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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Symposium #53
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in a Behavior Analytic Account of Complex Human Behavior: Relational Density Theory and PEAK-T as Tools for Analysis
Saturday, May 28, 2022
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 255
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Breanna Lee (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota)
CE Instructor: Amanda N. Chastain, M.S.
Abstract: As our understanding of complex human behavior has evolved, we have begun to uncover more about the role of verbal behavior throughout the human condition. The current symposium reviews two experiments that measured individuals’ complex verbal behavior and its relationship to measures of psychological flexibility, which is at the core of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The first study analyzes the relationship between self-compassion, idea of self, and psychological flexibility through the lens of Relational Density Theory both pre and post ACT intervention. In the second study, researchers evaluated the relationship between an individual’s ability to engage in derived relational responding, their responses to a delay discounting task, and their correlations with measures of psychological flexibility and mindfulness. A greater understanding of how to study complex verbal behavior has implications the improvement of language rehabilitation and development, as well as more precise and efficient use of Acceptance and Commitment Training.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Discounting, Perspective Taking, Psychological Flexibility, Self Compassion
Target Audience: Behavior analysts, students, and faculty
Learning Objectives: (1) define psychological flexibility; (2) discuss the relationship between perspective taking and psychological flexibility; (3) describe the relationship between self, self-compassion, and psychological flexibility
Evaluating the Interrelatedness and Responsiveness of Psychological Flexibility, Self-Compassion, and Sense of Self in a College Student Sample
(Basic Research)
BRITTANY A SELLERS (Missouri State University), Meredith Matthews (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: The psychological / behavioral processes of psychological flexibility and self-compassion have garnered increasing attention within behavior analytic research and practice. Both approaches are predicated on a Relational Frame Theory (RFT) account of human language and cognition; however, we do not know how relational frames around these two processes interact around a centralized sense of self. We evaluated a novel way to measure interrelations among processes consistent with advances in Relational Density Theory using a mu multidimensional scaling (MDS) technique. Results show how self-compassion, psychological flexibility, and ‘self’ are related within our college student sample. To measure the sensitivity of this approach to changes in self-compassion and psychological flexibility, participants were assigned into 2 groups. Utilizing a cross over experimental design, both groups received a 6-week ACT and self-compassion focused intervention The MDS was then re-administered at the end of each phase to compare changes in interrelations between self and self-compassion and flexibility processes, as well as changes within these processes themselves. Data provide a novel approach to measurement and analysis based on contemporary advances in RFT.
Correlations Between Derived Relational Responding, Delay Discounting, and Psychological Flexibility
(Basic Research)
AMANDA N. CHASTAIN (University of Illinois, Chicago), Jessica M. Hinman (University of Illinois at Chicago ), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Abstract: Prior research has pointed to correlations between monetary delay discounting tasks and measures of psychological flexibility. Previous literature has also posited a potential relationship between an individual’s ability to engage in derive relational responding and their overall psychological flexibility. While functional contextualist therapist such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is rooted in this conceptual foundation, there remains limited research evaluating the relationship between complex language abilities and psychological flexibility. Thus, the current study evaluated the relationships between derived relational responding, psychological flexibility, and delay discounting in adults. Participants were administered an online test of relational abilities (PCA-T-E), the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ-II), the Mindfulness whatever (MAAS), and a hypothetical monetary discounting task. Results indicate statistically significant correlations between variables. Results for the relationship between relational abilities, delay discounting, and psychological flexibility are presented. Implications for an analysis of relational abilities, delay discounting, and psychological flexibility are discussed.



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