13 publications that cite Place (1995/6). Symbolic processes and stimulus equivalence.

Dickins D. W. (2001). Equivalence is to do with symbols, and it is cognitive, European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 2(1), 53-56. doi:10.1080/15021149.2001.11434171
[Citing Place (1995/6) in context]  

Dickins D. W. (2005). On aims and methods in the neuroimaging of derived relations. Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior84(3), 453–483. doi:10.1901/jeab.2005.92-04
[Abstract]Ingenious and seemingly powerful technologies have been developed recently that enable the visualization in some detail of events in the brain concomitant upon the ongoing behavioral performance of a human participant. Measurement of such brain events offers at the very least a new set of dependent variables in relation to which the independent variables familiarly manipulated in the operant laboratory may be explored. Two related paradigms in which a start has been made in such research concern the derivation of novel or emergent relations from a baseline set of trained relations, and include the phenomenon of transitive inference (TI), observed in studies of stimulus equivalence (SE) and serial learning (SL) or seriation. This paper reviews some published and forthcoming neuroimaging studies of these and related phenomena, and considers how this line of research both demands and represents a welcome synthesis between types of question and levels of explanation in behavioral science that often have been seen as antithetical.
[Citing Place (1995/6) in context]  

Dickins, D. W. (2011). Transitive Inference in Stimulus Equivalence and Serial Learning. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 12(2), 523–555.
[Abstract]The logical and behavioural properties of stimulus equivalence (SE) sets and serial learning (SL) sets are different, yet either can be derived from a randomly presented number of overlapping premise pairs, and both show transitive inference (TI). A within-participant experiment is reported which attempted to base both types of set on the same stimuli. To provide an ‘ecologically valid’ context the stimuli were photographs of 2 imaginary groups of 7 students ordered within each group by ‘exam grades’. Participants were given respondent-type training in ‘study phases’ in which the 12 premise pairs of photos were randomly presented without a response being required, alternating with ‘response phases’ in which the 10 participants in the ‘SE first’ group received matching-to-sample trials and the 10 in the ‘SL first’ group received trials with the study pairs of stimuli, in which they had to indicate whether these were in the same order as in the study phase or had been switched around. TI testing was then first conducted using the same requirement as in training, followed by similar tests using the other kind of response requirement. In a parallel sorting test participants were shown the 14 photos in random array on a screen and were asked to arrange them into 2 ordered groups. is sorting test was given 3 times, (1) after initial training on either SE or SL; (2) after TI testing with the same paradigm; (3) after TI testing with the opposite paradigm. Though the yield of accurate responding on the TI tests was poor, performance on initial TI testing was both more accurate and showed greater positive transfer to the other kind of TI test when SL preceded SE than vice versa. Results on the sorting task gave stronger indications of set formation than the TI tests, particularly in the SL first group. There were signs of the predicted increase in accuracy and decrease in RT as a function of increasing numbers of nodes in SL in the SL-first group, and some sign of the predicted inverse relation between accuracy and nodal number in SE for the SE-first group. When the groups switched to the opposite types of test to that on which they had been trained both showed an overall reduction in RTs and both showed decreasing RTs with increasing numbers of nodes. Unsurprisingly the experiment raised more questions than it could answer but suggested ways in which the similarities and differences between SL and SE, and how they interact, may be further explored.
[Citing Place (1995/6) in context]  

