The Psychological Record

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 41–47 | Cite as

Discrimination and Reversal Learning by Toddlers Aged 15-23 Months

  • Naiara Minto de Sousa
  • Maria Stella Coutinho de Alcantara Gil
  • William J. McIlvane
Original Article


Few studies have investigated simple discrimination and discrimination reversal learning by children younger than 2 years. Extant research has shown that teaching discrimination reversals may be challenging with this population. We used social reinforcement and correction procedures to teach simple simultaneous discrimination and discrimination reversal tasks involving three pairs of animal pictures displayed in a paper notebook. Participants were eight typically developing toddlers aged 15-23 months. All learned at least one simple discrimination/discrimination reversal problem. Four children learned all problems and showed evidence of learning set formation. Perhaps surprisingly, discrimination reversals were sometimes learned more rapidly than original discriminations. The procedures suggest a potentially efficient methodology for investigating more complex aspects of relational learning in toddlers.


Simple discrimination Discrimination reversal Toddlers 



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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naiara Minto de Sousa
    • 1
  • Maria Stella Coutinho de Alcantara Gil
    • 1
  • William J. McIlvane
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratório de Interação SocialUniversidade Federal de São CarlosSão CarlosBrasil
  2. 2.Commonwealth Medicine DivisionUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School – Shriver CenterShrewsburyUSA

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