The Psychological Record

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 49–60 | Cite as

Emergence of Simpler Untested Derived Stimulus Relations in Extinction: Implications for Understanding Derived Relational Learning

  • Adam H. Doughty
  • Samantha E. Brenner
  • Madison L. Fox
  • Sterling M. Rippy
Original Article


The purpose of the present research was to clarify further the necessary and sufficient conditions that establish derived stimulus relations. Under more complex conditions (i.e., training involving four, four-member stimulus classes), past research has demonstrated that untested stimulus relations did not emerge when recently trained relational responding was extinguished. The present research examined whether such emergence was more likely under less complex conditions. In experiment 1, untested equivalence relations emerged in extinction using a training structure with three, three-member classes. In experiment 2, untested symmetrical relations emerged in extinction using a training structure with four, four-member classes. The necessary and sufficient conditions that establish derived stimulus classes seem to depend on environmental complexity. Presented are the implications of these findings for conceptualizing derived relational responding as a generalized, or higher-order, response class.


Derived stimulus relation Emergent learning Extinction Stimulus equivalence Human Mouse click 


Funding Information

This study was not externally funded.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this research were in accordance with the ethical standards of our institutional committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this research.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam H. Doughty
    • 1
  • Samantha E. Brenner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Madison L. Fox
    • 1
  • Sterling M. Rippy
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.University of North Carolina-WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA

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