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
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 Equivalence Classes
Formally defined by reflexivity, symmetry and transivity between class members.
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.
The relationship between A and B, and B and C.
e.g. picture of apple --> "apple" OR
"apple" --> WORD: apple