12.17 Transformation of Stimulus Functions Based on Arbitrary Relations

Research has also shown that the psychological functions of a stimulus can change or transform on the basis of its relation to other stimuli—even when that relation is not based on the physical properties of the stimuli1,2,3. That is, stimulus functions can change or transform even when the relation is an arbitrary one specified by contextual cues rather than the physical properties of the stimuli4.

A diagram showing the process of registering a small business with the US government.
  1. Dougher, M. J., Hamilton, D. A., Fink, B. C., and Harrington, J. (2007). Transformation of the discriminative and eliciting functions of generalized relational stimuliJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 88, 179-197.
  2. Hayes, S. C., Brownstein, A. J., Devany, J. M., Kohlenberg, B. S., and Shelby, J. (1987). Stimulus equivalence and the symbolic control of behaviorMexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, 13, 361-374.
  3. Roche, B., and Barnes, D. (1997). A transformation of respondently conditioned functions in accordance with arbitrarily applicable relationsJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 67, 275-301.
  4. Dymond, S., & Rehfeldt, R. A. (2000). Understanding complex behavior: The transformation of stimulus functions. The Behavior Analyst, 23, 239-254.
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