Dickins, D. W. (2015). A Simpler Route to Stimulus Equivalence? A Replication and Further Exploration of a “Simple Discrimination Training Procedure” (Canovas, Debert and Pilgrim 2014). The Psychological Record, 65, 637–647. doi:10.1007/s40732-015-0134-3
[Abstract]In a recent paper in this journal, Canovas, Debert and Pilgrim (The Psychological Record, 65(2), 337–346, 2015), in their second experiment, taught participants to make one key press to each of three simple visual stimuli and an alternative response to another three. They then trained two new key presses to one stimulus from each class, which then transferred to the other stimuli in each class. When subsequently presented with compounds of two stimuli, participants indicated “correct” to within-class compounds, but “incorrect” to between-class compounds. The present study starts with a successful replication of this seemingly new way of establishing stimulus equivalence classes, with an added matching-to-sample test at the end. In two further experiments, the visual stimuli were replaced by non-words, with two further non-words to be said aloud in place of key-presses. These showed that it was possible to establish two or three equivalence classes using such initial discrimination training, even when the prior demonstration of functional equivalence classes by transfer-of-training to a second set of responses was omitted. Other ways of conceptualizing these methods of training are considered, together with some implications for enlarging our understanding of equivalence class formation.
[Citing Place (1995/6)]  

Dickins, D. W. (2015). Stimulus Equivalence: A Laboratory Artefact or the Heart of Language? [Doctoral thesis]. University of Huddersfield. eprints.hud.ac.uk/26942/
[Abstract]This thesis surveys some of the implications of the presented collection of publications, all of which address the phenomenon of stimulus equivalence. Stimulus equivalence SE is first operationally defined in terms of Sidmans trio of criteria: symmetry, transitivity, and reflexivity (Sidman & Tailby, 1982). Then some of its main features – the phenomenon of delayed emergence, the effects of nodes, and the influence of properties of the stimuli used, including nameability and meaningfulness - as exemplified in the empirical studies presented, are evaluated in the light of recent literature. The variety of ways in which SE classes may be formed are described, and the question of when SE relations take effect – during the training of the base relations, or subsequently, or only in the course of unreinforced testing for derived relations – is discussed. The effects of nodal number in multi-nodal linear classes are examined and contrasted with those in serial learning. Some methods of chronometric and protocol analysis, as developed in some of the collected studies, are described, and the outlines of a model of SE class formation they might help to form is presented. The role of naming and of language in general is discussed as a sufficient route to SE class formation, but not one that is perhaps necessary for its laboratory demonstration. The role of SE in the opposite direction, in the ontogeny and phylogeny of language, is considered. Here, besides learned speculation, more empirical studies are awaited, of children, and some new developments in comparative cognition. Highlights are described of the few brain imaging studies implicating SE, following the pioneering empirical study and the earlier review in the presented collection. The survey ends by again extolling the relevance of Tinbergen's (1963) four levels of explanation in behavioural biology to see the phenomena of SE in appropriate perspective.
[Citing Place (1995/6)]  

Dickins, D. W. (2022). Bliss in that dawn: The beginnings of operant psychology in the UK History & Philosophy of Psychology, 23(1), 33-49. doi:10.53841/bpshpp.2022.23.1.33
[Abstract]Although the first research in the UK to achieve what amounted to operant conditioning (Grindley, 1932) was published in the same year as Skinner’s pioneer publication no similar procedure seems to have been carried out in Britain until Hurwitz founded an operant laboratory at Birkbeck, (then Birkbeck College), University of London, in the early 1950s, presumably inspired by his meeting with Skinner in 1951, and their subsequent friendship. It certainly was an import from America, fortified by local solutions for providing suitable control equipment. The author was a student of Hurwitz at Birkbeck (1957–1961) and was researching (1961–1964) close by at University College (UCL). There follows a largely biographical account of how operant conditioning, initially mostly in rats, spread around universities in the UK. Many of the people concerned, and others not mentioned, shared their ideas at meetings of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group (EABG) that informally sprang up in the early 1960s, initially without funding or its own journal. In coordination with the later emergence of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis (EABA) and its associated journal (European Journal of Behaviour Analysis) the organisation of the EABG has become established in Bangor, and holds regular biennial meetings at University College, London, alternating with those of the EABA in other parts of Europe. The EABG continues to attract many foreign attendees, including from the US, but some of its earlier enthusiasts no longer attend, whilst those attending mostly see themselves as Behaviour Analysts, reflecting changes both in the theory and practice of operant psychology. While operant technology remains a useful tool for those seeking a broad biological and authentic evolutionary understanding of behaviour, the philosophy of operant psychology as an all-encompassing approach to behavioural science has proved divisive.
[Citing Place (1956)]  [Citing Place (1981a)]  [Citing Place (1995/6)]  [Citing Place (1996a)]  [Citing Place (1998d)]  [Citing Place (1998e)]  

