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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #200
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Empirical Analyses of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP)
Sunday, May 26, 2024
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 201 AB
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Colin Harte (Universidade Federal de São Carlos )
Discussant: Julio C. De Rose (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)
CE Instructor: Kian Assemi, M.A.
Abstract: The implicit relational assessment procedure (IRAP) was originally conceptualised as a method for assessing the strength of natural verbal relations as conceptualised within RFT. Recent advances in the use of the IRAP have sought to develop a more precise functional-analytic understanding of the tool for its use within the behavior-analytic study of human language and cognition. The current symposium presents four papers that contribute to various aspects of this effort. Specifically, the four papers will consider: (1) recent research exploring the impact of masking response options with use of the training version of the task; (2) research attempting to induce patterns of IRAP effects predicted by the differential arbitrarily applicable relational responding effects (DAARRE) model; (3) a recent attempt to replicate an initially unexpected trial-type dominance effect for colors over shapes; (4) a relatively large N study that predicted a single trial-type dominance effect for happy over sad faces with a moderating impact of self-reported depressive symptomatology.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): DAARRE model, IRAP, RFT
Target Audience: A basic background in behaviour analysis is assumed
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this symposium, participants will be able to: (1) summarize some recent developments in the use of the IRAP in both training and testing contexts; (2) articulate the ways in which recent developments have informed increasingly precise predictions of patterns of effects produced on the procedure; (3) provide examples of how these developments assist in analysing complex patterns of effects generated when participants complete an IRAP.
Masking Response Options in the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure: A Pilot Study
ABRAAO FIGUEIRA DE MELO (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The training version of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is used to establish differential responding to stimulus pairs as being equivalent or distinct to one another. Established conditional discriminations are then the basis for tests assessing arbitrarily applicable relational responding. Response options are usually key presses corresponding to mutually exclusive options, such as yes–no and true–false. Few studies have explored the impact of manipulating response options in the IRAP, training-version or not. College students participated in the present study, in which we explored the effects of manipulating the presence of contingent feedback in tests, and the masking of one option (i.e., participants chose between two options when only one was visible). We assessed the effects of these manipulations in terms of accuracy in tests; the number of training blocks to criterion; and the potential transformation of function of a culturally ‘meaningless’ stimulus (that was part of the relational training) in a non-arbitrary match-to-sample task. Data suggest that participants’ responding was functionally related to option masking and a history of feedback in testing conditions. We discuss the results in terms of membership of measured responses in the operants targeted in the IRAP and the role of rejection-controlled responding.

Inducing Single Trial-Type Dominance Effects With Experimental Stimuli in the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure

KIAN ASSEMI (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)

Previous researchers have found that single trial type dominance effects are repeatedly obtained when participants complete a shape-color Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) (Finn et al., 2016). While initially these effects were unexpected, due to a lack of emotional functions for the stimuli used, the differential arbitrary relational responding effect (DAARRE) model was proposed to explain these single trial type dominance effects (Finn et al., 2018). One assertion of the DAARRE model is that the relative historical frequency of contact with stimuli has an effect on IRAP results. As such, based on the DAARRE model, if one could control the relative frequency of contact with experimental stimuli, IRAP results should be more predictable. As such, in the current study we trained participants to respond to arbitrary experimental stimuli in an effort to control the relative frequency of exposure to stimuli. The assumption is that we should be able to predict a single trial type dominance effect based on the amount of exposure participants have with the different stimuli being utilized in an IRAP. Preliminary data demonstrated the predictions of the DAARRE model. Additional findings and implications for the DAARRE model and future IRAP research will be discussed.


Exploring Differential Trial-Type Effects on the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) and the Impact of Alternative Cultural Histories

MIGUEL DOS SANTOS CARVALHO (São Paulo State University ), Joao Henrique de Almeida (São Paulo State University), Marcello Silvestre (Universidade Federal de São Carlos )

Research conducted by Finn and colleagues (2016, 2018) reported initially unexpected differential patterns of IRAP effects when employing stimuli that were assumedly relatively non-valenced (shapes and colors). It was argued that this may have been because participants tended to orient to the color stimuli more readily than the shape stimuli because color words occur far more frequently in natural language than shape words (specifically in Dutch, the language in which the study was conducted). These and related findings gave rise to the differential arbitrarily applicable responding effects (DAARRE) model for conceptualizing patterns of IRAP effects, explicitly emphasizing the impact of stimulus orienting properties. In Brazilian Portuguese, color words also occur more frequently than shape words in natural language. The current study thus sought to replicate and extend the previous findings. That is, if stimulus orienting properties (based on frequency of use in natural language) were critical in producing the reported effect, replicating this study in Portuguese should produce a similar pattern of effects. Patterns produced by student participants recruited to date replicate this same pattern. Group and individual patterns of responding are discussed, as are implications for the role of stimulus orienting properties in producing effects on the IRAP.


Predicting and Interpreting Responding on the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) in the Context Facial Expressions and Depression

RENATO BORTOLOTI (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), Ana Paula Rubert de Azevedo (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais ), Colin Harte (Universidade Federal de São Carlos ), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ulster University)

This study aimed to build on existing research on the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), which has identified different patterns of IRAP effects associated with responses to happy and angry facial expressions. The objectives were to (1) replicate the previously observed happiness superiority effect with a larger participant group than previous studies and (2) explore whether the IRAP effect would be influenced by self-reported levels of depression. 122 participants completed an IRAP that presented pairs of emotional faces in a 2x2 crossover design yielding four trial-types: happy face-happy face, happy face-angry face, angry face-happy face and angry face-angry face. The results showed a clear happiness superiority effect, with the IRAP effect for trial-type 1 (happy face-happy face) larger than the IRAP effect for trial-type 4 (angry face-angry face). Self-reported depression appeared to moderate responding, with low depressed individuals producing a larger D-IRAP score on the trial-type 1 relative to high depressed individuals. The findings support recent arguments that the stimulus function properties of all elements within an IRAP should be taken into account when predicting and interpreting behavioral patterns produced on the procedure. Considerations for use of the IRAP to predict behaviors in the natural environment are discussed.




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