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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #316
International Symposium - Methods for Exploring Derived Relational Responding
Monday, May 29, 2006
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
International Ballroom South
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Sinead Smyth (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: The current symposium is concerned with experimental procedures that have been developed to assess the relational processes thought to underlie generative human learning. The first paper used a stimulus observation procedure (SPOP) to examine the behavioral histories involved in generating implicit associations. The second paper explored the role of verbal knowledge in learning by presenting participants with verbal instructions rather than actual stimulus pairings. The third paper presents a new procedure that employs linear movement to establish relations between stimuli. This procedure eradicates the need to use MTS procedures in both the training and testing stages. The final paper in the current symposium sought to examine the procedural properties of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). The implications arising from these procedures for the advancement of the study of derived relational responding will be discussed.
Associations or Derived Relations: Investigating the Processes Underlying the Transfer of Functions.
SINEAD SMYTH (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: One of the core assumptions of the RFT approach to human language and cognition is that language and thought may be defined in terms of derived stimulus relations. In contrast to this theoretical position, other researchers have argued that the derived transfer effect is produced by simple Pavlovian or associative processes that operate independently of human language and reasoning (Hall, Mitchell, Graham, & Lavis, 2003). The associative explanation for derived transfer, or at least Hall’s (1996) version of it, clearly predicts that transfer effects should not be observed if a linear training design is employed, and thus testing the account appears straightforward. The current study conducted this test by replicating Hall et al’s (2003) Experiment 1 using a linear training design rather than a many-to-one protocol. Participants were trained to categorize the A stimuli in Stage 1. Stage 2 used a stimulus observation procedure (SPOP) to train two three-member equivalence relations A1-B1-C1 and A2-B2-C2). Stage 3 tested for the transfer of the categories to the C stimuli – a derived transfer effect was observed. The implications of the current findings are considered in terms of the wider research program of which the current study is a part.
Exploring the Role of Verbal Processes in the Transfer of Stimulus Functions.
SINEAD SMYTH (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: The current paper consists of two experiments designed to explore the role of verbal information in the derived transfer of stimulus functions. Experiment 1 of Hall, Mitchell, Graham and Lavis (2003) was extended, using verbal information rather than actual stimulus pairings during the training stage. During Experiment 1, participants were presented with four different instructions telling them what shapes and colors “do not go together”. This type of instruction required participants to derive the correct pairings themselves. In keeping with the findings of Hall et al., performance in Stage 2, in which shapes were discriminative for two different key presses, was superior for participants that were required to make the same key press to shapes that had been related to the same Stage 1 color. Experiment 2 involved presenting participants with a combination of instructed and actual pairings which participants would have to integrate in order to contact the experimental contingencies. Once again performance was superior for the consistent group. The current data call into doubt the associative claim that the derived transfer of functions effect is produced by lower-level associative processes, and that verbal processes are separate or secondary.
Movement and Equivalence Relations.
ISRAEL MANAS-MANAS (University Almerí­a, Spain), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: Most of the research on the phenomenon of stimulus equivalence has used a Matching-to-Sample (MTS) procedure or variations on it. This typical MTS procedure involves first training a series of conditional discriminations and subsequently testing for a number of untrained derived relations (symmetry, transitivity, and equivalence). There are only a few published studies that have explored alternatives to the MTS format in the study of equivalence relations. For example, the Respondent-type Training Procedure and the precursor to the Relational Evaluation Procedure (pREP) were developed to expand the range of available methodologies for analyzing human language and cognition within the framework of Relational Frame Theory. The Respondent-type Training Procedure does not involve MTS training, but it does involve MTS testing. The pREP readily produces symmetry but needs specific training of relational cues to produce equivalence responding. The current paper presents a new procedure that aims to further expand the available methodologies for exploring derived stimulus relations. This new procedure employs linear movement to establish relations between stimuli and does not involve the MTS format in the training or in the testing. It may provide additional insights into the variables that are responsible for equivalence class formation and derived relations more generally.
The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP): Exploring its Relational Properties and the Randomization Algorithm.
CLAIRE CAMPBELL (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Angela Kelly (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Jacinta Mccomish (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: This paper presents a study that sought to examine some of the procedural properties of the IRAP. Current versions of the IRAP involve presenting relational terms as either sample stimuli or response options. Furthermore, the samples change randomly within test blocks, as does the position of the response options. The effects of these variables on IRAP performance has not yet been subjected to systematic experimental analysis. The study reported in the current paper explored the effects of presenting two samples versus only one within each test block; the effect of presenting the relational terms as samples versus as response options; and the effect of maintaining fixed positions for the response options versus alternating their position randomly within test blocks. The results of the study shed light on the procedural properties of the IRAP and provide guidelines for its future use with socially or clinically relevant stimuli.



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