College students formed 2 perceptual classes and then two 3-node 5-member equivalence classes in a matching-to-sample procedure. One stimulus in each perceptual class was also a member of 1 equivalence class. The subjects in Groups 1 and 2 formed equivalence classes where each node served 2 stimulus functions. The subjects in Group 3 formed equivalence classes where each node served only 1 stimulus function. The number of functions served by the nodal stimuli influenced the speed of learning the conditional discriminations that were the prerequisites of the equivalence class. All subjects then selected members of an equivalence class in the presence of members of the linked perceptual class, demonstrating the emergence of 2 generalized equivalence classes. Thereafter, different responses were trained to 1 stimulus in each class, which varied across groups. The responses transferred to all remaining class members, regardless of the class member to which the response was trained, for all subjects in Groups 1 and 2, and for only 3 of 6 subjects in Group 3. Thus, the likelihood of response transfer through a generalized equivalence class varied with the number of functions served by the nodal stimuli. These results suggest that the strength of relations among the stimuli in an equivalence class was influenced by the number of functions served by nodal stimuli in the class.
Belanich, James and Fields, Lanny
"Generalized Equivalence Classes as Response Transfer Networks,"
The Psychological Record:
3, Article 3.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol53/iss3/3