Assessing Pre-existing Linguistic Relations Via Stimulus Equivalence

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Linda J. Hayes
Kurt Brenner G. Brenner
Steven C. Hayes


Normal adults were trained in A-B, A-C, and D-C conditional discriminations using a matching to sample procedure. The A, B, and C stimuli were arbitrary visual forms. D stimuli for one group of the subjects consisted of three works: “holiday”, “funeral”, and “torture”. For another group of ten subjects the D stimuli consisted of three pictures of a face with a happy, sap, and mean expression. Equivalence relations were tested between the D stimuli and the B, A, and C stimuli (D-B, B-D, A-D, C-D) but using the stimuli seen by the other group in training. Thus subjects trained with faces were tested with works and viceversa. Substitutional equivalence emerged for most, but not all, subjects who showed non- substitutional equivalence (the B-C and C-B relations). Substitutional equivalence emerged more readily for subjects trained with works and tested with faces than vicerversa. The implications of these findings for the analysis of pre-existing linguistic relations are discussed.

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Hayes, L. J., Brenner, K. B. G., & Hayes, S. C. (2011). Assessing Pre-existing Linguistic Relations Via Stimulus Equivalence. Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, 20(2), 146–166.