Place, U. T., & Sofroniou, N. (1987). Equivalence classes, relational frames and the autoclitic. [Unpublished paper presented at the Christmas Conference of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group, University College, London, December 1987].
[Abstract]Sidman (Sidman 1971 and Sidman and Tailby 1982) defines an "equivalence class" in terms of the generalisation of responses on a matching to sample task which conforms to the principles of reflexivity (or identity), symmetry and transitivity. More recently, Hayes (forthcoming) has proposed that equivalence in this sense is only one amongst a number of "relational frames" which the child abstracts from particular relations which it encounters in the process of acquiring language. Hayes is not specific in characterising the experiences from which the child is supposed to abstract these relational frames. This paper explores the suggestion (Place forthcoming) that relational frames are a species of what Skinner (1957) calls "autoclitic frames". As here conceived, autoclitics are construed as syntactic operators which enable the speaker to construct novel sentences which are nevertheless intelligible to the listener. Likewise an autoclitic frame is seen as an abstract framework formed by autoclitic words, prefixes, suffixes and other autoclitic features, such as word order. When completed by the insertion of the appropriate tact words, phrases or clauses, an autoclitic frame yields an intelligible phrase or sentence. This hypothesis predicts that the child's acquisition of the ability to generalise in accordance with the principles of reflexivity, symmetry and transitivity on the matching to sample task will be found to depend on its ability to construct and draw the appropriate inferences from relational sentences which legitimise inferences of these kinds.
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Download: Place & Sofroniou (1987) Equivalence Classes, Relational Frames and the Autoclitic.pdf