Psychology ETDs

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The experiment was designed to test the hypothesis that the distributions of observing responses made within a stimulus differ during tactual stimulus predifferentiation training as a function of the labeling task used and that subsequent perceptual performance can be related to correlated differential practice with the stimuli during predifferentiation, as exhibited by differences in observing-response distributions during the earlier task. One hundred twenty Ss were given a multiple-shape recognition test subsequent to one of 12 experimental conditions: 2, 4, or 8 trials of either observation or equivalence stimulus-predifferentiation training under one of two conditions of observing-response freedom. The results indicated no significant difference in observing-response distributions between labeling versus non-labeling predifferentiation groups at all levels of training; however, free-observing equivalence group Ss made significantly fewer overall observing responses to the stimuli during the first two trials of training than did observation group Ss during the same interval of training. The difference in mean total observing responses between the free-observing groups became non-significant as the number of trials of predifferentiation training increased. The recognition task results indicated no difference in recognition performance of groups who had comparable observing-response rates during predifferentiation. Only the free-observing equivalence group given two trials of training made fewer correct recognitions than did groups given observation training. These findings are viewed as giving tentative support to the hypothesis that a label supplied to a stimulus acts as a discriminative stimulus which exerts control over observing responses; however, it is suggested that refined examinations of the relationships between labels and observing responses are necessary for a clearer understanding of the underlying perceptual process.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Henry Carleton Ellis

Second Committee Member

Sidney Rosenblum

Third Committee Member

David Wilmot Bessemer

Fourth Committee Member

Frank Anderson Logan



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Psychology Commons