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The main purpose of the present study was to determine
whether exemplar training would readily facilitate the transformation
of function in accordance with symmetry. Sixteen children, aged
between 4 and 5 years, were employed across four experiments
(i.e., 4 children each in Experiments 1 to 4). In Experiment 1,
subjects were first trained to name two actions and two objects by
demonstrating listening, echoic, and tacting behaviors (e.g., hear
name -4 pOint to object, hear name -4 say name, see object -4 say
name, respectively). This name training served to establish that
each of the subjects could clearly discriminate the experimental
stimuli. Subjects were then trained in an action-object conditional
discrimination using the previously named actions and objects (e.g.,
when the experimenter waved, choosing a toy car was reinforced,
and when the experimenter clapped, choosing a doll was
reinforced). Subjects were then reexposed to the name training,
before exposure to a test for derived object-action symmetry
relations (e.g., experimenter presents toy car -t child. waves and
experimenter presents doll -4 child claps). Across subsequent
sessions, a multiple-baseline design was used to introduce
exemplar training (i.e., explicit symmetry training) for those subjects
who failed the symmetry test. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1,
except that the name retraining (between the conditional
discrimination training and symmetry test) was removed. Experiment
3 replicated Experiment 1, except that subjects were trained to tact
all of the actions and objects during conditional discrimination
training and symmetry testing. Experiment 4 replicated Experiment
1, except that the trained and tested relations were reversed (i.e.,
train object-action, test action-object relations). Across the four
experiments, 13 out of 16 subjects failed to show derived objectaction
(Experiments 1-3) or action-object (Experiment 4) symmetry
until they received explicit symmetry training. Overall, the data are
consistent with Relational Frame Theory.