The Analysis of Verbal Behavior (1995) 12,
Generalized Instructional Control and the Production
Broadly Applicable Relational Responding
Barry Lowenkron and Vicki Colvin
Two experiments examined the performance of preschool children
in tasks requiring the generalized matching of faces to faces and names
to faces under the control of instructional stimuli (background color)
that specified the basis by which faces were to be matched on a given trial.
The children first learned to recite all the names, and select all the
faces, in a fixed order (the forward order). They then learned to
select the faces in response to their spoken names. When the faces
appeared on a white background, subjects selected the face named.
On a gray background, they selected the face whose name was next forward.
Subsequently, over a series of tests, when subjects were presented with
novel, but similar stimuli with the same names, and with completely novel
stimuli with novel names, control by the white and gray background colors
generalized. In the second experiment, on trials with the gray background,
when the face bearing the next-forward relation was not present, the children
learned to select an appropriate substitute (two faces forward).
This performance also generalized to novel stimuli. Together with earlier
findings, these data suggest that widely generalized relational matching
performances may arise because the labels for these relations are generically
and metaphorically extended tacts.
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