Equivalence classes in individuals with minimal verbal repertoires

D. Carr, K. M. Wilkinson, D. Blackman, W. J. McIlvane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Studies from two different laboratories tested for equivalence classes in individuals with severe mental retardation and minimal verbal repertoires. In the first study, 3 individuals learned several matching-to-sample performances: matching picture comparison stimuli to dictated-word sample stimuli (AB), matching those same pictures to printed letter samples (CB), and also matching the pictures to nonrepresentative forms (DB). On subsequent tests, all individuals immediately displayed Emergent Relations AC, AD, BC, BD, CD, and DC, together constituting a positive demonstration of equivalence (as defined by Sidman). The second study obtained a positive equivalence test outcome in 1 of 2 individuals with similarly minimal verbal repertoires. Taken together, these studies call into question previous assertions that equivalence classes are demonstrable only in individuals with well-developed language repertoires.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-114
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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