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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Symposium #426
Int'l Symposium - Relational Frame Theory and Perspective-Taking in Human Psychopathology
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Waldorf (3rd floor)
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Patricia Bach (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Discussant: Daniel J. Moran (MidAmerican Psychological Institute)
Abstract: A Relational Frame Theory (RFT) approach to the phenomenon of perspective-taking offers a behavior analytic approach to understanding, shaping, and modifying this important verbal/social behavior. Past research on perspective taking has been most associated with social cognition and Theory of Mind approaches to understanding human behavior. Impaired perspective-taking has been implicated in a variety of maladaptive behaviors and is associated with specific psychological disorders including autism and other developmental disorders, psychosis, and more generally with deception and false beliefs. An advantage of an RFT approach to perspective-taking and the possible role of impaired perspective-taking in some forms of psychopathology is that applied applications for establishing and modifying perspective-taking repertoires follow rather directly from the experimental preparations used to study the phenomenon. The presenters in this symposium will address recent findings on perspective-taking in adults and children in basic, applied, and analogue research; will describe future directions for basic and applied research; and will discuss the applied implications of a functional contextual approach to perspective-taking and the treatment of disorders associated with impaired perspective-taking.
Investigating the Role of Perspective-Taking in Human Psychopathology: A Relational Frame Analysis
YVONNE BARNES-HOLMES (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: A series of studies to date have investigated the Relational Frame Theory account of cognitive perspective-taking. According to this view, perspective-taking skills involve a family of deictic frames that specify a stimulus relation in terms of the perspective of the speaker. The three relational frames that appear to be critical for the development of perspective-taking skills are the frames of I and YOU, HERE and THERE, and NOW and THEN. RFT may facilitate the analysis of psychological events that previously did not appear particularly amenable to a behavior analytic investigation. Perspective-taking may be usefully defined in terms of functionally distinct relational operants, and the systematic analysis of these operants might well inform a behavioral understanding of what it means to take the perspective of another. In terms of application, a behavioral approach to these phenomena also suggests possible means of establishing these repertoires in individuals for whom they appear to be absent. This development, therefore, could have broad applied applications. Although the majority of studies thus far have examined the development of perspective-taking in children and adults, Relational Frame Theorists also argue that perspective-taking plays an important role in the emergence of human psychological problems. The current paper reviews this interpretation of human psychopathology and examines findings from recent research that appear to support this view.
A Relational Frame Analysis of Impaired Perspective-Taking in Persons with Schizophrenia
PATRICIA BACH (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Most research aimed at understanding perspective-taking has employed the concepts and methods of social cognition and Theory of Mind. These theories suggest that some of the social skills deficits and attributional errors associated with symptoms of psychosis may be related to deficits in perspective-taking. A Relational Frame analysis of perspective-taking and errors in perspective-taking applied to symptoms of psychosis offers a behavior analytic approach to understanding responses to hallucinatory stimuli and to understanding the formation and maintenance of delusional beliefs. One advantage of a Relational Frame Theory approach to perspective-taking is that recent research offers insight into techniques for establishing and/or modifying perspective-taking repertoires in persons who lack or have deficient perspective-taking skills. Preliminary research findings on perspective-taking deficits in persons with delusional beliefs, future directions for further research, and treatment implications and applications will be discussed.
Verbal Processes Underlying Some Defusion/Perspective-Taking Methods: Clinical-Experimental Preparation
MARIA SONSOLES VALDIVIA SALAS (University of New Mexico), Carmen Luciano Soriano (University of Almeria, Spain), Francisco J. Molina-Cobos (University of Almeria, Spain), Marisa Páez Blarrina (University of Almeria, Spain), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Olga Gutierrez Martinez (University of Almeria, Spain), Miguel Rodriguez-Valverde (University of Almeria, Spain)
Abstract: Cognitive defusion techniques, that is, techniques for disrupting and altering ordinary meaning functions of language in order to increase contact with the environment, are a part of the clinical methods that define Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Disrupting behavior-behavior relations that are antithetical to attaining goals and fulfilling personal values, that is, destructive experiential avoidance, is one type of defusion technique. However, in spite of the wide use of defusuin techniques within ACT, an analysis of the verbal conditions defining defusion is still needed. A clinical-experimental preparation in which conditions that alter the behavioral functions of negatively evaluated privated events are analyzed in the context of defusion components. In this preparation, sub-clinical and control subjects participated in two experimental protocols that differed in the number of defusion components introduced. All protocols were introduced in the context of personal values. Results are discussed according to the relational frames that might be involved in the transformation of functions for private events. Also, results are discussed in the context of ACT interventions and the analysis of perspective taking and other verbal contexts involved in destructive emotional avoidance.



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