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ERIC Number: EJ927051
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-0022-5002
Emergent Stimulus Relations Depend on Stimulus Correlation and Not on Reinforcement Contingencies
Minster, Sara Tepaeru; Elliffe, Douglas; Muthukumaraswamy, Suresh D.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, v95 n3 p327-342 May 2011
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. (Contains 6 figures.)
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Available from: Indiana University Department of Psychology. Bloomington, IN 47405-1301. Tel: 812-334-0395; FAX: 812-855-4691; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand