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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #29
International Symposium - The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP): Contextual and Known- Groups Effects
Saturday, May 24, 2008
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Claire Cullen (Department of Psychology)
Abstract: Relational Frame Theory (RFT) is a modern behavioral approach to human language and cognition, the central postulate of which is that higher-cognitive functioning is composed of relational acts (Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2001). A recent development in this research area is an RFT latency-based procedure for measuring implicit relations, namely, the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). Initial studies have shown that the IRAP may be used to measure relational networks or attitudes that individuals are either unaware of or may wish to conceal (Barnes-Holmes, Barnes-Holmes, Power, Hayden, Milne, & Stewart, 2006). The IRAP appears to offer advantages over other methods that use reaction time measures to assess implicit attitudes (e.g., the Implicit Association Test), both in its theoretical rationale and its ability to measure many types of relationships. The first two papers report studies that explore the impact of context on age- and smoking-related implicit attitudes. The remaining papers examine the utility of the IRAP for exploring implicit judgments of nationality and weight-status. The focus of this symposium is to provide further support for the validity of the IRAP in the context of measuring socially sensitive and health-related responses.
The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP): Assessing the Malleability of Implicit Ageism.
CLAIRE CULLEN (Department of Psychology), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: This paper presents a study that sought to determine if the IRAP effect can be modulated through exposure to relevant positive and negative exemplars. Half of the participants were exposed to examples of positively valenced old people and negatively valenced young people; the remaining participants were exposed to examples of positively valenced young people and negatively valenced old people. The participants were then exposed to an IRAP, in which the sample stimuli were “Young People” and “Old People,” with positive and negative target words as target stimuli, and the response options “Similar” and “Opposite.” Twenty four hours later participants were re-exposed to the same IRAP. Explicit attitudes to old and young people were also assessed via feeling thermometers and semantic differential scales. Results showed that the pro-old exemplars weakened the pro-young IRAP bias but completely reversed the anti-old IRAP effect, for both IRAP exposures, with positive and significant test-retest reliability. In contrast, the exemplars had no significant impact on the explicit measures. The results are broadly consistent with previous research, but serve to highlight that the IRAP may provide a more efficient means of assessing implicit cognition than more established implicit measures.
Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP): Examining the Context-dependent Nature of Smoking-related Implicit Attitudes.
NIGEL AUGUSTINE VAHEY (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Research examining pro- and anti-smoking beliefs suggests that IRAP-indices can distinguish smokers from non-smokers and correlate positively with smoking-behaviors in predictable patterns. In contrast, Implicit Association Test (IAT) research implies that both smokers and non-smokers hold anti-smoking attitudes. The current research aimed to resolve this apparent contradiction by demonstrating that the valences of smoking-related implicit attitudes are dependent on the precision of the context specified in IRAP tasks: smokers will show pro-smoking bias on some tasks and anti-smoking bias on others. Smokers and non-smokers were required to complete an IRAP with “Smoking makes ME Feel” (Sample 1) and “Not Smoking makes ME Feel” (Sample 2) as sample stimuli; words for positive experiences compatible with both smoking and smoking cessation (e.g., Better, Relaxed, Confident), and words compatible with the negative consequences of smoking (e.g., Diseased, Smelly, Damaged), were used as target stimuli consistent with Samples 1 and 2, respectively; participants were required to choose between the response options “True” and “False” on each trial. Predictions were made via Relational Frame Theory based on the likely verbal histories of participants. The current study has implications for the most effective use of the IRAP and also for its versatility relative to the IAT.
Measuring Implicit Nationality-related Implicit Attitudes, using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP).
PATRICIA M. POWER (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: This paper presents a series of studies that sought to determine if the IRAP can be used to assess implicit racial stereotypes using a comparative relational network. Experiment 1 employed an Irish sample and Experiment 2 employed an Irish-American sample. Participants completed an IRAP and an explicit measure so that the two could be compared. There were sixteen Irish participants in Experiment 1 and sixteen Irish-American participants in Experiment 2. Likert measures asked participants to indicate the extent to which they found Irish, Scottish, American and African people to be likeable or unlikable. Following completion of the likert scales, participants were presented with an IRAP (a computer-based task requiring them to make speedy and accurate responses that may or may not correspond to their beliefs). Each IRAP presented the sample stimuli “More Likeable” and “Less Likeable”. Experiment 1 presented the target stimuli Irish-Scottish, Scottish-American, American-African, and vice-a-versa (e.g., Scottish-Irish). Experiment 2 presented the target stimuli American-Irish, Irish-Scottish, Scottish-African, and vice-a-versa. Initial findings have indicated that response latencies are dependent on the direction of the task and the nationality of the participant. Explicit and Implicit performances diverged providing preliminary support for the IRAP as a possibly useful measure of implicit beliefs.
Comparing the IRAP with the IAT in the Assessment of Negative Attitudes Towards Overweight Individuals.
SARAH RODDY (National University of Ireland, Galway), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), a method developed within Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and in this case employed as an implicit measure of anti-fat attitudes. The IRAP was compared to a second implicit measure, the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and to a measure of explicit anti-fat attitudes, the Anti-fat Attitudes Questionnaire (AFA). The relationship between these three measures of negative attitudes towards overweight individuals was examined. In addition to this, the ability of each measure to predict behavior towards overweight individuals was also investigated. Specifically, participant’s willingness to sit beside an overweight female student and the extent to which they would like to get to know an overweight female target was assessed. 80 participants performed the two implicit measures (the IRAP and the IAT) followed by the explicit measure (Crandall’s Anti-fat Attitudes Questionnaire) of anti-fat attitudes. Finally, participants completed the measures of behavioral intent. Significant IRAP and IAT effects were found, such that participants expressed an implicit anti-fat bias. Explicitly assessed attitudes were lower. The relationship between the implicit and explicit measures and behavioral intention will also be discussed.



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