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.


30th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2004

Event Details

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Symposium #150
Int'l Symposium - Experimental Psychopathology and the Analysis of Derived Stimulus Relations: Identifying Core Processes in Psychopathology Through Laboratory Research on Derived Relational Respondin
Sunday, May 30, 2004
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Fairfax A
Area: EAB/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Simon Dymond (APU, Cambridge, UK)
Abstract: .
The Long-Term Stability of Derived Discriminative Stimulus Functions
RUTH ANNE REHFELDT (Southern Illinois University), Simon Dymond (APU, Cambridge, UK)
Abstract: The present study sought to investigate the role of equivalence test order in facilitating the emergence and maintenance of derived discriminative stimulus functions. Subjects in one group were exposed to a transfer of functions test following completion of a test for symmetry and equivalence relations, while another group of subjects completed a symmetry and equivalence test following their completion of the transfer test, and a final group of subjects received a test for symmetry relations only if they failed to demonstrate immediate transfer of functions, after which time they were retested. At least one month later, subjects who had demonstrated the transfer of functions returned to the laboratory for a follow-up stability test. Results demonstrated that a prior equivalence test is not necessary for stimulus functions to transfer, although it may facilitate function transfer. The derived stimulus functions were not shown to be remarkably stable during the follow-up transfer of functions test, but derived discriminative control was shown to have been best maintained for stimuli that were directly paired with the original training stimuli during conditional discrimination training. Implications for clinical psychopathology and the stability of maladaptive stimulus relations and treatment effects over time are discussed.
Interference in the Emergence of Derived Stimulus Relations: Emotionality or Functional Similarity of Stimulus Classes?
IAN THOMAS TYNDALL (National University of Ireland, Galway), Bryan T. Roche (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Jack E. James (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Previous research (Plaud, 1995, 1997) has shown that subjects who show phobic responses to classes of stimuli have difficulty partitioning those classes into equivalence relations. In other words, classes of phobic stimuli are often insensitive to reorganization. The current study systematically investigated this effect. In a serially counterbalanced within-subjects design, subjects were exposed to a respondent conditioning procedure, in which visual stimuli were associated with nonsense syllables. This procedure was used to establish four separate functional stimulus classes consisting of; a) six similar aversive stimuli, b) six diverse emotionally neutral stimuli, c) six diverse emotional stimuli, and d) six similar neutral stimuli. Subjects were then exposed to an equivalence training and testing procedure employing an array of these stimuli as samples and comparisons. The results suggest that the emergence of stimulus equivalence relations may be constrained by the functional classes in which stimuli participate. Such constraints may, however, be based on functional similarity across members of stimulus classes rather than the emotional potency of the stimuli per se. The authors will outline the relevance of this effect to the treatment of phobia in the clinical setting.
Is Coherence within Relational Networks a Reinforcer? An Experimental Study
SERAFIN GOMEZ-MARTIN (Universidad de Almeria), M. Jose Garro Espin (Universidad de Almeria), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: In a previous study the effects of coherent and incoherent training of equivalence classes on test performance was studied. Specifically, subjects where exposed to coherent (e.g., standard equivalence training) and incoherent training (e.g., the following relations where trained, A1-B1, B1-C1, A2-B2, B2-C2, and A1-B2, B1-C2). Several conditions were arranged varying the order in which incoherent and coherent training were provided. The effect of training using the same stimulus set or multiple stimulus sets was also investigated. Results showed a general tendency in subjects to respond in accordance with coherent patterns of relational responding, especially when the same set was always used. The present research seeks to reexamine incoherent training, focusing in particular on the relative effects of different numbers of incoherent and coherent trials on equivalence test performance. Results will be discussed within the context of Relational Frame Theory and some clinical implications will be outlined.
A Transformation of Avoidance Response Functions in Accordance with Multiple Stimulus Relations
SIMON DYMOND (APU, Cambridge, UK), Bryan T. Roche (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Aveen O'Brien (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Christopher Wilson (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), John P. Forsyth (University at Albany, SUNY)
Abstract: Stimuli can acquire aversive and avoidance-evoking properties by virtue of their participation in relational frames. The current paper describes two experiments on the transformation of avoidance response functions in accordance with the relational frames of coordination and opposition (Experiment 1) and comparison (Experiment 2). Following nonarbitrary pretraining and testing, subjects were exposed to a series of relational training tasks and tested for the formation of multiple stimulus relations of sameness, opposition, and more-than/less-than. Subjects were then exposed to an avoidance schedule in which one member of the relational network served as a discriminative stimulus for an avoidance response. Finally, subjects were exposed to a probe phase to assess the transformation of other members of the relational network by the avoidance functions. Subjects who showed evidence of avoidance conditioning also showed derived avoidance. The findings of the studies demonstrate the transformation of an avoidance response function in accordance with the relational frames of coordination, opposition, and comparison.



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