9.2 Multiple Exemplar Training and Generalized Operants

The exact learning history or experiences required to make types of relational responding generalized operants is a matter for empirical research. Some of this research has been conducted1,2, but much more needs to be done. However, the experiences that give rise to other generalized operants, along with some common features of most humans’ experiences, can provide us with useful clues. Most humans have experiences that suggest generalized forms of relational responding are shaped the same way other generalized operants are: multiple exemplar training.

OperantClass of responses that often have the same effect in a given context
Generalized OperantAn operant in which the form of the individual responses varies considerably
  1. Luciano, C., Becerra, I. G., and Valverde, M. R. (2007). The role of multiple-exemplar training and naming in establishing derived equivalence in an infantJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 87(3), 349-365.
  2. Healy, O., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Smeets, P.M. (2000) Derived relational responding as generalized operant behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 74, 207-227
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