Research Topics

Influences on emergent stimulus relations 

This research focuses on how we derive new knowledge that goes beyond the information given, or more technically, how we come to respond appropriately to relations among stimuli that have, in fact, never been associated in direct experience (i.e., they are "emergent"). We are particularly interested in the influence of extra-contingency behavior. This is learner behavior that is strictly speaking not required to be successful in a learning task, but may facilitate emergence of novel stimulus relations. 

Representative publications:

Carp, C. L., & Petursdottir, A.(2015). Intraverbal naming and equivalence class formation in children. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 104, 223-240. 

Cox, R. E., & Petursdottir, A. I. (2021). Training sequence effects on emergent conditional discriminations: Replication and extension to selection-based training. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 116, 208-224. 

Evaluating teaching procedures and designs

This research intersects with our research on the influences on emergent stimulus relations, but is more practically oriented. Specifically, it focuses on how the outcomes of instruction (e.g., computerized programmed instruction) are related to procedural variables, such as the way stimuli are presented, and to design variables, such as what the student practices directly and what is left to be inferred (i.e., left to emerge). 

Representative publications:

Petursdottir, A. I., & Aguilar, G. (2016). Order of stimulus presentation influences children’s acquisition in receptive identification tasks. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 58-68. 

Petursdottir, A. I., & Oliveira, J. S. C. D. (2020). Efficiency of equivalence-based instruction: A laboratory evaluation. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 114(1), 87-105.