Previous research has demonstrated that conditioned elicitation functions can transfer via stimulus equivalence classes. However, thus far investigations in this area have been limited to stimulus equivalence classes involving single element stimuli. This study attempted to demonstrate the transfer of eliciting functions via emergent relations involving compound stimuli. Eight college students participated in this study. Six of these participated in all experimental procedures, while the remaining two served as controls and did not receive some phases of the experiment. The experimental participants were first taught nine conditional relations of compound stimuli and unitary stimuli (AC-B & BC-A) using match-to-sample training. They were then tested for the emergence of untrained relations involving different combinations of the previously learne9 compound-single element relations and compound-compound relations (AC-AC or AB-AB or BC-BC). A classical conditioning procedure was then performed in which one compound stimulus from one class was paired with mild electric shock (1 .0-2.0 mA) while two other compounds from two different classes were presented in the absence of shock. Participants were then presented with other compounds from the appropriate classes to assess whether the eliciting function had transferred to stimuli which were members of the same class as the originally conditioned stimulus. The control participants received the same procedures except for the initial conditional discrimination training of the compound-single relations and the testing for the emergence of compound-single relations. Four of the six experimental participants demonstrated transfer of the eliciting function. An analysis of the performance of both of the individuals who failed to demonstrate the transfer revealed that they may have failed to ° maintain the classes throughout the experiment. One participant discontinued the experiment before further procedures could be performed. The second participated in retraining and subsequently demonstrated the transfer of the eliciting function. Neither of the control participants demonstrated the transfer of the conditioning in the absence of the conditional discrimination training. The results of this experiment show that respondent eliciting functions can transfer via emergent compound-compound relations. These results extend previous findings within the areas of emergent compound relations and transfer of function via stimulus equivalence classes.
Augustson, Erik M.; Dougher, Michael J.; and Markham, Michael R.
"Emergence of Conditional Stimulus Relations and Transfer of Respondent Eliciting Functions Among Compound Stimuli,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 50
, Article 8.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol50/iss4/8