An Analysis of Successive and Concurrently Available Stimuli in a Tactile Paired Associate Sorting Task
AuthorLaw, Stuart Michael
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Differences in designs for the investigation of ‘free-operant’ learning environments is an issue for which the field of Applied Behavior Analysis has relatively imprecise language and little research. However, specificity of terminology regarding procedural similarities in this area may have important implications with regard to available knowledge for reliably predicting more efficient teaching methods. Lindsley (1996) set forth some parameters which could shed some light on these issues. Whereas his rationale was largely founded in extensive clinical experience, his “Four Free Operant Freedoms” will be examined more closely in an experimental preparation. This study evaluated learning patterns for both “successively available” and “concurrently available” stimulus presentations for a kinesthetic task. Results indicated that for this tactile paired-associate task, successively available shape presentation methods led to response acquisition rates which were, on average, 20% faster than when shapes were available concurrently. Implications and potential secondary findings are discussed.