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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Paper Session #134
An Investigation of the Functional Properties of Relational Contextual Cues
Saturday, May 29, 2021
5:00 PM–5:25 PM
Area: EAB
Chair: Martin Finn (Ghent University)

An Investigation of the Functional Properties of Relational Contextual Cues

Domain: Basic Research
MARTIN FINN (Ghent University), Jan De Houwer (Ghent University), Jamie Cummins (Ghent University)

Contextual control is a key component of behavioral accounts of complex human behavior. Relational contextual cues afford such contextual control, and are routinely established and employed in experimental analyses of relational responding. However, the functional properties of relational contextual cues have not been subjected to systematic experimental analysis. Across several pairs of experiments we investigated these properties, and in each case compared them to the properties of discriminative stimuli. Experiment 1 assessed the sensitivity to counterconditioning and reductions in the contingency between cue occurrence and response opportunity. Experiment 2 assessed the impact of three fixed ratio schedules on the production of relational contextual cues. Experiment 3 investigated the impact of higher-order contextual control. Results indicated that relational contextual cues are sensitive to counterconditioning, the reinforcement ratio, and higher-order contextual control, but not to other manipulations. Notably however, exploratory analyses indicated that more training was required to generate relational contextual cues than discriminative stimuli. In addition training for relational contextual cues was relatively less impactful at higher fixed ratio values compared to discriminative stimuli. These results have implications for researchers and practitioners designing protocols to establish patterns of relational responding.




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