Dickins, D. W., Singh, K., Roberts, N., Burns, P., Downes, J., Jimmieson, P., & Bentall, R. (2001). An fMRI study of stimulus equivalence. Neuroreport, 12(2), 405-411. www.academia.edu/download/43697924/An_fMRI_study_of_stimulus_equivalence20160313-1683-54en2k.pdf
[Abstract]In order to study brain activation during the formation of equivalence relations, 12 subjects (mean age 27.6 yrs) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during matching-to-sample (MTS) tests of (1) previously trained arbitrary relationships between iconic stimuli and the untrained, emergent relations of (2) symmetry, (3) transitivity, and (4) symmetry with transitivity, plus a test of verbal fluency (VF). Brain activation was similar in all MTS tasks and in the VF task. In particular, both types of task activated dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and posterior parietal cortex bilaterally. However VF, but not the MTS tasks, activated Broca's area. In three of the four MTS tasks, behavioural accuracy was significantly correlated with left lateralisation of DLPFC activity. Brain activation patterns during equivalence thus resembled those involved in semantic processing underlying language, without involving regions concerned with the simple sub-vocal articulation of stimulus names.
[Citing Place (1995/6)]  

Dickins, T. E. (2001). On the origin of symbols. Connexions, (5), 2-18
About the journal: Connexions - An online journal of cognitive science. ISSN 1368-3233 In the period 1997 - 2003 there appeared 6 issues. The journal is archived at www.keithfrankish.com/connexions/
[Citing Place (1995/6)]  [Citing Place (2000c)]  [Citing Place (2000g)]  

Dickins, T. E. (2003). General Symbol Machines: The First Stage in the Evolution of Symbolic Communication. Evolutionary Psychology, 1(1), 192-209. doi:10.1177/147470490300100116
[Abstract]Humans uniquely form stimulus equivalence (SE) classes of abstract and unrelated stimuli, i.e. if taught to match A with B and B with C, they will spontaneously match B with A, and C with B, (the relation of symmetry), and A with C (transitivity). Other species do not do this. The SE ability is possibly the consequence of a specific selection event in the Homo lineage. SE is of interest because it appears to demonstrate a facility that is core to symbolic behavior. Linguistic symbols, for example, are arbitrarily and symmetrically related to their referent such that the term banana has no resemblance to bananas but when processed can be used to discriminate bananas. Equally when bananas are perceived the term banana is readily produced. This relation is arguably the defining mark of symbolic representation. In this paper I shall detail the SE phenomenon and argue that it is evidence for a cognitive device that I term a General Symbol Machine (GSM). The GSM not only sets the background condition for subsequent linguistic evolution but also for other symbolic behaviors such as mathematical reasoning. In so doing the GSM is not particularly domain-specific. The apparent domain-specificity of, for example, natural language is a consequence of other computational developments. This introduces complexity to evolutionary arguments about cognitive architecture.
[Citing Place (1995/6) in context]  

