Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Paul T. Mountjoy

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Thelma Urbick


The effects of specific or similar physical properties between discriminative stimuli and reinforcers in tact training were studied. Stimulus-specific reinforcement and stimulus-nonspecific reinforcement conditions were compared using a matched-groups design. When subjects correctly tacted in the former condition, the experimenter gave reinforcers with identical physical properties to the training stimuli. When subjects correctly tacted in the latter condition, the experimenter delivered reinforcers with different physical properties from the nonverbal training stimulus.

The subjects demonstrated no overall differences in learning trials. Only one subject, trained with stimulus- specific reinforcement learned tacts in consistently fewer trials than his counterpart trained with stimulus-nonspecific reinforcement.

Subjects demonstrated generalized responding respective to their training. Subjects trained with stimulus nonspecific reinforcement demonstrated increased generalized mand responding during probe sessions. Subjects trained with stimulus-specific reinforcement demonstrated increased generalized mand compliance responding during probe sessions.

The results suggest that training tacts with stimulus- specific reinforcement does not significantly increase acquisition rates compared to training tacts with stimulus-nonspecific reinforcement. However, the tacts trained in this study were controlled by both discriminative and motivative variables and had the effect of facilitating the transfer of control for learned behavior to different, untrained stimulus conditions. Subjects demonstrated increased functional repertoires (tact, mand, and mand compliance) as a result of tact training alone.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons