The Psychological Record

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 57–73 | Cite as

Selective Associations: A Methodological Critique

  • Rick A. Bevins


A crossover design must be used and a crossover data pattern must result if selective associations are to be inferred. In addition, three other methodological criteria must be met. (1) Only the nature of the reinforcer should be varied, (2) nonassociative explanations must be ruled out, and (3) the differences in behavior controlled by the conditioned stimuli (CSs) must be caused by a learning difference and not a performance difference. Experimental evidence typically cited as demonstrating the existence of selective associations was reviewed here and found to fall short of meeting the criteria stated herein. I conclude that interpretations invoking selective associations have been premature.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex House, Department of PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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