Dickins, T. E., & Dickins, D. W. (2001). Symbols, stimulus equivalence and the origins of language. Behavior and Philosophy, 29, 221-244. [Ullin Place Special Issue] www.jstor.org/stable/27759429
[Abstract]Recent interest in the origins of language, within the strongly cognitive field of Evolutionary Psychology, has predominantly focused upon the origins of syntax (cf. Hurford, Knight, & Studdert-Kennedy, 1998). However, Ullin Place's (2000a) theory of the gestural origins of language also addresses the more fundamental issue of the antecedents of symbols, and does so from a behaviorist perspective, stressing the importance of the peculiarly human ability to form stimulus equivalence classes. The rejection by many developmental psychologists of a behaviorist account of language acquisition has led to a modular and distinctly nativist psychology of language (cf. Pinker, 1994, 1997; Pinker & Bloom, 1990). Little has been said about the role or nature of learning mechanisms in the evolution of language. Although Place does not provide any defense of a behaviorist linguistic ontogeny, this is no reason to rule out his phylogenetic speculations. We aim to outline Place's evolutionarily parsimonious view of symbol origins and their relation to stimulus equivalence. We applaud Ullin Place for bringing symbols into focus within the broader discipline of language origins and suggest that he has raised an interesting set of questions to be discussed in future work.
[Citing Place (1995/6)]  [Citing Place (2000c)]  [Citing Place (2000g )]  
Download: Dickins (2001) Symbols, Stimulus Equivalence and the Origins of Language.pdf

Eilifsen, C. & Arntzen, E. (2017). Effects of Immediate Tests on the Long-Term Maintenance of Stimulus Equivalence Classes. The Psychological Record, 67(4), 447-461. doi:10.1007/s40732-017-0247-y
[Abstract]It has been suggested that stimulus equivalence is a central component of language and symbolic behavior. When teaching symbolic behavior, the goal is often to achieve a more or less permanent alteration of an individual's behavioral repertoire. As such, it seems important to assess not only variables affecting the establishment of stimulus equivalence but also variables affecting continued stimulus control exerted by stimulus equivalence class members over time. The current study investigated the role of the test for stimulus equivalence on the long-term maintenance of stimulus equivalence classes. Using one-to-many conditional discrimination training, 24 adult participants were taught to respond in line with three five-member stimulus classes. One group of 12 participants immediately completed a test for stimulus equivalence, and 12 other participants did not receive such a test. All 24 participants were subsequently tested for trained and derived relations under extinction conditions 2 and 4 weeks later without any further exposure to the contingencies of the conditional discrimination training. Results showed no differences between the two groups, with four participants in each group responding in accordance with both trained conditional discriminations and stimulus equivalence in the 4-week test. Six additional participants did, however, display systematic conditional performance during retention tests only partly consistent with the experimenter-defined classes.
[Citing Place (1995/6)]  

Eilifsen, C., & Arntzen, E. (2021) Mediated Generalization and Stimulus Equivalence Perspectives on Behavior Science, 44, 1–27. doi:10.1007/S40614-021-00281-3
[Abstract]From the 1930s to the 1970s a large number of experimental studies on mediated generalization were published, and this research tradition provided an important context for early research on stimulus equivalence. Mediated generalization and stimulus equivalence have several characteristics in common, notably that both traditions seek to experimentally investigate derived responding among arbitrarily related stimuli in human participants. Although studies of stimulus equivalence are currently being regularly published, few studies investigate mediated generalization in humans today, and the research tradition is mainly of historical interest. The current article will give an account of the origin, the development, and the demise of research on mediated generalization, including a presentation of publication trends, experimental methodology, and the conceptual context research on mediated generalization took place within. Finally, some thoughts on the demise of mediated generalization and its relevance for modern research on stimulus equivalence and other types of derived responding are presented, including reflections on the observability of explanatory variables and the use of inferential statistics.
[Citing Place (1995/6)]  

Tonneau, F (2001). Equivalence Relations: A Reply. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 2(1), 99-128. doi:10.1080/15021149.2001.11434185
[Abstract]Some commentaries on Equivalence relations: A critical analysis (this issue) have questioned the consistency and generality of a correlation-based alternative to equivalence-class research, whereas others defend the use of matching-equivalence concepts in behavior theory. In this reply I reiterate the most important points of the target article, provide further clarifications, and discuss various misunderstandings. In contrast to equivalence class notions, the concept of function transfer is clear, simple, and coherent; and it necessarily plays a crucial role in the behavioral analysis of complex psychological functioning. A molar view based on environmental networks is well qualified to explain function transfer and thus provide insights into a variety of complex behavioral phenomena.
[Citing Place (1995/6)]