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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Paper Session #426
CE Offered: BACB
Derived Opposition Relations as a Byproduct of Equivalence Relations
Monday, May 30, 2022
9:00 AM–9:25 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 153A
Area: EAB
Instruction Level: Advanced
Chair: Benigno Alonso-Alvarez (Long Island University)
CE Instructor: Benigno Alonso-Alvarez, Ph.D.
Derived Opposition Relations as a Byproduct of Equivalence Relations
Domain: Theory
BENIGNO ALONSO-ALVAREZ (Long Island University)
Abstract: Derived stimulus relations have generated considerable theoretical debate, empirical research, and practical applications in recent decades. Research on this topic started with Sidman’s studies on equivalence relations (Sidman, 1994). Hayes et al. (2001) proposed the relational frame theory (RFT), according to which equivalence relations are just an instance of a wider process, arbitrary applicable relational responding. RFT proposes the existence of multiple relational frames like coordination (equivalence), opposition, distinction, etc. The present paper reviews a series of studies (Alonso-Alvarez & Perez-Gonzalez, 2017, 2018, 2021) that present an alternative account of RFT studies on the opposition frame, one of the most frequently investigated frames in RFT literature. It is argued that most studies on the opposition frame are explained by equivalence class formation, contextual control over equivalence, and responding by exclusion. Counterarguments to this hypothesis by RFT proponents are also reviewed (Stewart et al., 2019). It is concluded that the empirical evidence for the existence of opposition frames is still tentative. A closer examination of RFT studies on other frames may also be in order.
Target Audience:

Knowledge of derived stimulus relations, stimulus equivalence, and conditional discrimination procedures.

Learning Objectives: 1) Learn about RFT studies on opposition relations; 2) Learn about contextual control over equivalence and exclusion responding; 3) Gain a critical understanding of current research on derived stimulus relations



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