Document Type



This research examined in 26 undergraduate students a form of
instructional control of certain emergent relations definitional of the
stimulus-equivalence relationship. The subjects read 2 pages that
explained a paper-and-pencil match-to-sample procedure, and then
went on to solve 11 more pages of matching-to-sample problems.
Each of the first 10 of these last 11 pages was introduced by an
instruction of the form, "Matches means [verb]," for example, "Matches
means EATS," followed by the facts that established two related
conditional discriminations in the specific forms, A [verb] 1, B [verb] 2,
1 [verb] X, and 2 [verb]y' Of 12 subsequent probes on the same page,
4 tested for these original relations and 8 for any symmetry, transitivity,
and symmetric-transitivity (often called equivalence) properties of
those relations. The 11 th (final) page was introduced by the
instruction: ''This time, no meaning of matches is specified." Of the 10
pages, 5 specifying a verb as the meaning of "matches" used
equivalence verbs (EQUALS, IS, IS PARALLEL TO, GOES WITH, and
MATCHES); another 5 specified nonequivalence verbs (EATS,
OWES, PAYS, LIKES, and TEACHES). For 15 of 25 subjects, different
verbs differentially controlled the emergence of the untrained relations
revealing the symmetry, transitivity, and symmetric-transitivity
properties of the original relations. For the remaining 10 subjects,
these untrained relations either emerged uniformly despite verb
differences (5 subjects), or were absent despite verb differences (5
subjects). The types of verbs or explanations provided by the subjects
in response to the 11th problem, which offered no verb but requested
an explanation of how the subjects had answered the probes, always
reflected each subject's prior equivalence or nonequivalence
responding to the earlier probes. Thus, imposing relevant instructions
on two directly established interlocking conditional discriminations can
account for much of the emergence of the new, untrained relations
definitional of equivalence relations.