Skip to main content

Differential Crel and Cfunc acquisition through stimulus pairing (Pages 112-119)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 24, April 2022, Pages 112-119


Marie Delabie, Jamie Cummins, Martin Finn, Jan De Houwer


Some learning psychologists refer to relational cues (Crels) and functional cues (Cfuncs) in their analyses of verbal behavior. However, past research about Crels and Cfuncs is limited in two ways. First, there has been relatively little research into how Crels and Cfunc functions can be acquired, and whether such acquisition is similar to the acquisition of other stimulus functions (e.g., SDs). Secondly, research into Crel and Cfunc functions has typically investigated each separately (i.e., either examining Crels or Cfuncs), although a better approximate to real-life learning would examine their simultaneous acquisition. We report studies that examined whether Crels and Cfuncs can be learned simultaneously using a common learning procedure (i.e., stimulus pairing). Experiment 1 examined the transfer of Crel functions for sameness and difference relations and the transfer of Cfunc functions for color and shape to novel stimuli. Experiment 2 examined the transfer of comparative Crel functions (bigger and smaller) and Cfunc functions for value and size. In Experiment 2 we also investigated whether the newly learned functions of the novel stimuli would influence responding to stimuli that were not presented in the learning phase. Our results suggest that Crels and Cfuncs can indeed be acquired via stimulus pairing and can affect also responding to stimuli not used during acquisition.

This article is restricted to ACBS members. Please join or login with your ACBS account.