Transformation of the discriminative and eliciting functions of generalized relational stimuli

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APA Citation: 

Dougher, M. J., Hamilton, D., Fink, B., & Harrington, J. (2007). Transformation of the discriminative and eliciting functions of generalized relational stimuli. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 88(2), 179-197.

Publication Topic: 
RFT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
transfer, transformation of functions, relational stimuli, relational responding, derived relations, classical conditioning, skin conductance, keyboard pressing, humans

In three experiments, match-to-sample procedures were used with undergraduates to establish arbitrary relational functions for three abstract visual stimuli. In the presence of samples A, B, and C, participants were trained to select the smallest, middle, and largest member, respectively, of a series of threecomparison arrays. In Experiment 1, the B (choose middle) stimulus was then used to train a steady rate of keyboard pressing before the A (choose smallest) and the C (choose largest) stimuli were presented. Participants pressed slower to A and faster to C than to B. Then B was paired with mild shock in a Pavlovian procedure with skin conductance change as the dependent variable. When presented with A and C, 6 of 8 experimental participants showed smaller skin conductance changes to A and larger skin conductance changes to C than to B. In Experiment 2, A was then used as a sample in a match-to-sample procedure to establish an arbitrary size ranking among four same-sized colored circle comparisons. One of the middle circles was then used to establish a steady rate of pressing before the other circles were presented. Five of 6 participants responded slower to the ‘‘smaller’’ circle and faster to the ‘‘larger’’ circle than they did to the ‘‘middle’’ circle. In Experiment 3, A, B, and C were then presented on a series of test trials requiring participants to pick the comparison that was less than, greater than, or equal to the sample. Novel stimuli were included on some trials. Results indicated that the relational training procedures produced derived relations among the stimuli used in training and that these allowed correct inferences of relative size ranking among novel stimuli.

Transformation of respondent stimulus functions via more-than/less-than direct and derived relations
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