Resistência à mudança de atitude preconceituosa racial avaliada pelo paradigma de equivalência de estímulos
Carvalho, Marilia Pinheiro de
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Behavioral analysts have used the equivalence class paradigm to investigate and explain the processes involved in the formation and modification of social attitudes. From this perspective, attitudes are defined as equivalence classes established between social groups and certain attributes, with the classes specifying the psychological function of the social group for members of the verbal community. Following this line of research, the present study investigated attitude change by means of the reversal of the equivalence class relating black men to negative symbols. In two versions of the procedure, two pre-tests were conducted involving C-A and A-C relations in order to assess the association made by the participants between pictures of black men and the aforementioned negative symbols. Next, the participants were exposed to a conditional discrimination task with delay, a task in which they were taught the relations A-B (between a positive stimulus and an abstract picture) and B-C (between the abstract picture and pictures of black men). Post-tests assessed whether training had induced the emergence of a new relation between the figures of black men and positive symbols, which emergence would suggest a change of attitude and a reversal of the initial equivalence class exposed during the pre-test. Results showed that, for three of the five participants, the equivalence class relating pictures of black men to positive symbols did not emerge, which suggests resistance to revert the class relating black men to negative symbols. It seems that responses typical of natural settings generalized to the experimental situation, making responding in the latter case insensitive to the arranged reinforcement contingencies. The results are discussed in terms of the extension of the stimulus equivalence paradigm to cases in which the equivalence class comprises stimuli loaded with pre-experimental meaning.