On the effectiveness of including meaningful pictures in theformation of equivalence classes
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionArntzen E, Mensah J. On the effectiveness of including meaningful pictures in theformation of equivalence classes. Journal of The Experimental Analysis of Behavior. 2020 https://doi.org/10.1002/jeab.579
In three experiments, 165 adult participants were trained on 12 baseline conditional discriminations and tested for the formation of three 5-member equivalence classes (AàBàCàDàE). All experiments included two reference groups; the abstract (ABS) group was trained with all abstract stimuli and the picture (PIC) group with C-stimuli as meaningful pictorial stimuli but A, B, D, and E stimuli as abstract shapes. In Experiment 1, the color of the meaningful stimuli was manipulated. In the ABS, PIC, and black-and-white groups, 33.3%, 80%, and 93.3% formed equivalence classes, respectively. In Experiment 2, participants were exposed to a test block with and without trials that included C stimuli. For the groups with and without C trials in the test, 93.3% and 86.7% formed equivalence classes, respectively, compared to 20% in the ABS group. In Experiment 3, the number of meaningful pictures and their location in stimulus classes were manipulated. One group was trained with 3 pictures (C1/B2/D3, the 3-PIC) while the other groups had 2 pictures (C1/B2 and C1/D3, the 2-PIC). In the second test block for the ABS and PIC groups, 6.7% and 86% of the participants formed equivalence classes, respectively. For the 3-PIC and the 2-PIC groups, 66.7% and 50% of the participants formed equivalence classes, respectively. Results suggest that the effects of meaningful stimuli in equivalence classes (a) cannot be attributed to the use of colorful stimuli in previous studies, (b) occur during training and are not dependent on the presence of meaningful stimuli at test, and (c) are sensitive to stimulus location.