Merging Separately Established Functional Equivalence Classes

Abstract

This study extended previous research on equivalence classes that contain more than one function. Initially, separate equivalence classes were established (A1, B1, C1 and A3, B3, C3) using a one-to-many matching-to-sample procedure where A1 and A3 were the sample stimuli. These classes then were transformed into functional equivalence classes by training unique functions at A1 and A3; using modelling clay, a ball was made at A1 and an oblong was made at A3. These two classes then were joined together using another matching-to-sample procedure to establish the class X1-A1-A3. Tests were conducted to see what behaviours occurred in the presence of A1, X1, and A3. Of seven participants, three produced entirely new behaviours at X1, while the others produced the behaviours previously taught at A1 and A3. Results are discussed in the context of variables affecting the generation of novel behaviour.

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Correspondence to Mickey Keenan.

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This study was completed as part of an undergraduate research dissertation. We thank the reviewers for their constructive comments in preparing this manuscript.

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Keenan, M., Porter, I. & Gallagher, S. Merging Separately Established Functional Equivalence Classes. Psychol Rec 65, 435–450 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-015-0118-3

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Keywords

  • Stimulus equivalence
  • Transfer of function
  • Class merger
  • Novel behaviour
  • Creativity
  • Humans