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Document Type

Article

Abstract

As a follow-up to our previous research (Dymond & Barnes, 1994), this study examined the respective roles of equivalence testing and verbal instructions on the derived transfer of self-discrimination response functions. In Experiment 1, 4 subjects were exposed to the same experimental sequence as in the Dymond and Barnes study except that they did not receive a matching-to-sample equivalence test prior to self-discrimination training and transfer testing. That is, subjects were first trained in a series of conditional discriminations (A 1-B1, A 1-C1, A2-B2, A2-C2, A3-B3, A3-C3), and next two of the B stimuli (B1 and B2) were used to train two different self-discrimination responses on two complex schedules of reinforcement (i.e., subjects were trained to pick the B1 stimulus if they had not emitted a response and to pick the B2 stimulus if they had emitted one or more responses on the previous schedule). Then, subjects were tested for the transfer of self-discrimination response functions to the C stimuli (i.e., no response on the schedule - pick C1; one or more responses on the schedule - pick C2) and were tested for this transfer when they were required to discriminate their schedule performance before exposure to the schedule (i.e., "What I intend to do"). In Experiment 2, all subjects were first trained and tested for the formation of three equivalence relations (i.e., A1-B1-C1, A2-B2-C2, A3-B3-C3) and then, prior to beginning self-discrimination training, 3 subjects were exposed to the 'detailed' instructions used in our previous research, and another 3 subjects were given 'minimal' instructions. Findings of both experiments replicate and extend those of our previous research and furthermore, the current study did not find conclusive evidence for any facilitative effects of a prior matching-to-sample equivalence test and 'detailed' verbal instructions on derived self-discrimination transfer.

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