4.33 Derived Stimulus Relations and Symbolism

One of the reasons derived stimulus relations are so interesting is that they provide a model for understanding the symbolism of language1. In this example from earlier, the trained and derived relations show how the spoken and written words serve as interchangeable symbols for the picture of the fox. Both the spoken and written forms of the word fox now “refer to” or “stand for” the image of an actual fox.

A diagram depicting the symbolic relationship between a fox and a mouse.
Words “refer” to other things

What a word “refers” to is often its meaning
We can create and understand an infinite number of meaningful sentences
  1. Hall, G. A. and Chase, Philip N. (1991). The relationship between stimulus equivalence and verbal behaviorThe Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 9, 107-119.
Post a comment
This section is for the civil and public discussion of the content of this page. We reserve the right to moderate and remove comments that are irrelevant, disrespectful, hateful, harassing, threatening, or spamlike. If you are experiencing a technical issue, please contact our helpdesk for assistance.

Leave a Comment