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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #456
CE Offered: BACB
Multiple Applications of Relational Responding: Under Which Conditions Take Place Humor, Memory Distortions, Rumination, and Time Perception?
Monday, May 31, 2021
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Carmen Luciano (University Almería, Spain)
Discussant: Francisco Ruiz (Fundación Universitaria Konrad-Lorenz)
CE Instructor: Francisco Ruiz, Ph.D.

Relational frame theory (RFT) is a behavioral approach to human language and cognition that accounts for a variety of complex human behavior, such as humor, memory distortions, rumination or time perception. This symposium highlights recent empirical innovations in these four human behaviors. The first paper aims to isolate the impact of different contextual variables for altering or producing the humor behavior. The second paper analyses the conditions under which derived aversive false memories emerge and acquire control over subsequent avoidance intentions. The third paper analyzed the impact of promoting rumination and their alteration through two defusion protocols on a memory task. Finally, the fourth paper analyzes higher-order appetitive motivation, such as personal meaning, over appetitive and aversive functions, to transform time perception. The four papers will be discussed according to derived relational responding as the context for altering contingencies. As well, limitations, future research, and applied dimensions will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): false memories, Humor behavior, Rumination, time perception
Target Audience:

Basic knowledge of relational behavior

Learning Objectives: (1) At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) understand how memory distortions emerge; (2) the impact of values for transforming the time perception; (3) under what conditions rumination emerge and could be altered; (4) how relational behavior could account such a fenomena.
Altering the Emergence of Humor Functions: A Relational Frame Analysis
(Basic Research)
MATHEUS BEBBER (University of Almería), Carmen Luciano (University Almería, Spain), L. Jorge Ruiz-Sanchez (University of Almería)
Abstract: Relational frame theory (RFT) is a modern behavioral approach to human language and cognition that accounts for complex human behavior, such as humor, in terms of derived relational responding. Usually, jokes are a common way of producing humor. According to RFT, jokes are a kind of storytelling in which the functions of a complete, coherent relational network becomes suddenly and unexpectedly transformed. Despite numerous studies showing that humor responses have substantial benefits for mood and health, little is known about the processes that might be involved in the emergence of humor behavior. This study aims to isolate part of the processes that might hinder the emergence of humor. Three contexts were promoted and manipulated: (1) the reality of the event, (2) the identification of the participants with the joke characters, and (3) aversive functions to the content of the joke. Until now, six participants were exposed to four different jokes, three where each of the above-mentioned elements was manipulated, and one as a context of control. Results suggest that the three contexts manipulated in the present study seem to alter the emergence of humor functions. These results are discussed in terms of each element's impact in the emergence of humor.

The Emergence of Aversive False Memories and Their Impact on Avoidance

(Basic Research)
L. JORGE RUIZ-SANCHEZ (University of Almería), Carmen Luciano (University Almería, Spain)

The emergence of false memories with aversive and avoidance functions is very common after a traumatic experience. This study aimed to advance in previous experimental analogues of false memories based on derived relational responding (Dougher & Guinther, 2010; Ruiz-Sánchez, Luciano & Guinther, 2019). To this aim, we have produced derived memories with aversive and avoidance functions. Two equivalence classes were trained, each one consisting of one shape and seven words (i.e., Class 1 and Class 2), followed by a test for the trained relations. Then, participants underwent differential conditioning using four elements of each class: four words from Class 1 were paired with aversive images, whereas four words from Class 2 were paired with appetitive images. Thereafter, a recognition and avoidance test was conducted with all the words. False recognitions were more frequent for non-directly conditioned aversive words (Class 1) than for non-directly conditioned appetitive words (Class 2), and avoidance intentions occurred with higher frequency for those words falsely recognized relative to those not recognized.

Promoting Rumination and Analyzing the Differential Effect of Defusion Protocols on a Memory Task
(Basic Research)
BARBARA GIL-LUCIANO (Madrid Institute of Contextual Psychology & University of Almería), Tatiana Calderón (Fundación Universitaria Konrad-Lorenz), Daniel Tovar (Fundación Universitaria Konrad-Lorenz), Beatriz Sebastian (Madrid Institute of Contextual Psychology), Francisco Ruiz (Fundación Universitaria Konrad-Lorenz)
Abstract: Worry and rumination (RNT) are strategies that seem to be common denominators in many psychological disorders. Cutting-edge research from a RFT approach suggests that both strategies are triggered by framing thoughts in hierarchical relations. This study had two parts. Firstly, we explored such a hierarchical organization of thoughts with two ruminative induction procedures, analyzing their impact on a memory task. Secondly, we examined the differential effect of two defusion protocols to alter the discriminative avoidant functions of triggers for RNT and a control condition. Results suggests that inducting RNT with stronger triggers (thoughts at the top of the hierarchy, that contain weaker triggers) showed a more negative effect in the task performance than inducting RNT with less stronger triggers. Results also indicate that participants that were intervened with the defusion protocol that contained hierarchical cues showed a better performance at post-test, in comparison with participants that received a defusion protocol that only contained deictic cues, and with a control condition. Besides, when promoting a hierarchical relation between the individual and his or her stronger trigger for RNT, the level of concentration was higher at post-test than when targeting an individual’s less stronger trigger – all triggers being related.

The Role of Motivational Functions in Time Perception: An Experimental Analysis

(Basic Research)
BEATRIZ HARANA (Universidad de Almería), Carmen Luciano (University Almería, Spain), L. Jorge Ruiz-Sanchez (University of Almería)

It is common to hear "time flew by," or "days went by too heavy". Listening to these phrases seems to give clues about the level of discomfort and joy of our life. Time perception has been mostly investigated from a cognitive standpoint but has not been rendered in the behavioral processes responsible for such perceptions. This study aims to isolate the impact of aversive, appetitive, as well as higher-order or overarching functions that might be involved in time perception. For that, time perception was measured in 12 intervals with different and same intervals in two conditions (seven participants each). Condition 1, participants went through the time interval task with the manipulation of immediate neutral, appetitive, or aversive functions. Condition 2 was the same except that higher-order motivational functions (e.g., something significant for the participant) were connected hierarchically to the immediate function indicated in condition 1. The results show differential impact in time estimation according to the type of functions, and the most impacting results were that "time flies" when behavior is under the control of appetitive functions and higher-order motivational functions.




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