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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #31
CE Offered: None

Int'l Event - Relational Frame Theory and Analogical Reasoning in Children and Adults: What Can Behavior Analysts Teach Cognitive Psychologists About Cognition?

Saturday, May 28, 2005
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Waldorf (3rd floor)
Area: TPC; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: David C. Palmer, M.S.
Chair: David C. Palmer (Smith College)
DERMOT BARNES-HOLMES (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Dr. Dermot Barnes-Holmes is foundation Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He studied under Professor Julian Leslie and Dr. Michael Keenan at the University of Ulster before taking up a teaching position at University College, Cork, where he stayed for 10 years before accepting his current post. Dr. Barnes-Holmes has published over 170 scientific articles, book chapters, and books, and he was recently ranked as the most prolific author in the world in the Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior during the period 1980 to 1999 (Dymond, 2002). He has served on, or is currently serving on, the editorial boards of the following journals: Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Bulletin; Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior; Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis; The Behavior Analyst; The European Journal of Behavior Analysis; The International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy (Associate Editor); and The Psychological Record. Dr. Barnes-Holmes' research career has been influenced greatly by the work of Dr. Steven C. Hayes. Their collaborative efforts, and those of their students and colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic, led to the publication of the first full-length book on Relational Frame Theory.

The current presentation will focus on one example of a relatively advanced and on-going research program in Relational Frame Theory (RFT). In particular, I will review a series of RFT studies that have explored analogical reasoning in children and adults using response-accuracy, reaction-time, and electrophysiological recordings (event related potentials) as measures. During the course of the review, it will be argued that a behavioral approach to analogy appears to have provided a more precise and experimentally useful definition of analogical reasoning than that found within the mainstream cognitive/developmental tradition. Furthermore, it will be shown that very recent evidence from the research program calls into question the findings and conclusions arising from a seminal mainstream study that is widely cited as providing evidence for analogical reasoning in young children. Finally, the event related potentials data will be used to highlight an unexpected functional overlap between analogical reasoning and performance on Greenwald's Implicit Association Test. The current review, it will be argued, indicates that the behavior-analytic study of higher cognition is a vitally important and fruitful enterprise, and that if pursued vigorously we may well be in a strong position to teach our cognitive colleagues something about human language and cognition.




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