Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Rehfeldt, Ruth


The present studies evaluated the effect of training structures on the development of equivalence classes in college students and individuals with intellectual disabilities. Experiment 1 evaluated the effects of two types of training structures, One-To-Many (OTM) (AB, AC, AD), and Many-To-One (MTO) (BA, CA, DA), on the establishment of equivalence classes in college students. A between group comparison was used in Experiment 1. Forty-two participants were randomly assigned to two different groups. Twenty-one were assigned to the OTM group and twenty-one to the MTO group. Participants in both groups were taught 3 four-member stimulus classes. Participants in both groups were exposed to conditional discrimination training, mixed training, symmetry and equivalence test. Response accuracy and response latency were measured in both groups. The results showed that the MTO training structure was slightly more effective in establishing equivalence classes in college students. In the Experiment 2, six young adults with intellectual disabilities were taught mathematical relations using the MTO training structure which was the most effective training structure in Experiment 1. All participants were taught three 3-member stimulus equivalence classes using the MTO training structure. The experimental sequence consisted of a generalization probe and pretest followed by conditional discrimination training, symmetry test, equivalence test, and posttest. Upon the completion of the training and testing phases a generalization probe was evaluated. Five participants demonstrated equivalence relations. The results show that the MTO training was superior to the OTM in the Experiment 1. Response latencies were faster in the MTO group during the training phases and slower in the testing conditions. Experiment 2 showed that only five participants demonstrated equivalence relations and transferred untaught relations to new setting. Results and implications are discussed in light of the research on equivalence and training structures in both adults and individual with intellectual disabilities.




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