Eliminating selective stimulus control: A comparison of two procedures for teaching mentaly retarded children to respond to compound stimuli

Keith D. Allen, R. Wayne Fuqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Selective stimulus control occurs when behavior fails to come under control of all characteristics of a compound stimulus after discrimination training. Two different assessment procedures, one used in prior research and the other incorporating incorrect stimuli (S-'s) which differed minimally from the correct stimulus (S+), were used to detect stimulus control deficits characteristic of selective stimulus control. The efficacy of two training procedures in eliminating selective stimulus control observed with three trainable mentally retarded children was evaluated in Experiment 1. A training procedure using S-'s that were minimally different from the S+ was designed to reduce the probability that stimulus discriminations could be based on stimulus characteristics other than experimenter-specified characteristics defining the S+. This procedure proved more effective in preventing and eliminating selective stimulus control as measured by both assessment procedures than an alternate discrimination training procedure that failed to impact the more stringent measures of selective stimulus control. Experiment 2 indicated that these improvements in stimulus control were not a function of varying degrees of difficulty between stimulus sets or of a prior history of discrimination training with the less effective training procedure. The need for better assessment procedures to detect selective stimulus control and suggestions for further improvements in discrimination training procedures are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-71
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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