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antecedent stimulus class

a set of stimuli that share a common relationship; al of the stimuli evoke the same operant response class, or elicit the same respondent behavior. This evocative or eliciting function is the only common property among the stimuli in the class.

arbitrary stimulus class

stimuli that evoke the same response but do not share a common stimulus feature (i.e., they do not resemble each other in physical form, nor do th

concept formation

a complex example of stimulus control taht requires both stimulus generalization within a class of stimuli and discrimination between classes of stimuli

discriminative stimulus (S^D)

signals the availability of some reinforcement;

a stimulus in the presence of which responses of some type have been reinforced and in the absence of which the same type of responses have occurred and not been reinforced.

feature stimulus class

stimuli that share common physical forms (e.g., topographical structures) OR common relative relations (e.g., spatial arrangements).


procedure used to develop and test for stimulus equivalence;


occurs when in the absence of training and reinforcement a response will select a stimulus that is matched to itself; has occurred if the participant (without instruction) selects the bicycle from the three choice pictures when shown a picture of a bicycle.

stimulus control

in this condition, behavior occurs more often in the presence of a discriminative stimulus (S^D) than in its absence;

occurs when the rate, latency, duration, or amplitude of a response is altered in the presence of an antecedent stimulus.

stimulus delta (S^delta)

a stimulus in the presence of which a given behavior has not produced reinforcement in the past.

stimulus discrimination training

requires one behavior and two antecedent stimulus conditions. Responses are reinforced in the presence of one stimulus condition, the S^D, but responses are not reinforced in the presence of the other stimulus, the S^delta;

altering conditions of reinforcement and extinction - a responses produces reinforcement in the S^D condition but not in the S^delta condition.

stimulus equivalence

describes the emergence of accurate responding to untrained and nonreinforced stimulus-stimulus relations following the reinforcement of responses to some stimulus-stimulus relations;

testing must be done for reflexivity, symmetry and transitivity among stimulus-stimulus relations. A positive demonstration of all three behavioral tests is necessary to meet the definition among a set of arbitrary stimuli.

stimulus generalization

when an antecedent stimulus has a history of evoking a response that has been reinforced in its presence, the same type of behavior tends to be evoked by stimuli that share similar physical properties with the controlling antecedent stimulus.

stimulus generalization gradient

graphically depicts the degree of stimulus generalization and discrimination by showing the extent to which responses reinforced in one stimulus condition are emitted in the presence of untrained stimuli; flat slope = little stimulus control and increasing slope = more stimulus control.


occurs with the reversibility of the sample stimulus and comparison stimulus (e.g., if A = B, then B = A);

presented with the word car (sample stimulus A), to select a picture of a car (comparison B). When presented with the picture of a car (sample stimulus B), without additional training or reinforcement, the learner selects the comparison spoken word car (comparison A).


occurs when a derived (i.e., untrained) stimulus-stimulus relation (e.g., A=C, C=A) emerges as a product of training two other stimulus-stimulus relations (e.g., A=B and B=C); final and critical test for stimulus equivalence.

If A (spoken word bicycle) = B (picture of a bicycle), and B (picture of a bicycle) = C (written word bicycle), then C (written word bicycle) = A (spoken name bicycle).

stimulus discrimination

occurs when different stimuli that are similar to the controlling antecedent stimulus do not evoke the same response as the controlling stimulus.

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