Barnes, Lawlor, Smeets, & Roche, 1996

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APA Citation: 

Barnes, D., Lawlor, H., Smeets, P. M., & Roche, B. (1996). Stimulus equivalence and academic self-concept among mildly mentally handicapped and nonhandicapped children. The Psychological Record, 46, 87-107.

Publication Topic: 
Behavior Analysis: Empirical
RFT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
academic self concept assessed through loaded stimulus equivalience test, mildly mentally retarded 10-13 yr olds

The authors (researchers at the National U of Ireland and University Cork, Ireland) examined self-concept using the stimulus equivalence procedure. Subjects were 12 mildly mentally handicapped (MMH) and 12 nonhandicapped (NMH). A statistically significant difference in performance between Ss was obtained, with MMH Ss producing significantly lower equivalence responding (i.e., failing to match their own name to the word Able). Results suggest preexperimentally established EQRs between the MMH Ss' own names and the descriptive term Slow may have disrupted the formation of experimentally induced EQRs.

Using educationally-relevant real world stimuli such as "slow" and "able" as well as the subject's own name, the authors show how developmentally-delayed children come to fail tests for equivalence when the predicted outcome is in contrast to their learning history. That is, subjects did not relate their own name to "able." A neat study on prior-learning effects in equivalence formation.
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