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.

45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details


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Symposium #460
I Bet You Think This Talk is About You: Philosophical and Practical Perspectives on the Self in Solitude and in Society
Monday, May 27, 2019
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Fairmont, B2, Imperial Ballroom
Area: CSS/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Hayden Hudson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract:

This symposium will focus on philosophical and practical perspectives on the self in solitude and in society. Topics such as practical implications for behaviorists and behavioral interventions of a non-ontological self, relational frame theory, the RFT-informed concept of the self, the implications of "no-self" for both simple and complex behavioral interventions, and the ways in which RFT-informed behavior analysis shares considerable common ground with self-abnegating spiritual traditions will be considered. Also discussed will be the role of psychological flexibility in prosocial and helping behaviors, the relationship between self-compassion and prosocial behaviors, and implications for contextual interventions to increase prosocial behavior. Further discussion will be on the relationship between self-enhancement and self-verification in those diagnosed with depression, moral assessments of the self and others, the relationship between self-judgments of character and behaviors as well as how these judgments are formed, and whether imaginative engagement could increase the frequency of people engaging in helping behaviors.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): psychological flexibility, RFT, self-compassion, social behaviors
 
Differential Moral Assessments: Judgments of Character and Behaviors of Self and Others
(Theory)
MAKENSEY SANDERS (Univeristy of Mississippi)
Abstract: Studies of self-enhancement and self-verification have shown that people diagnosed with depression report lower levels of self-esteem and are more likely to report a fundamental disposition to see themselves as bad and undeserving than others.  It may be that people diagnosed with depression do not incorporate positive feedback or instances of helping behaviors into their self-concept and verbal self-knowledge. While this has not been specifically examined, it seems that depression could affect the relationship between self-judgments of character and behaviors as well as how these judgments are formed. This paper will discuss a theoretical framework that incorporates principles from moral philosophy and behavioral psychology in the understanding of the relationship of depression and judgments of character. The paper will also propose an experiment that could 1) determine whether people reporting varying levels of depression provide different moral assessments of their own character and behaviors and others’ character and behaviors and 2) consider whether imaginative engagement (i.e., engagement with vignettes of helping behaviors in the first and third person) could increase the frequency of people engaging in helping behaviors. The paper will also discuss potential implications on clinical treatments and the role of psychological flexibility in judgment formation and imaginative engagement.
 
Help Yourself by Helping Others: The Relationship Between Self-Compassion, Prosocial Behavior, and Psychological Flexibility
(Theory)
LAUREN ANN SHORT (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Daryl Rachal (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Jessica Auzenne (University of North Texas), Emmy LeBleu (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Self-compassion, described as treating oneself with kindness, connecting with humanity, and being mindful of one’s emotions, has been demonstrated to be important to psychological health and functioning. For example, self-compassion has been proposed to share many core characteristics with psychological flexibility, which is the tendency to engage in values-directed behavior in the presence of unwanted experiences. Self-compassion has also been associated with improved interpersonal outcomes, such as increased social connection and other-focused concern. The present study further assessed the relationship between self-compassion and prosocial behavior, considering the role of psychological flexibility in that relationship. Ninety-six undergraduate students completed questionnaires assessing self-compassion, empathetic concern, altruistic behavior, psychological flexibility, and valued living. In addition, self-reports via ecological momentary assessments of the same were utilized collected four times a day for seven days. Both self-compassion and psychological flexibility contributed to the prediction of prosocial behavior. Moderation and mediation effects further highlighted the complex relationships amongst these repertoires. Implications for contextual interventions to increase prosocial behavior will be discussed.
 
Who Are You? Practical Implications for Behaviorists of a Non-Ontological Self
(Theory)
TROY DUFRENE (California School of Professional Psychology: San Francisco), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette )
Abstract: Relational frame theory (RFT) offers a purely behavioral account of language and cognition, the building blocks of which are bidirectional relations between things, whether in-the-world objects or symbols. This idea scales up to an account of the self, which identifies the self construct as the set of bidirectional relations in which a given subject is a relatum. In this conceptualization, "self" is not an ontological category but a convenient description of a particular set of relata. For behaviorists, this raises some interesting questions: Does the self exist? If so, how? And what might that imply for behavioral interventions? Virtually all contemporary psychologies agree that self-ideation is a perilous activity, but none have been willing to concede that the self concept is unnecessary baggage that should be tossed into the nearest trash can (a practice advocated for by several of the great spiritual traditions.) This conceptual paper explores the RFT-informed concept of the self, the implications of "no-self" for both simple and complex behavioral interventions, and the ways in which RFT-informed behavior analysis shares considerable common ground with self-abnegating spiritual traditions.
 

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