) software on a computer. Within each class of (1) Judaism, (2) Islam, (3) Christianity, (4) Hinduism, and (5) Buddhism, the visual stimulus members were (A) name of the religion, (B) major religious symbol, (C) sacred text, (D) notable religious figure, (E) name of religious service leader, and (F) notable celebrated holiday. The VL participants were given an opportunity to complete a fill-in written worksheet while viewing a video lecture about the 5 religions using the same stimuli as the EBI group. Participant responding in each group was compared across worksheet, oral, and MTS pretests and posttests. The results showed that 5 of 5 participants in the EBI group formed equivalence classes but only 1of 5 did so in the VL group. Class-consistent responding generalized to oral vignettes to a greater degree for the EBI participants than for the VL participants. In addition, at an approximately 2-week follow-up, EBI participants maintained class-consistent responding to a greater degree than VL participants did. Duration measures showed that even though EBI was more effective, EBI training did require more time than the VL did. Although not explicitly programmed for, social distance survey scores showed that participants improved equally in their ratings of the acceptability of people from other faiths following training, regardless of training type. Thus, EBI may be an effective method to teach schoolchildren about religious literacy.

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Correspondence to Kenneth F. Reeve.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Caldwell University Institutional Research Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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This project was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master of arts in applied behavior analysis at Caldwell University by the first author, under the supervision of the second author.

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Ferman, D.M., Reeve, K.F., Vladescu, J.C. et al. Comparing Stimulus Equivalence-Based Instruction to a Video Lecture to Increase Religious Literacy in Middle-School Children. Behav Analysis Practice 13, 360–374 (2020).

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