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 #227
CE Offered: BACB
Investigations of Complex Interbehavior
Sunday, May 28, 2023
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3A
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
CE Instructor: Courtney Smith, M.S.
Abstract: In this symposium, empirical investigations of complex behavior and methodological strategies for their investigation are described. Common to these investigations are their concern for the actualization and participation of substitutional processes in the performance of complex interbehavior. The oft claimed notion that the interbehavioral perspective is ill-suited to empirical investigation is dismissed in the first presentation by a proper focus on the role of the scientific worker. Following this, investigations of a basic sort with significant applied implications are presented. The first of these examines processes of substitution in rule following, focusing on factors that may foster and hinder the development of substitute stimulus functions. A second investigation examines processes of substitution operating in the context of the linguistic behavior of listeners, specifically how predicted outcomes of linguistic responding may facilitate self-editing. A final study offers an interbehavioral conceptualization of memorial events in which remembering is held to occur when previously established substitute stimuli are later encountered. In this experiment, factors limiting the establishment of substitutive stimulus functions are examined as well as how those functions may evolve in such a way as to disturb their operation in authentic memorial events.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): measurement, memory, rule-following, self-editing
Target Audience: This symposium is intended for a target audience at an intermediate instruction level. It is encouraged that attendees have a foundational knowledge of concepts related to verbal behavior, derived stimulus relations, (such as equivalence relations), and conceptual issues regarding the philosophy of behaviorism.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Understand the role of the scientist in experimental research design; (2) describe the link between rule-following behavior and derived responding; (3) characterize the potential practical implications of behavior-analytic accounts of self-editing, remembering, and forgetting.

Experimental Designs From an Interbehavioral Perspective

COURTNEY SMITH (University of Nevada, Reno), José G. Ardila-Sánchez (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)

A common criticism of the interbehavioral perspective is that it does not dependably yield experimental research. This shortage of research indicates that the philosophical assumptions from which the scientific worker is operating impact the experimental design, as well as the descriptions of observed events. This presentation will clarify this misconception by focusing on the role of the scientific worker from an interbehavioral perspective. A review of the factors in the psychological event—the stimulus function, response function, interbehavioral history, setting factors, and the medium of contact (Kantor, 1958)—will be provided, with a focus on the factors being investigated by the other presenters in this symposium. The design of an experiment—the event of interest, the subject matter, and measurement of the manipulated variables—and the descriptions generated from the experiment—both qualitative and quantitative—will be considered in the context of interbehavioral experimental research. To conclude, this presentation will address some factors to consider when designing an interbehavioral experiment.

Persistent Following of Rules Actualized by Equivalence: Historical Factors Preventing the Development of Stimulus Functions
(Basic Research)
ABRAAO FIGUEIRA DE MELO (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Rule-following behavior may produce insensitivity to operative contingencies in the immediate environment. Rule-following behavior is linked to derived relational responding such as equivalence relations, defined by the untrained substitutability of functions across dissimilar stimuli. However, the degree of such functional substitution has been shown to vary according to training parameters. Studies have investigated rules of which functions are actualized by their participation in equivalence networks. In the present study, the alternation of two sets of baseline training differentially actualized the function of an experimentally defined rule. Contingencies of a subsequent task were only rule-consistent following the original set of baseline training. Following the alternative-baseline training, task contingencies came to be rule-inconsistent due to the most recent network established. We investigated the persistence of rule-following when these parameters of baseline training were manipulated: (a) the presentation of transitivity-consistent trials, (b) the feedback contingent on transitivity-consistent responding, (c) the number of trained relations necessary for rule actualization, and (d) the number of stimuli comprising the relational network. One of five participants showed persistent rule-following when feedback was presented in transitivity trials for the original network, but not for the alternative, warranting future investigations on the historical variables influencing persistent rule-following.
An Examination of Self-Editing Behavior on the Part of the Listener
(Basic Research)
TERRALYN LEILANI TIFFER (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: From an operant analysis, self-editing is described as complex verbal behavior that occurs when a speaker, functioning as his own listener, can examine the effect (or potential effect) of his own verbal response and revoke, or edit, the response prior to affording access to it on the part of an external listener. Following this conceptualization by Skinner (1957), very few experimental preparations have examined this verbal phenomenon from a behavior analytic perspective (Hyten & Chase, 1991; Epting, 2003). The current study suggests a reconceptualization of self-editing behavior using an interbehavioral approach to verbal interactions (Kantor, 1977). As such, self-editing is described as a complex verbal event comprised of six phases (orienting, listening, understanding/self-observing, reorienting, predicting, and editing). From this reconceptualization, an experiment was programmed to allow for the examination of self-editing behavior on the part of the listener. Specifically, the procedural structure of conditional discrimination training was used to observe the occurrence of self-editing behavior with respect to repeated presentations of shifting configurations of arbitrary sample stimuli. The results were analyzed with respect to the interbehavioral perspective, and revealed that 19 of 20 participants, functioning as a listener, engaged in self-editing behavior.
Factors Fostering the Forgetting and Remembering of Childhood Abuse
(Basic Research)
STAHELI MEYER (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Forgetting, in part or in full, is a common of many victims of childhood abuse. The most common account of memory is the storage metaphor. It is suggested here that storage accounts are mentalistic, reductionistic, organocentric and have degraded the believability of forgotten memories, a common experience of survivors of sexual assault. An alternative conceptualization of forgetting and remembering derived from Interbehavioral Psychology will be described. Interbehavioral Psychology offers a naturalistic account, free from reductionistic and dualistic notions. An experimental analysis, afforded by this viewpoint, will be reviewed. The aim of the experimental analysis was to investigate the factors fostering forgetting and subsequent remembering. Of particular focus is: 1) the factors participating in the decreased establishment of substitutive stimulus functions in the initial association condition, 2) the evolution of stimulus functions antithetical to those established in the initial association condition, and 3) the setting factors which actualize particular functions at particular times.



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