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 #530
Conceptual Developments in Relational Frame Theory: Translational Analyses
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Zurich FG, Swissotel
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University)

Psychology has struggled to identify the basic processes that underpin human suffering. However, recent advances in Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) may contribute to both this conceptual and empirical dilemma, and the current series of papers illustrate several ways in which this contribution is being made. Paper 1 attempted to functionally separate implicit fear, approach, and avoidance in the context of non-clinical phobias. Results demonstrated that these concepts can be differentiated at the implicit level, however only implicit approach predicted actual approach behavior, whereas fear and avoidance did not. Paper 2 investigated the flexibility of the perspective-taking frames using the IRAP in a non-clinical sample. Results showed large inflexibility only for the self-perspective (i.e., I-HERE-NOW), which is consistent with typical psychological development of the self. Paper 3 continues RFTs advance into the clinical domain with the IRAP to explore ways in which clinical and non-clinical individuals with psychotic experiences respond implicitly to these events. It was found that implicit acceptance responding (rather than valenced responding) predicted coping behaviors. Overall, the symposium describes how the robust effects delivered by the IRAP can be used to refine current models of human suffering and its alleviation.

Keyword(s): clinical applications, IRAP, RFT, Translational research

The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) as a Measure of Spider Fear, Avoidance, and Approach

AILEEN LEECH (Ghent University), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University)

The current research examined the use of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) as a measure of spider fear, approach and avoidance. The research is comprised of 2 studies. The first study employed two IRAPs, one targeting spider fear, the other targeting spider approach/avoidance, to an undergraduate population (N=45). The FSQ and a BAT using a tarantula molt were also employed. Both IRAPs failed to provide evidence for the predictive validity of the IRAP in terms of the BAT. The second study was similar to Study 1 (N=31), however a live Irish house spider was used. Results revealed that the IRAP predicted performance on the BAT and, furthermore, provided evidence that it is possible to separate fear, avoidance and approach at the implicit level. Specifically, the trial-type that targeted implicit approach predicted approach behavior on the BAT, whereas implicit fear and avoidance responses on the IRAP did not.


Measuring Perspective-Taking Relations in Non-Clinical Population Using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure

DEIRDRE KAVANAGH (Ghent University), Ciara McEnteggart (Ghent University), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University)

Perspective-taking has been argued to be a key process in the development of the self, particularly within a Relational Frame Theory (RFT) framework. The current study investigated the flexibility of established perspective-taking relations in a non-clinical population using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). Thirty undergraduate students completed a simple perspective taking IRAP (PT-IRAP). The PT-IRAP comprised four trial-types: 1. I-HERE-NOW; 2. I-THERE-THEN; 3. OTHERS-HERE NOW; and 4. OTHERS-THERE-THEN. Results demonstrated a strong, significant effect on the I-HERE-NOW trial-type, indicating inflexible responding. However, responding on the other trial-types indicated flexible patterns of responding. These effects appear to be consistent with the typical verbal development of the self, where I is anchored HERE-NOW. While the current data is preliminary, the current methodology may provide a useful way of investigating: 1. The presence of deictic frames; and 2. The flexibility of these frames in the typical psychological development of the self-perspective.


The Emotional and Behavioural Responses to Voices: An Implicit Approach

CIARA MCENTEGGART (Ghent University), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University), Jos Egger (Radboud University)

The current study used the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure as a step toward a more functional approach to understanding of voice hearing, by exploring the potentially different implicit reactions of clinical and non-clinical groups to voices. In doing so, we attempted to parse out emotional versus behavioural responses toward voices (n=55) using a Valence and an Acceptance IRAP. Both non-clinical and clinical voice hearers showed implicit negativity in the Valence IRAP, and clinical and non-clinical voice hearers implicitly accepted positive voices and avoided negative voices in the Acceptance IRAP. Furthermore, acceptance of positive voices correlated with high psychological inflexibility, and acceptance of negative voices correlated with overall voice acceptance. The current study demonstrates the utility and precision of the IRAP in this domain, and it is through this precision that we can begin to look at the functional processes at play in the voice hearing experience.




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