Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #38
CE Offered: BACB
Stimulus Equivalence and Naming
Saturday, May 24, 2008
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Stevens 4
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Brian J. Feeney (Western Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Linda A. LeBlanc, Ph.D.

Formation of equivalence classes and naming are basic language processes frequently studied by behavior analysts. The experimenters will present four studies examining various aspects of equivalence relations and naming.

The Effects of Common Names and FR Responses on the Emergence of Stimulus Equivalence Classes.
YORS A. GARCIA (Southern Illinois University), Anna Neises (Southern Illinois University), Adam D. Hahs (Southern Illinois University), Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The objective of the present study was to compare two procedures for facilitating the emergence of equivalence classes in college students. In one group, participants were first taught to give class-consistent names to the stimuli which would subsequently be conditionally related. In the second group, participants were first taught to emit common, fixed-ratio responses in the presence of stimuli which would subsequently be conditionally related. After this training, participants completed conditional discrimination training, followed by equivalence testing. In the control group, participants were taught conditional discriminations, followed by equivalence testing. A “think aloud” procedure was implemented throughout the three groups in the conditional discrimination and equivalence testing. Results suggest that both approaches were equally effective in facilitating the emergence of stimulus classes. Similarly, the transcriptions from the protocol analysis showed that majority of participants in group one and two used names to relate stimuli. However, the majority of participants in the control group only used names to relate stimuli in the mix training and equivalence testing. The findings suggest the importance of names in the acquisition of equivalence classes.

Formation of Equivalence Classes by Older Adults.

BRIAN J. FEENEY (Western Michigan University), Linda A. LeBlanc (Western Michigan University), Tracy L. Lepper (Western Michigan University)

Equivalence classes consist of arbitrary stimuli that come to share functional and symbolic relations partially through contingencies and partially as a product of emergent processes. Three studies have begun to document the differences between older and younger adults in the formation of equivalence classes. The purpose of this study is to clarify methodological factors that may account for, or contribute to, the differences reported in the literature. Twenty-eight adults ages 65 and older were exposed to two matching-to-sample training procedures and subsequent testing using a personal computer with a touch screen and a 0-s delay. Half of the participants experienced a many-to-one (MTO) training procedure followed by a one-to-many (OTM) procedure and the other half experienced the reverse order. Differences in trials to criterion, errors during training, emergent relations were minimal between the two conditions, replicating the effects of Saunders, et al. findings with 0-s delay. The majority of elders demonstrated the expected emergent relations with clear differences in training performance patterns for those who subsequently performed well on tests and those who performed more poorly.

Multiple Exemplar Training to Facilitate Bidirectional Symmetry in Second Language Speaking Children.
ROCIO ROSALES (Southern Illinois University), Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The purpose of the present investigation was to determine the effectiveness of multiple exemplar training in the facilitation of bidirectional symmetry for typically developing children (ages 2-4) whose first language is Spanish. A multiple probe design was implemented to introduce exemplar training across all participants. Children were first trained in object-name relations in English for items that were familiar to them in their first language. This was followed by tests for derived name-object relations (i.e., bidirectional symmetry). If participants failed the symmetry tests, multiple exemplar training was implemented. Exemplar training consisted of explicitly training the symmetry relations with novel stimulus sets. After multiple exemplar training, bidirectional symmetry tests were conducted once more with stimuli that had not been directly trained. Finally, a naming test was conducted for each stimulus used during test probes only. Preliminary results indicate the emergence of symmetry relations only after exemplar training was introduced.
Categorization of Stimuli by Motor Responses in Preschool Children.
AMANDA MAHONEY (The New England Center for Children), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento), William H. Ahearn (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Naming is said to occur from the "bi-directionality between a class of objects and events, and the speaker listener behavior they occasion"(Horne & Lowe, 1996). The purpose of this study was to assess the role of common motor responses as the "speaker" behavior on stimulus class formation as well as to assess the emergence of functional classes. In Experiment 1, three typically developing preschool children were taught common tacts (motor responses) to two sets of line-drawings. Following this training, stimulus-selection tests and categorization tests were conducted. One of three passed stimulus-selection tests and a different one of the three passed the categorization tests. In Experiment 2, all participants were exposed to vocal tact training to one stimulus in each set. Testing was conducted for the emergence of these tacts to the remaining members of each class. None of the participants passed these tests. Tacts were then trained directly to the remaining four class members and a second series of stimulus-selection tests and categorization tests were conducted. Both participants who did not pass categorization tests in Experiment 1 passed these tests following vocal tact training in Experiment 2.



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