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 #473
CE Offered: BACB
International Symposium - Basic, Applied and Translational Research on Conditioning and Derived Relational Responding: Treatment Implications
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Del Mar AB
Area: EAB/CBM; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Simon Dymond (University of Wales, Swansea)
CE Instructor: Simon Dymond, Ph.D.

Findings from basic, applied, and translational research on conditioning and derived relational responding are presented. The first presentation describes a novel paradigm to investigate interoceptive conditioning, with implications for panic disorder. The second presentation describes researcn derived transfer of evaluative learning, with implications for generalised anxiety disorder. The third presentation describes a translational research model of derived avoidance behavior, with implications for anxiety and phobias. The final presentation outlines multiple-exemplar training strategies to facilitate derived relational responding, with implications for intellectual interevention.

Experimental Evaluation of the Interoceptive Conditioning Account of Panic Disorder: Surprising Results with Applied Implications.
DEAN ACHESON (University of Albany), John P. Forsyth (University at Albany, State University of New York)
Abstract: The modern learning theory account of panic disorder (Bouton, Mineka & Barlow, 2001) suggests that fear of bodily cues is acquired and maintained via a learned respondent relation between benign bodily sensations and full blown fearful responding (i.e., a panic attack). Thereafter, bodily cues function to elicit panic attacks, and are thus responded to fearfully. This phenomenon is known as interoceptive conditioning. Despite the role afforded interoceptive fear conditioning in etiologic accounts of panic disorder, there are no good experimental demonstrations of such learning in humans. This presentation will detail a series of experiments evaluating the interoceptive fear learning account using 20% carbon dioxide enriched air (CO2) as an interoceptive CS (i.e., physiologically inert 5-s exposures) and US (i.e., physiologically prepotent 15-s exposures) in a healthy human sample. The results of these studies, involving several different contingency arrangements and psychophysiological response domains, were surprising in showing that random / unpaired contingencies yielded the most robust fear learning; learning that was also highly resistant to extinction. These findings, in turn, will be discussed in the context of contemporary learning accounts of panic pathology, with implications for the design of prevention and treatment programs.
Transfer of Self-Efficacy Function after Evaluative Learning: Clinical Implications.
CHARLOTTE N. DACK (University of Wales, Swansea), Phil Reed (University of Wales, Swansea), Louise A. Mchugh (University of Wales, Swansea)
Abstract: Experiment 1 examined whether self-efficacy functions related to performance on two different reinforcement schedules (i.e., DRL and DRH) would transfer via derived relations. Participants (n = 16) were first trained and tested for two 3-member classes (A1-B1-C1 and A2-B2-C2). The first two members of each group (i.e., A and B) were nonsense words, while the third member was an affective word: 'good' for C1, and 'bad' for C2. They also completed an evaluative conditioning task and a transfer of evaluative function test. It was found that the DRH schedule produced significantly higher self-efficacy ratings than the DRL schedule. A transfer of stimulus properties emerged between the stimulus class members. The coloured circle that signalled high rate behaviour (DRH) and high self-efficacy was selected in the presence of stimuli associated with 'good', and the coloured circle that signalled low rate behaviour (DRL) and low self-efficacy was selected in the presence of stimuli associated with'bad'. Experiment 2 and 3 replicated these findings but controlled for the rate of reinforcement and rate of responding. Implications for understanding the development of generalised problems seen in anxiety and depressive disorders are discussed.
Derived Transformation of Avoidance Response Functions: Implications for Clinically Significant Fear and Avoidance.
SIMON DYMOND (University of Wales, Swansea), Bryan T. Roche (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), John P. Forsyth (University at Albany, State University of New York), Robert Whelan (University College Dublin), Julia Rhoden (University of Wales, Swansea)
Abstract: Three experiments were conducted in order to test a translational research model of derived avoidance based on the transformation of avoidance response functions in accordance with same and opposite relational frames. Using the Relational Completion Procedure, participants were first exposed to non-arbitrary and arbitrary relational training and testing in order to establish Same and Opposite relations between non-word stimuli. The training tasks were; Same-A1-B1, Same-A1-C1, Opposite-A1-B2, Opposite-A1-C2. Next, in an avoidance conditioning procedure, B1 signaled a simple avoidance response. Participants who showed conditioned avoidance also showed derived avoidance to C1 in the absence of a direct aversive history with C1. Participants who were not exposed to relational training and testing did not show derived avoidance. Experiment 2 showed that this effect was not a by-product of instructional control, and Experiment 3 demonstrated a more complex pattern of transformation. Implications of the translational model for understanding clinically significant fear and avoidance behaviors are discussed.
Improving Relational Skills in Adults and Children Using Multiple Exemplar Training.
SARAH N. O'CONNOR (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Denis P. O'Hora (University of Ulster)
Abstract: The current paper will outline the findings of two experiments designed to test the utility of multiple exemplar relational training as a means of improving arbitrarily applicable relational responding in both adults and children. Six experimental adult subjects were exposed to intensive multiple exemplar training for Same/Opposite responding using novel stimulus sets. This involved providing feedback and reinforcement for correct responding on a trial-to-trial basis during relational tests which were administered only once per stimulus set. All subjects showed modest improvements in Same/Opposite relational responding across novel stimulus sets and all reached the mastery criterion within 10 exposures to relational training/testing. A further six adult subjects did not receive multiple exemplar training, but were exposed to successive relational tests for Same and Opposite using novel stimulus sets. Only two of these subjects reached the mastery criterion on a novel stimulus set. Similar results were obtained using a group of 8-12 year old children. These results seem to suggest that relational skills can be generalised to novel stimulus sets and this has implications for the development of applied interventions for intellectual deficit.



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