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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #190
CE Offered: BACB
The Experimental Analysis of Relational Networks Using Advances in Relational Frame Theory
Sunday, May 28, 2023
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom A
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Ramon Marin (Universidade Federal de São Carlos - Brazil)
Discussant: Julio C. De Rose (Universidade Federal de São Carlos; Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia sobre Comportamento, Cognição e Ensino, Brasil )
CE Instructor: Ramon Marin, M.A.

The study of complex relational networks within relational frame theory (RFT) has typically received far less attention than the study of individual relational frames. In so far as sophisticated language and cognition involves responding in accordance with complex relational networks, rather than simple frames, it seems important for researchers to increase their focus on the former. Recent conceptual and empirical advances in RFT may help facilitate progress in this regard. The current symposium presents four papers that contribute to this effort. Specifically, the four papers will consider (1) recent developments in the use of a hyper-dimensional multi-level (HDML) framework in applied behavior analyses and the development of complex language abilities; (2) a recent attempt to experimentally model the relating of relational networks; and (3) two recent research programmes examining specific variables critical for relational networking effects produced by the implicit relational assessment procedure (IRAP), one involving stimuli with pre-experimentally established functions and the other involving stimuli that were assumed to be novel before the experimental session. Overall, the current session seeks to highlight some recent ways that advances in RFT have helped facilitate research into complex relational networking and some potentially important variables for the emergence of such behavior.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): HDML, IRAP, Relational Networks, RFT
Target Audience:

A basic background in behaviour analysis is assumed

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) summarize recent developments in RFT; (2) articulate the way in which recent developments have paved new ways for the study of complex human behaviour as relational networking; (3) provide examples of how recent developments in RFT connect more directly with the development of derived relational responding.

CANCELLED: Analyzing Orienting Responses Through an Eye-Scan Device: The Importance of Multiple Exemplar Training in Establishing Functional Contextual Control

Joao de Almeida (São Paulo State University), Carolina Coury Silveira de Almeida (Instituto Evidência Educação e Pesquisa (IEEPE))

Since its initial proposal, relational and functional contextual control have been critical elements of Relational Frame Theory for explaining human language and cognition. However, while relational contextual control has been extensively investigated, the importance of functional contextual control was arguably fully acknowledged with the emergence of the hyper-dimensional, multi-level (HDML) framework. The HDML explicitly emphasizes the importance of orienting and evoking stimulus properties and suggests new venues for investigation in this regard. Our current focus was analyzing orienting functions as a critical element for the emergence of more elegant and complex relational repertoires. Two children (5y3m with TEA; 3y2m with typical development) were exposed to a gaze-following task, and an eye-tracking device recorded their observational patterns. The task involved observing a human profile directed to one of four objects. The total fixation time and a heat map of the ocular fixation revealed severe differences between the participants. Only the typically developing child successfully demonstrated contextual control initially. These differences were remediated by multiple-exemplar training for functional contextual control. The results observed highlighted elementary patterns of entailed orienting likely critical for the emergence of more complex patterns of relating and suggest possibilities to establish new strategies for building functional contextual control.

Experimentally Modelling the Relating of Relational Networks: A First Study
CAINÃ TEIXEIRA GOMES (Universidade de São Paulo), WILLIAM Ferreira PEREZ (Paradigma - Centro de Ciências e Tecnologia do Comportamento), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ulster University), Colin Harte (Federal University of São Carlos )
Abstract: Relating relational networks involves understanding how one responds to sets of stimuli with intricate relations within and between stimulus sets. The current study sought to experimentally model this type of responding. First, two nonsense stimulus classes were established based on comparative relations before training participants to select stimuli based on a symbolic rule that established a relation between two stimuli: one from network 1 and one from network 2. Participants were then trained to relate network 1 to network 2 before testing derived relations in the opposite direction. Seven of eight participants reached mastery criterion in training and responded accurately in test. In a final stage, reinforcing and punishing consequences varied systematically in the presence of two novel stimuli and antecedent control was observed for all seven participants. A second experiment replicated these results but using contextual cues from natural language, while a final experiment sought explore the effects of pretraining responding using natural language words. Interestingly, participants in Experiment 3 needed fewer trials to achieve mastery criteria for symbolic responding in accordance with relating relational networks. The results and future directions are discussed in the context of recent updates in Relational Frame Theory.

Exploring Native Versus Foreign Language Words in the IRAP: Supportive Evidence for the DAARRE Model

COLIN HARTE (Federal University of São Carlos ), Margarete Schmidt (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), Renato Bortoloti (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ulster University)

This study tested a basic assumption of the differential arbitrarily applicable relational responding effects (DAARRE) model by examining the impact of native versus foreign languages on IRAP performances. The DAARRE model highlights the importance of not only the relational (Crel) properties of stimuli, but also the functional (Cfunc) properties of the stimuli and response options presented in the IRAP trials. Since the native language (NL) is acquired in an emotionally naturalistic and richer context compared to a foreign language (FL), one can expect that a NL word should have stronger orienting and evoking functions than its equivalent (or synonymous) in a FL. Twenty-one Brazilian participants (who speak both Portuguese and English) completed two IRAPs, one in which Portuguese-language stimuli were predominantly used and a second in which English-language stimuli were predominantly used. The IRAP trial-type containing Portuguese-language (i) labels, (ii) targets, and (iii) response options produced the largest effect across all eight IRAP trials -types (four within each IRAP). This result supports the basic assumption of the DAARRE model regarding the overlap of Cfunc and Crel properties within that trial-type for native Portuguese speakers and provides further support for the utility of this conceptual model for interpreting IRAP effects.

Exploring Differential Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure Effects Using Arbitrary Experimental Stimuli
KIAN ASSEMI (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno), Gregory S. Smith (University of Dayton; University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine)
Abstract: Past research has shown that unexpected single trial type dominance effects are reliably produced from individuals’ interactions with Implicit Relational Assessment Procedures (IRAPs) despite the lack of strong emotional stimulus functions (e.g., shapes and colors; Finn et al., 2016). The differential arbitrarily applicable relational responding effect (DAARRE) model proposes explanations for these unexpected IRAP effects (Finn et al., 2018). Based on DAARRE’s explanations of the controlling variables responsible for such effects, further analysis of the established history of stimuli included in IRAPs should allow for the accurate prediction of the produced effects. By drawing upon previous literature, we examined predictions of the DAARRE model by using arbitrary stimuli to determine the influence of participant history on IRAP effects. Arbitrary experimental stimuli were trained under distinct learning conditions based on dimensions proposed by the Hyper-Dimensional Multilevel (HDML) framework (Barnes-Holmes et al., 2020). Preliminary data suggest that some of the predictions of the DAARRE model, regarding IRAP effects correspond with participant results. Additional data sets will be discussed as well as their implications pertaining to both the predictive utility of the DAARRE model and its experimental value in the analysis of cultural repertoires.



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