Gina Green*, Z. Gabriela Sigurdardottir, Richard R. Saunders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


In two experiments, adult subjects completed match‐to‐sample training and testing to establish four equivalence classes of four figures each. Then the subjects were taught one three‐position sequence consisting of one stimulus from Class 1, one from Class 2, and one from Class 3. Inclusion of Class 4 stimuli in sequences was never reinforced, but two different stimuli from Class 4 appeared as distractors on each sequence trial. Tests assessed whether subjects would produce novel three‐position sequences composed of members of Classes 1 through 3 that had not been used in sequence training. Three subjects in Experiment 1 received instructions about the match‐to‐sample and sequencing tasks, in addition to training contingencies. All 3 demonstrated equivalence class formation after match‐to‐sample training. After they were taught one sequence with one member of Classes 1 through 3, none of these subjects produced untrained sequences with other equivalence class members reliably. One additional sequence was trained directly; thereafter 1 subject showed some evidence of transfer of the trained ordinal functions across the remaining members of the equivalence classes, but the other 2 did not. Following a review of equivalence class training and testing and a review of the original sequence training, all 3 subjects produced most of the predicted, untrained sequences on tests. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 with 2 adults but omitted all instructions except the minimal ones necessary to initiate responding. Unlike the subjects in Experiment 1, both of these subjects demonstrated virtually complete transfer of ordinal functions through the equivalence classes after direct training on just one sequence composed of one member of Classes 1 through 3. 1991 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-304
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1991

Other keywords

  • adults
  • equivalence classes
  • instructions
  • sequences
  • syntax classes
  • touchscreen response


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