Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jack L. Michael

Second Advisor

Dr. Dick Malott

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Phil Chase


Michael (1985) distinguished between selection-based and topography-based verbal behavior. Some researchers have started to examine this distinction, as does this research. This study examined the contribution that response-produced kinesthetic stimulation has on the acquisition of conditional discriminations and equivalence relations by college students. To accomplish this, a special computerized nonidentity matching-to-sample task (a selection-based task) was created, which arranged for each participant to perform under two conditions. The first condition arranged for participants to make a stereotypical response to each choice stimulus selected. The second condition arranged for a unique response to be made to each choice selected. The number of incorrect responses and latencies were recorded.

Initial findings indicated little difference between the two conditions. Exit interview data indicated that all participants used vocal verbal behavior (overt or covert) as an aid in performing the arranged task. A final session was conducted in which less discriminable sample stimuli were used. In addition the vocal verbal behavior of participants was examined while they engaged in the arranged task (a protocol analysis, Ericcson & Simon, 1993).

The results of the protocol analysis indicate that specific types of comments typically preceded correct choices, lending support to the possibility that some conditional discrimination tasks, and emergent equivalence relations, are mediated by topography-based responding.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons