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Understanding behavior under nonverbal transitive-inference procedures: Stimulus-control-topography analyses
- Galizio, Ann, Doughty, Adam H., Williams, Dean C., Saunders, Kathryn J.
- Behavioural processes 2017 v.140 pp. 202-215
- college students, humans, topography
- Following training with verbal stimulus relations involving A is greater than B and B is greater than C, verbally-competent individuals reliably select A>C when asked “which is greater, A or C?” (i.e., verbal transitive inference). This result is easy to interpret. Nonhuman animals and humans with and without intellectual disabilities have been exposed to nonverbal transitive-inference procedures involving trained arbitrary stimulus relations. Following the training of A+B-, B+C-, C+D-, and D+E-, B reliably is selected over D (i.e., nonverbal transitive inference). Such findings are more challenging to interpret. The present research explored accounts of nonverbal transitive inference based in transitive inference per se, reinforcement, such as value-transfer theory, and operant stimulus control. In Experiment 1, college students selected B>G following the training of A+B-, B+C-, C+D-///E+F-, F+G-, and G+H- (where///signifies the omission of D+E-). In Experiment 2, college students selected B>G following the training of A+B-, B+C-, C+D-///E+F-, F+G-, and G+X- (where X refers to 10 stimuli that alternated across trials). In Experiment 3, college students selected G>B following the training of Y+B-, B+C-, C+D-///E+F-, F+G-, and G+X- (where Y and X refer to 10 stimuli, respectively, that alternated across trials). These findings are discussed in the context of operant stimulus control by offering an approach based in stimulus B typically acquiring only a select stimulus control topography.