The purpose of the reported study was to determine whether the generalization of stimulus equivalence relations to dimensional variants of class members could be brought under contextual control. Contextual control has been shown to prevent the merging of equivalence classes; contextual control might similarly prevent equivalence classes and perceptual classes from merging into one infinite-sized, all-encompassing class. Twelve subjects were taught 12 contextually controlled conditional discriminations. They were then tested for the emergence of 6 contextually controlled symmetry and equivalence relations. Subjects were also tested for the establishment of contextual control over the generalization of those relations. Eleven subjects showed the emergence of contextually controlled symmetry relations, and 7 subjects showed the emergence of contextually controlled symmetry and equivalence relations. Five subjects demonstrated contextual control over the generalization of the symmetry and equivalence relations. Hence, contextual cues controlled the dimensional variants to which the equivalence relations generalized. These findings suggest that contextual control may limit the degree to which stimulus equivalence relations generalize to novel stimuli.
Rehfeldt, Ruth Anne
"Establishing Contextual Control Over Generalized Equivalence Relations,"
The Psychological Record:
3, Article 4.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol53/iss3/4