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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #545
RFT Methods Applied to Clinical & Health Psychological Issues
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 227 BC
Area: EAB/CBM; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Liv Kosnes (University of Wales Swansea)
Abstract: Relational Frame Theory has suggested that language and cognition may be analyzed as derived relational responding, and over the last decade RFT researchers have been exploring a variety of linguistic and cognitive phenomena based on this theoretical interpretation. The present symposium presents a selection of recent studies that demonstrate the application of RFT-based methods to empirical issues in areas of health and clinical psychological interest. Paper 1 investigated the transformation of thought suppression functions; Paper 2 investigated the transformation of health risk functions of pseudo-food names; Papers 3 and 4 employed the Implicit Relational Evaluation Procedure to examine implicit versus explicit anti fat attitudes and future thinking in depression, respectively.
Thought Suppression and the Transfer on Stimulus Functions
NICHOLAS HOOPER (Swansea University), Louise A. McHugh (University of Wales Swansea), Jo Saunders (Swansea University)
Abstract: Thought suppression is the attempted removal of unwanted thoughts. A number of empirical studies have linked suppression attempts to psychological disorders. However, the mechanism involved in unsuccessful suppression is still underrepresented in the research field. One theoretical approach that might usefully account for unsuccessful suppression is the derived stimulus relations literature. From the derived stimulus relations perspective the relational properties of language are fundamental to difficulties in suppressing unwanted thoughts. In order to test this prediction, participants were trained to relate three sets of three stimuli together using a match-to-sample procedure. Subsequently, participants were instructed to suppress all thoughts of one target word. If the suppression attempt was hampered by both the target word and the nonwords related to the target word the relational quality of language would become apparent. The results indicated that both the target word and related words interfered with the suppression attempt. The clinical implications of the novel demonstration of the mechanism behind generalization of thought suppression via derived relations is discussed.
Transformation of Health Risk Functions of Pseudo-Food Names
EMILY KENNISON SANDOZ (University of Mississippi), Chad Drake (Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Train), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Match to sample (MTS) procedures were used to establish arbitrary relational functions for three pseudo-food names. In the presence of pseudo-foods A, B, and C, participants were trained to select the smallest, medium, and largest member, respectively, of 3-comparison arrays. Next, health risk functions were directly trained to food B. Derived relational responding to pseudo-foods A and C will be examined using a self-report measure of perceived health risk. Based on pilot findings, participants are expected to exhibit greater negative attitudes, psychological rigidity, and avoidance to pseudo-food C. These effects are expected to be larger in participants exhibiting disordered eating patterns. Implications for contributing to the understanding of dieting behavior will be discussed.
Comparing IRAP, IAT and Facial Electromyography (EMG) as measures of implicit attitudes towards the overweight
SARAH RODDY (National University of Ireland, Galway), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: The aim of this study was to compare implicit attitudes towards the overweight as measured using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), a recently developed RFT-based methodology and the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a more traditional measure of implicit attitudes, and to correlate both performances with facial electromyography (EMG) output. Facial EMG provides reliable information as to the valence and intensity of emotional reactions by recording discrete muscle movements. In addition to these comparisons, the correlation of these measures with behavioural intentions towards an overweight target was also assessed, providing evidence for the relationship between implicitly and explicitly measured affect and cognition and behaviour. 64 participants completed the IRAP, IAT and EMG followed by explicit measures of anti-fat attitudes and behavioural intentions towards the overweight. Results will be discussed, particularly with regard to the relationship between the IRAP and other implicit and explicit measures.
Implicit future expectations and autobiographical memory in depression
LIV KOSNES (University of Wales Swansea), Louise A. McHugh (University of Wales Swansea), Jo Saunders (Swansea University), Robert Whelan (University College Dublin)
Abstract: Reduced positive expectancies and a lack of specificity in describing past events have been linked to depression. The current study compared the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (FT-IRAP), an implicit measure of positive and negative future thinking, and the Autobiographical Memory Task (ATM), the presentation of positive and negative cues to measure Autobiographical Memory Specificity (AMS). 40 undergraduate volunteers participated. Participants were grouped as high or low depressed based on their Beck Depression Inventory scores. The FT-IRAP results indicated that the high depressed group paired themselves with negative future expectancies and less with positive future expectancies when compared to the low depressed group. While on the AMT the high depressed group indicated reduced AMS in response to the AMT cues. The results suggest a link between increased negative future expectancies/ decreased positive future expectancies and an overgeneral autobiographical memory. The findings are discussed in terms of how future expectancies might necessitate the retrieval of overgeneral autobiographical memories.



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