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Journal of the Experimental Analysis of behavior

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A within-participant comparison of simple-to-complex, complex-to-simple, and simultaneous protocols was conducted establishing different sets of three 7-member equivalence classes for 4 undergraduate students. The protocols were implemented under either accuracy-only or accuracy-plus-speed conditions while keeping number of presentations of training and testing trials equal. The results partially support previous reports of differential effects on acquisition, with participants completing more blocks in training under the simultaneous than the complex-to-simple and the simple-to-complex protocols. Across the protocols, however, the number of trials completed to criterion did not vary systematically. More important, response speed and accuracy did not decrease as a function of nodal number, with or without the speed contingency, or under any protocol. The latter results challenge the generality of previous reports of the nodality effect and the notion of “relatedness” of equivalence-class members, and support a reinforcement-contingency, instead of a structural, perspective on equivalence-class formation.


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