Increased Knowledge about Eye Movements. A Systematical Manipulation of Training Directionality in Matching-to-Sample Tasks
The purpose of the first study was to operationalize eye-movement behavior during conditional discrimination training and testing for equivalence class formation and, furthermore, to provide a conceptual systematic framework on visual perception from a behavior analytic viewpoint. Based on influential publications on the observing response and on eye-fixations, we offer a conceptual distinction between fixating, attending, and observing—towards visual perception. Basically, (a) ocular observing responses occur with and without clear-cut eye-fixation; and (b) ocular observing responses are contextspecific, hence, vary across behaviors, settings, and individuals. In behavioral research, fixation measures such as time, rate, number, and pattern have profound implications as they reveal important information about eye-movement behavior during the response delay. In study 2, we explored the differential effects of training structures on fixation time and fixation rate during the formation of six 3-member equivalence classes— prepared in a serialized training arrangement. Within-subject designed, nine universitycollege students participated in the study. Results showed that one of three participants, prepared with MTO, OTM and LS, respectively, responded in accordance with stimulus equivalence. Further, participants who formed equivalence classes revealed longer fixations to sample stimuli and shorter fixation durations to comparison stimuli. Participants fixated both longer and more often at correct comparison stimuli, regardless of equivalence class formation. In study 3, the purpose was to systematically replicate study 2, that is, to explore the differential outcomes in fixation time and fixation rate during the formation of five 3-member stimulus equivalence classes—this time introduced in a group design and a more solid, concurrent training format. Thirty university-college students participated and results replicated findings from study 2: Participants who formed equivalence classes revealed in general longer fixation times to sample stimuli during training and longer fixation times and fixation rates to correct comparison stimuli, regardless of demonstrating equivalence class formation. In addition, fixation rate during training and testing was noteworthy higher for participants prepared with the MTO structure.
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