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Establishment and maintenance of equivalent classes: effects of punishment

Grant number: 19/01248-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): September 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal Investigator:Deisy das Graças de Souza
Grantee:Alceu Regaço dos Santos
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Equivalent classes are formed by all the positive elements that participate in the contingency. The main procedure used to study this phenomenon is matching-to-sample. Using this method, a lot of studies verified the effect of different variables of the task on the establishment and maintenance of equivalent stimulus classes. However, no study in the area has seeked to investigate the effects of punishment as an independent variable. Therefore, this research proposal aims to examine the effects of punishment and negative reinforcement on the formation and the maintenance of equivalent relations. Two experiments will be carried out: In Experiment 1, twenty participants will be divided into two groups (in both groups, the classes A1B1C1D1 and A2B2C2D2 will be taught). Group 1 will go through a training phase that will use only positive reinforcement, Group 2 will be exposed to a training phase that will consist in the use of positive reinforcement and punishment, and Group 3 will go through a training phase that will use only punishment. After the formation, BD/DB relations will be tested. D stimuli are going to be evaluated by a Semantic Differential Scale and the participants will undergo an IRAP test to verify the strength of the relations. These phases are going to be repeated, for all subjects of all groups, between 30 and 35 days after the class formation to check the maintenance.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
REGACO, ALCEU; ZAPPAROLI, HELOISA R. R.; AGGIO, NATALIA M. M.; SILVEIRA, MARCELO VITOR; ARNTZEN, ERIK. Maintenance of Stimulus Equivalence Classes: A Bibliographic Review. PSYCHOLOGICAL RECORD, v. N/A, p. 11-pg., . (19/01248-2, 14/50909-8)

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