Hayes, Kohlenberg, & Hayes, 1991

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APA Citation: 

Hayes, S. C., Kohlenberg, B. K., & Hayes, L. J. (1991). The transfer of specific and general consequential functions through simple and conditional equivalence classes. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 56, 119-137.

Publication Topic: 
RFT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
stimulus equivalence, conditional stimulus equivalence, transfer of functions, specific versus general stimulus functions, verbal relations, matching to sample, humans

The purpose of this study was to exampine the transfer of consequential (reinforcement and punishment) functions through equivalence relations. Inn Experiment 1, 9 subjects acquired three three-member equivalence classes through matching-to-sample training using arbitrary visual forms. Comparison stimuli were then given conditioned reinforcement or punishment functions by pairing them with verbal feedback during a sorting task. For 8 of the 9 subjects, trained consequential functions transferred through their respective equivalence classes without additional training. In Experiment 2, transfer of function was initially tested before equivalence testing per se. Three of 4 subjects showed the transfer without a formal equivalence test. In Experiment 3, 3 subjects were given training that gave rise to six new three-member conditional equivalence classes. For 2 of the subjects, the same stimulus could have either a reinforcement or punishment function on the basis of contextual cues that defined its class membership. Experiment 4 assessed whether equivalence training had established general or specific consequentional functions primarily by adding novel stimuli in the transfer test. Subjects treated even novel feedback stimuli in the transfer test as consequences, but the direction of consequential effects depended upon the transfer of specific consesquential functions through equivalence relations.

Showed the transfer of consequential functions through equivalence relations, both simple and conditional.
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