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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #28
International Symposium - RFT: Clinical and Educational Research
Saturday, May 26, 2007
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Del Mar AB
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Claire Keogh (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: The current symposium discusses the application of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) research. The first of these presentations investigates the impact of pliance and tracking contingencies on rule-following behavior and discusses the implications of RFT for the understanding of human psychopathology. The remaining presentations provide an experimental investigation into the utility of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) in the development of both educational and clinical interventions. Specifically, the second presentation in this symposium will discuss the impact of implicit relational learning tasks on improving general cognitive ability. The third presentation will compare the impact of cognitive defusion versus thought control therapeutic interventions on both explicit and implicit measures of participant’s negative self-referential thoughts. The final presentation investigates the differences between explicit and implicit measures of positive and negative thoughts about future events. The results of each of these studies will be discussed in terms of RFT.
Rule-Governed Behavior: Differentiating Pliance and Tracking.
MARIE GORHAM (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dave McAuliffe (National University of Ireland, Cork)
Abstract: Excessive rule-following is a pattern of behavior that has been observed in persons prone to psychological disorders, such as depression. Specifically, the profile of depressed individuals has been noted to lack the variability that characterizes “normal” behavior. A number of researchers have suggested that this outcome is facilitated in part by insensitivity to environmental contingencies. Indeed, a recent series of studies has shown that teenagers categorized as ‘high-depressed’ were more likely to follow experimenter provided rules that were inconsistent with environmental contingencies than their ‘low-depressed’ counterparts. The current study attempts to replicate this research by determining whether different patterns of rule-following will be observed in pliance (socially mediated rule-following) versus tracking (rule-following under the control of natural consequences) contexts in a non-depressed undergraduate population. The results of the study are discussed in terms of Relational Frame Theory and its implications for human psychopathology and psychotherapy.
The Effect of Repeated Exposure to Relational Tasks on General Cognitive Abilities.
CATRIONA O'TOOLE (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: Previous published and unpublished research has shown that there is a significant correlation between performances on relational tasks and performances on intelligence tests. The primary purpose of the current study was to determine if repeated exposures to a series of relational tasks over the course of a number of weeks / months would have an effect on performances on tests of general cognitive ability. A group of male and female adult participants were given tasks which probed five different types of relations (temporal and hierarchical relations, as well as relations of coordination, comparison, and analogy). The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) was used as a methodology for presenting these relational tasks. Participants also completed two standardised intelligence tests before exposure to the relational tasks and again when they had completed the tasks. Results will be discussed in terms of designing educational interventions for individuals with academic skills deficits.
Using the IRAP with Emotional Stimuli: Assessing the Impact of Clinical Interventions.
CLAIRE KEOGH (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: Cognitive defusion techniques have been used within therapeutic settings as coping interventions for the treatment of psychological problems. Experimental research suggests that defusion techniques result in a greater reduction in self-reported measures of the emotional impact of negative self-referential thoughts compared to thought control strategies. However, changes in self-reports may simply reflect demand characteristics, rather than alterations in participants’ self-evaluations. The current study attempts to address this issue by employing the IRAP as an implicit measure of participants’ negative self-evaluations. This study investigates the impact of therapeutic rationales on both explicit and implicit measures of negative self-relevant thoughts with undergraduate students. The results of the study highlight the utility of the IRAP in the domain of clinical assessment and the relationship between assessments of implicit cognition and the impact of clinical interventions.
The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure and Positive and Negative Future Thinking.
LIV KOSNES (University of Wales, Swansea), Aoife O'Donovan (University College Dublin), Louise A. Mchugh (University of Wales, Swansea), Robert Whelan (University College Dublin)
Abstract: Depression is associated with a negative cognitive bias. Using the Future Thinking Test (FTT) as a measure of positive and negative future thinking, MacLeod and colleagues found that people with depression display low levels of positive future-directed cognitions compared with healthy controls. Conversely, people with anxiety disorders display high levels of negative future-directed cognitions (MacLeod et al., 1996; 1997). The aim of the present study was to develop an implicit measure of positive and negative future-directed thinking based on the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). A sample of 20 healthy volunteers completed both the implicit IRAP future thinking test and the explicit FTT. Participants also completed psychometric measures of personality and mood. Participants had faster reaction times for positive future events than for negative future events. A similar positive bias emerged for the explicit FTT. The utility of an implicit measure of future thinking in mental health research and clinical settings is discussed.



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