Membership of Defined Responses in Stimulus Classes

UMMS Affiliation

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center; Shriver Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Applied Behavior Analysis | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms


Sidman (2000) has suggested that in addition to conditional and discriminative stimuli, class-consistent defined responses can also become part of an equivalence class. In the current study, this assertion was tested using a mixed-schedule procedure that allowed defined response patterns to be "presented" as samples in the absence of different occasioning stimuli. Four typically developing adults were first trained to make distinct response topographies to two visual color stimuli, and then were taught to match those color stimuli to two different form-sample stimuli in a matching task. Three separate tests were given in order to determine whether training had established two classes each comprised of a response, a color, and a form: a form-response test in which the forms were presented to test if the participants would make differential responses to them; and two response-matching tests to test if the participants would match visual stimulus comparisons to response-pattern samples. Three of the four participants showed class-consistent responding in the tests, although some participants needed additional training prior to passing the tests. In general, the data indicated that the different response patterns had entered into a class with the visual stimuli. These results add to a growing literature on the role of class-consistent responding in stimulus class formation, and provide support for the notion that differential responses themselves can become a part of an equivalence class.


Lionello-Denolf KM, Braga-Kenyon P. Membership of Defined Responses in Stimulus Classes. Psychol Rec. 2013 Sep 22;63(4):769-784. PubMed PMID: 24778458; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3999903.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Psychological record

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID