Stimulus equivalence and supplemental measures on equivalence relations


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Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus

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Master i læring i komplekse systemer


The present article introduces stimulus equivalence research as an experimental analysis on how previously unrelated stimuli can generate a specific pattern of responding without being directly taught. Murray Sidman and colleagues set forth that stimulus equivalence should be considered as a basic process in line with other behavioral processes such as reinforcement, discrimination, or generalization. In specific, a direct outcome of the reinforcement contingencies that have previously been in effect during the establishing of some stimulus relations. Stimulus equivalence entail that physically arbitrary stimuli within a class is functionally substitutable to one another, and their relations are defined as equivalent only after the occurrence of a specific pattern of responding. Studies on stimulus equivalence have traditionally focused on accuracy scores after exposure to the required testing contingencies. However, a number of studies have reported that equivalence relations do not always reliably emerge. Data have shown that different experimental parameters can be used to systematically manipulate the likelihood of equivalence class formation. Thus, indicating that the current theoretical and methodological account is fairly limited with respect to the prediction and control of the relevant variables influencing equivalence relations. Consequently, the present article will emphasize on potential supplemental measures on equivalence relations that might enable further elaboration and directions within stimulus equivalence research


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