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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #18
How to Use "Implicit Tests" in Behavior Analysis Without the Smoke and Mirrors
Friday, September 2, 2022
10:30 AM–11:20 AM
Area: EAB; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Julian C. Leslie (Ulster University)
CE Instructor: Bryan Roche, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: BRYAN ROCHE (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

Implicit testing within behavior analysis has been a rather radical development over the past 15 years. Much of the early work was theoretically informed by Relational Frame Theory and progressed using a mixture of top-down and hypothetico-deductive approaches. Many test features and behavioral quantification methods were borrowed directly from the eponymous Implicit Association Test, and involved questionable social cognitive stimulus presentation and scoring methods. The Function Acquisition Speed Test (FAST), in contrast, was designed from the ground up in a painstaking research programme intended to expunge all mentalism from implicit testing, draw on well understood behavioral phenomena such as resistance to change, and use learning rates, rather than response time measures as a key dependent measure. It aims to enhance stimulus control in implicit testing, and clarify behavioral process. The FAST has uses in the analysis of stimulus relatedness in both social research and education settings, and might be used as a proxy for social attitudes, if attitudes are understood fully in functional terms. This talk will outline the behavior-analytic development of the FAST method for quantifying the relatedness of stimuli and “class strength,” and illustrate how the method can be used in a variety of novel social research contexts.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Postgraduate students and early career researchers

Learning Objectives: Following this presentation, participants should be able to: (1) Describe the core methodology of most “implicit tests”; (2) Critique the main barriers to providing high quality behavioral data using popular implicit tests; (3) Outline some features of the FAST method that make it a functional approach to “implicit testing”.
BRYAN ROCHE (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Dr. Bryan Roche is Associate Professor at Maynooth University Ireland, where he has held tenure since 2001. His early research work was on the development of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and its application to the functional understanding of a wide variety of complex human behaviors, such as sexual, social and clinically relevant behaviors (e.g., avoidance and anxiety). In recent years he has co-developed an online RFT-based intervention called SMART (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training), designed to enhance general cognitive ability, usually in educational settings. However, he has also maintained a keen interest in the development of “implicit test” style class assessment methodologies, such as the FAST (function acquisition speed test) for indexing stimulus class “strength” in social and educational contexts. He is author of over 100 peer reviewed papers and book chapters.



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