The present study examines whether facilitated acquisition occurs in contexts when 1 stimulus in a class is emotionally evocative and the other stimuli are arbitrary or neutral. Undergraduates with high and low grade-point averages (GPA) completed a matching-to-sample task that resulted in the formation of 3 stimulus equivalence classes. Each class contained 2 arbitrary stimuli and 1 nonarbitrary stimulus. The nonarbitrary stimulus was either emotionally evocative (academic failure words) or emotionally neutral. Results indicated facilitated acquisition of the academic failure class among low-GPA college students. Findings suggest that stimuli that were once neutral may become associated with emotionally evocative stimuli given the appropriate context, and that this may occur more readily when the emotionally evocative stimulus is personally relevant.
Adcock, Amanda C.; Merwin, Rhonda M.; Wilson, Kelly G.; Drake, Chad E.; Tucker, Christina I.; and Elliott, Camden
"The Problem is Not Learning: Facilitated Acquisition of Stimulus Equivalence Classes Among Low-Achieving College Students,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 60
, Article 3.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol60/iss1/3