Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #69
Conceptual Developments in Relational Frame Theory: Basic Experimental Analyses
Sunday, May 29, 2016
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Zurich FG, Swissotel
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jan De Houwer (Ghent University)

Recent advances in Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) have aimed to expand the basic account of human language and cognition. To this end, the validation of the IRAP as a measure of relational responding has become paramount. As such, the current series of papers were designed to systematically manipulate the relational features of the IRAP using non-clinical samples. Paper 1 manipulated the rule order presentation of IRAP blocks, and found differential effects for each rule order presented. Paper 2 assessed the degree to which instructions for responding on the IRAP (i.e., specified responding, non-specified responding and response-focused instructions) influenced effects. Specifically, it was found that instruction type influenced the strength and direction of IRAP effects. Paper 3 manipulated the presentation of relational coherence indicators (RCIs, for example true and false) versus relational contextual cues (Crels, for example, similar or different) as response options. Results demonstrated that when participants completed an IRAP with Crels first, their effects became non-significant when they completed an IRAP with RCIs, suggesting that response options are not functionally equivalent. Overall, the symposium offers systematic analyses of the IRAP, which not only informs IRAP effects, but relational responding more generally.

Keyword(s): IRAP, RFT

The Effect of Rule Manipulation on Patterns of Relational Responding

COLIN HARTE (Ghent University), Ciara McEnteggart (Ghent University), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University)

The importance of the effects of rules and instructions on human behaviour have long been identified as important in the psychological literature. However the number of experimental studies that have tested this suggestion is limited. The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) was employed and manipulated the order in which rules for responding were presented in a Self-esteem IRAP. Forty-one undergraduate students were divided into two conditions with differing starting rules. This sought to determine whether the simple order in which the rules are presented influenced patterns of relational responding on the IRAP. The results indicated that patterns of responding differed somewhat between conditions. The findings supported some existing evidence which suggests that rules influence relational responding. At the time of writing, a second study was to commence using a new methodology designed to address similar questions. From preliminary analyses, it can be suggested that rules exert varying degrees of influence over relational responding.

Exploring the Impact of Specific, Minimal, and Response-Focused Instructions on the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure
MARTIN FINN (Gent University), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is increasingly used in applied and clinical settings with robust effects, however, many of the procedural variables of the IRAP have not been subjected to a systematic empirical analysis. One such variable is the rules that are employed to instruct the IRAP, and the effect that rules may have on resultant performance and IRAP effects obtained from the procedure. In a sample of university undergraduates, three experiments were conducted that varied the instructions on each IRAP in order to assess the degree to which rules specify aspects of the relational network as measured by the IRAP (i.e., specified responding, non-specified/minimal responding, and response-focused instructions). The findings from these three studies showed that the type of rule presented to participants during an IRAP influences the strength and direction of the trial-type effects. Furthermore, the type of instructions employed interacted with the order in which the IRAP blocks are presented (history-consistent versus history-inconsistent).

Exploring the Behavioral Dynamics of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure: The Role of Relational Contextual Cues Versus Relational Coherence Indicators as Response

Emma Maloney (National University of Ireland Maynooth), DERMOT BARNES-HOLMES (Ghent University)

Early studies using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) involved using relational contextual cues (Crels) as response options. A large number of IRAP studies, however, have also employed relational coherence indicators (RCIs), the two most common being True and False. The untested assumption was that the nature of the response options should have no impact on IRAP performance. The current study addressed this gap in the literature. Undergraduate participants were exposed to two IRAPs, one employing the Crels Similar and Different and the other employing the RCIs True and False. When participants first completed an IRAP using the Crels and then completed a second IRAP using the RCIs there was a significant reduction in the effect and it also became non-significant (from zero). This finding indicates that Crels versus RCIs should not be considered functionally equivalent and the use of different types of response options requires careful and systematic analysis.




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