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Emergent Stimulus Relations Depend on Stimulus Correlation and Not on Reinforcement Contingencies

Minster, Sara Tepaeru, Elliffe, Douglas and Muthukumaraswamy, Suresh Daniel 2011. Emergent Stimulus Relations Depend on Stimulus Correlation and Not on Reinforcement Contingencies. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 95 (3) , pp. 327-342. 10.1901/jeab.2011.95-327

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We aimed to investigate whether novel stimulus relations would emerge from stimulus correlations when those relations explicitly conflicted with reinforced relations. In a symbolic matching-to-sample task using kanji characters as stimuli, we arranged class-specific incorrect comparison stimuli in each of three classes. After presenting either Ax or Cx stimuli as samples, choices of Bx were reinforced and choices of Gx or Hx were not. Tests for symmetry, and combined symmetry and transitivity, showed the emergence of three 3-member (AxBxCx) stimulus classes in 5 of 5 human participants. Subsequent tests for all possible emergent relations between Ax, Bx, Cx and the class-specific incorrect comparisons Gx and Hx showed that these relations emerged for 4 of 5 the participants after extended overtraining of the baseline relations. These emergent relations must have been based on stimulus–stimulus correlations, and were not properties of the trained discriminated operants, because they required control by relations explicitly extinguished during training. This result supports theoretical accounts of emergent relations that emphasize stimulus correlation over operant contingencies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: stimulus equivalence, emergent relations, stimulus correlation, mouse-click, humans
Publisher: Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
ISSN: 0022-5002
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2019 20:45

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