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Stimulus Equivalence

A behavioural process to understanding semantics

Generalised Operants

Contingencies apply to the class of behaviours, not just the individual instance of a behaviour e.g. a person may be reinforced for not only a specific instance of imitating, but also the behaviour of imitating itself

Higher order classes of Behaviour

Contingencies may operate differently for the class of behaviour than for specific instances

Perceptual Concept

Dimensional, fuzzy class (natural category)

Functional Equivalence Class

Stimuli which serve the same function or engender the same response. If the function of one class member is altered, then the new function will transfer to other class members
(Stimulus-response relations)

Stimulus Equivalence Classes

Formally defined by reflexivity, symmetry and transivity between class members.
(Stimulus-stimulus relations)

Animals in Stimulus Equivalence

There is research to support that animals are capable of s.e. E.g. Yamamoto & Asano (1995) used Ai the chimp who had 7 years of language training.


Identity matching. A --> A.
e.g. picture of apple --> picture of apple


The relationship between A and B, and B and C.
e.g. picture of apple --> "apple" OR
"apple" --> WORD: apple


Relationship between A and C.
E.g. picture of apple --> WORD: apple

Emergent Behaviours

B --> A is emergence symmetry; C --> B is emergence transivity

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