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J Exp Anal Behav. 2014 Jul;102(1):139-49. doi: 10.1002/jeab.93. Epub 2014 Jun 25.

Emergence of auditory-visual relations from a visual-visual baseline with auditory-specific consequences in individuals with autism.

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Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil; Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia sobre Comportamento, Cognição e Ensino.


Empirical studies have demonstrated that class-specific contingencies may engender stimulus-reinforcer relations. In these studies, crossmodal relations emerged when crossmodal relations comprised the baseline, and intramodal relations emerged when intramodal relations were taught during baseline. This study investigated whether auditory-visual relations (crossmodal) would emerge after participants learned a visual-visual baseline (intramodal) with auditory stimuli presented as specific consequences. Four individuals with autism learned AB and CD relations with class-specific reinforcers. When A1 and C1 were presented as samples, the selections of B1 and D1, respectively, were followed by an edible (R1) and a sound (S1). Selections of B2 and D2 under the control of A2 and C2, respectively, were followed by R2 and S2. Probe trials tested for visual-visual AC, CA, AD, DA, BC, CB, BD, and DB emergent relations and auditory-visual SA, SB, SC, and SD emergent relations. All of the participants demonstrated the emergence of all auditory-visual relations, and three of four participants showed emergence of all visual-visual relations. Thus, the emergence of auditory-visual relations from specific auditory consequences suggests that these relations do not depend on crossmodal baseline training. The procedure has great potential for applied technology to generate auditory-visual discriminations and stimulus classes in the context of behavior-analytic interventions for autism.


auditory-visual discrimination; autism; conditional discrimination; equivalence relations; outcome specific reinforcement

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