Association for Behavior Analysis International

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Seventh International Conference; Merida, Mexico; 2013

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Symposium #16
Recent Developments in the Study of Associative Symmetry in Nonhumans
Monday, October 7, 2013
11:00 AM–12:20 PM
Salon Celestun (Fiesta Americana)
Area: EAB/TPC; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Manish Vaidya (University of North Texas)

Recent empirical and conceptual developments (e.g., Wasserman & Frank, 2005; Urcuioli, 2008) have suggested that the failure to observe derived relational responding in nonhuman subjects is the result of irrelevant stimulus properties such as the spatial location of the stimuli gaining control over the response. Procedures that preclude the development of control by irrelevant features have begun to produce reliable evidence of associative symmetry in pigeons. This symposium brings together presentations from four different laboratories investigating derived relational responding with nonhuman subjects using this procedure. Campos & Debert present data on pigeons- working with compound visual stimuli and ask whether the resulting performances are conditional discriminations. Vaidya & Hinnenkamp present some data on stimulus-parameter manipulations and their effects on pigeons-acquisition of baseline relations and performance on tests for associative symmetry. Galizio, Prichard, and Bruce's report presents data on rats-acquisition of baseline relations and emergent symmetry using olfactory stimuli. Finally, Urcuioli, Campos, & Swisher present some data on the necessity of identity matching in the emergence of associative symmetry in pigeons' go/no-go performances.

Keyword(s): Go/No Go procedure, rats and pigeons, symmetry, Uricuioli's theory
Stimulus Control in a Go/No-go Procedure With Compound Stimuli With Pigeons
HELOISA CURSI CAMPOS (University of Sao Paulo, Brazil), Paula Debert (University of Sao Paulo - Brazil)
Abstract: It has been difficult to demonstrate conditional discriminations and emergent relations employing matching-to-sample procedures with non-humans. Experiment 1 employed a go/no-go procedure with compound stimuli to investigate emergent relations in pigeons. Four subjects learned to peck to two-component compounds A1B1, A2B2, B1C1, B2C2 and refrain from pecking to A1B2, A2B1, B1C2, B2C1. Tests presented training components in new spatial and/or in recombinative arrangements: BA and CB (symmetry), AC (transitivity), and CA (equivalence). Subjects showed training-consistent responding only on BA and CB stimuli (responses on positive instances but not on negative instances). It is not clear whether the responses to BA and CB stimuli were controlled by the relation between the components (conditional discrimination) or compounds functioned as unitary stimuli (simple discrimination). If compounds functioned as unitary stimuli, performances would drop when the position of training components were changed. Experiment 2 assessed the maintenance of discrimination ratios when training components were rotated 90º to the right (Test 1) or left (Test 2), presented with a 1-cm separation (Test 3), and a 1-cm separation and rotated 180º (Test 4). Only one subject maintained discrimination in all tests, suggesting conditional discrimination, whereas the responses of the other subjects may have involved simple discrimination.

Emergent Symmetry in Pigeons' Go/No Go Performance: The Role of Stimulus Control Topography Coherence

MANISH VAIDYA (University of North Texas), Jay Hinnenkamp (University of North Texas)

The Go, No-Go procedure has recently attracted attention for its use in establishing symmetrical relations/responding in pigeons (Frank and Wasserman, 2005, Urcuiolli, 2008). In our attempts to utilize the Go, No-Go procedure in a systematic replication of Urcuioli (2008), we found that several of the pigeons failed to respond in accord with the experimenter defined baseline conditional relations despite extensive training with visual stimuli. A closer analysis of the pigeons' performance revealed anomalies in the birds' interaction with the stimuli. The procedure was altered to further constrain the pigeons' interactions with the visual stimuli. All four subjects readily acquired the baseline go/no-go performances under these conditions. In addition, all four birds showed evidence of symmetry as measured globally. Closer analyses, however, revealed that the subjects' performances were not equally accurate on the two trial types that assess symmetry. Follow up analyses to explore the source of the discrepant performance are currently underway. Nonetheless, these results highlight the important role of control by relevant stimulus features in organizing go/no go performances and facilitating or blocking the development of symmetry.

A Search for Emergent Same-Different and Symmetry Relations in Rats
MARK GALIZIO (University of North Carolina, Wilmington), Ashley Prichard (University of North Carolina - Wilmington), Katherine Ely Bruce (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: It has proven difficult to demonstrate emergent stimulus control in rats with visual or auditory stimuli, but recent work in our laboratory has shown strong evidence of generalized matching- and non-matching-to-sample (M- or NMTS) using olfactory stimuli. Further, rats can be trained with relatively long lists of olfactory stimuli using NMTS procedures. We will present data providing additional evidence of generalized NMTS(control by same-different relations) and emergent stimulus control by specific temporal properties of olfactory stimuli (episodic-like what-where-when stimulus control). Additionally, we trained rats on Go-No Go conditional discriminations using olfactory discriminations in an effort to assess emergent symmetry. Two rats have completed baseline training, but neither showed strong evidence of symmetry relations. These studies support the value of olfactory stimuli for the study of emergent relations in rats, but even with these procedures, symmetry remains elusive.

Associative Symmetry After Arbitrary and Dual-Oddity Successive Matching Training in Pigeons

PETER URCUIOLI (Purdue University), Heloisa Cursi Campos (University of Sao Paulo, Brazil), Melissa J. Swisher (Purdue University)

Pigeons show associative symmetry after concurrent training on arbitrary successive matching and two identity matching tasks involving the stimuli appearing in the arbitrary task. They also show emergent "antisymmetry" when one of the two supplemental tasks involves oddity rather than identity matching. Here, we report that pigeons show associative symmetry after concurrent training on arbitrary successive matching and two oddity tasks. These data confirm a prediction derived from Urcuioli's (2008) theory of pigeons' stimulus-class formation and underscore that learning identity matching is not necessary for the emergence of other derived stimulus-stimulus relations.




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