Transfer of operant discrimination and respondent elicitation via emergent relations of compound stimuli

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APA Citation: 

Markham, M. R., Dougher, M. J. & Augustson, E. M. (2002). Transfer of operant discrimination and respondent elicitation via emergent relations of compound stimuli. Psychological Record, 52(3), 325-350.

Publication Topic: 
Behavior Analysis: Empirical
RFT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

Two experiments investigated transfer of stimulus functions via emergent relations of compound stimuli. In Experiment 1, 4 college students were taught nine conditional relations of compound stimuli and unitary stimuli (A1B1-C1, A1B2-C3, A1B3-C2, A2B1-C3, A2B2-C2, A2B3-C1, A3B1-C2, A3B2-C1, and A3B3-C3), then tested for 18 untrained stimulus relations derived from the trained relations (e.g., A1C1-B1; B1C1-A1). Participants were then taught to sequence the A stimuli (A1-A2-A3), and tested for transfer of this sequencing response to BC compounds. Two participants demonstrated transfer of the sequencing response. Two participants demonstrated transfer of the sequencing response after additional experimental phases. In Experiment 2, 5 college students were taught nine AB-C relations and then tested for 18 AC-B and BC-A relations as in Experiment 1. A skin conductance response was conditioned to A1 by pairing this stimulus with mild electric shock. Participants were then tested for transfer of this skin conductance response to B1C1 and B3C2. Three participants showed the transfer of conditioning. One participant did not demonstrate conditioning of the skin conductance response. One participant showed transfer of the skin conductance response after a supplemental conditioning phase. Initial failures to show transfer for some participants suggest that transfer of function sometimes depends upon a history of differential responding to compound stimuli. These results suggest that emergent relations involving compound stimuli and stimulus equivalence are related phenomena.

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