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J Exp Anal Behav. 2002 Nov;78(3):527-49.

Naming and categorization in young children: vocal tact training.

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School of Psychology, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, United Kingdom.


In three experiments, 2- to 4-year-old children, following pretraining with everyday objects, were presented with arbitrary stimuli of differing shapes. In Experiment 1A, 9 subjects were trained one common tact response, "zag," to three of these and a second tact, "vek," to another three. In category match-to-sample Test 1, 4 subjects sorted accurately when required only to look at the sample before selecting from five comparisons. The remaining 5 subjects succeeded in Test 2, in which they were required to tact the sample before selecting comparisons. Experiment 1B showed, for 2 of these subjects, that tact training with 12 arbitrary stimuli established two six-member classes that were still intact 6 weeks later. In Experiment 2, 3 new subjects participated in a common tact training procedure that ensured that none of the exemplars from the same class were presented together prior to the test for three-member classes. Two subjects passed category Test 1 and the third passed Test 2. Tests showed subjects' listener behavior in response to hearing /zog/ and /vek/ to be in place. These experiments indicate that common naming is effective in establishing arbitrary stimulus classes and that category match-to-sample testing provides a robust measure of categorization.

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