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 #561
Experimental analysis of equivalence classes formation and transformation of functions through analogical and hierarchical relations
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
12:00 PM–1:20 PM
North 228
Area: EAB/VRB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Maria Sonsoles Valdivia-Salas (University at Albany, State University of New York)
Abstract: This symposium brings together different topics from equivalence responding and Relational Frame Theory (RFT) fields. The first paper address the level of reinforcement and trial presentation as contributing factors in the formation of equivalence classes. It provides evidence of the importance of these factors using evoked potential and reaction times. The second presentation provides evidence of the contextual control over equivalence class formation. Specifically, this study explores if equivalence classes are more easily formed when contextual cues are held constant or varied over time. The third presentation tries to provide a RFT account of the use of metaphors as clinical methods. Specifically, this study shows the conditions under which transformation of functions occurs through analogical relations. The fourth study provides evidence of the transformation of functions through hierarchical relations, distinction and equivalence relations. Participants were trained to respond to arbitrary stimuli as several relational contexts and then a complex relational network was formed. Functions were given to some stimuli and the transformation of functions was observed according with the specific relational context.
The relative contribution of level of reinforcement and trial presentation of equivalence class formation
TING WANG (Swansea University), Louise A. McHugh (University of Wales Swansea), Robert Whelan (University College Dublin)
Abstract: Level of reinforcement and trial presentation have been proposed as contributing factors in the formation of equivalence classes. The current study involved training 40 participants using a match-to-sample procedure to relate two- four member equivalence classes, while level of reinforcement and trial presentation was manipulated (i.e., high vs. low reinforcement; high vs. low trial presentation). Subsequently, the participants were exposed to a lexical decision task involving pairs of novel stimuli and pairs of stimuli from the trained equivalence classes. Event related potentials and response time on the lexical decision task were recorded. The findings indicated that an evoked potential waveform typically associated with semantic priming (N400) was shown to be more sensitive in the high reinforcement high trial presentation condition, rather than low reinforcement low trial presentation condition. Additionally, faster response times emerged when related equivalence class pairs were presented. The importance of reinforcement and trial presentation in training for equivalence class formation is discussed.
Contextual control over equivalence class formation and recall
PATRICIA BACH (Illinois Institute of Technology), Kevin Zalizniak (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Contextual cues influence arbitrarily applicable derived relational responding. What is learned in one context may be more or less easily recalled in a similar or different context. The present study was designed to explore whether equivalence classes are more easily formed when contextual cues facilitate class formation and are subsequently more or less easily recalled when contextual cues are held constant or varied over time. A total of 30 subjects will complete the experiment in one of three conditions. Subjects were trained using a matching to sample procedure to relate three four member equivalence classes with one contextual feature related to members of a trained equivalence class. Participants returned a week later to test the previously learned equivalence classes with either no change in the contextual cue or with the contextual cues changed and also related to a different one of the three previously learned equivalence classes. Data collection is ongoing and we expect to show that initial contextual cues and contextual cues at follow-up differentially affect both response latency and number of trials to equivalence class formation. The implications for training and education will be discussed.
Transformation of functions through analogical relations: An experimental analysis of metaphors as clinical method
FRANCISCO JOSÉ RUIZ-JIMÉNEZ (Universidad de Almeria), Carmen Luciano Soriano (University Almer&íacute;a, Spain)
Abstract: This paper presents a Relational Frame Theory account of the use of metaphors as effective clinical methods. A number of third wave therapies have shown increased interest in the use of metaphors (specially, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), which have been successfully applied as part of the treatment of several psychological disorders. However, the conditions under which metaphors are useful and have a real impact on psychological functions have not been studied systematically, thus are not well understood. Most of the advances in behavior analysis to understand metaphors have been done under the umbrella of Relational Frame Theory (RFT). However, there was not any published study showing the conditions under which transformation of functions occur through analogical relations. The empirical study here presented attempts to provide a preliminary account of this issue, indicating some of the conditions under transformation of functions are more easily to occur and, subsequently, which metaphors can be more effectively used in therapy.
Transformation of functions through hierarchical frames.
ENRIQUE GIL (Universidad de Almer&íacute;a), Carmen Luciano Soriano (Universidad de Almer&íacute;a), Francisco José Ruiz-Jiménez (Universidad de Almeria), Vanessa SÁnchez (Universidad de Almeria)
Abstract: The Relational Frame Theory (RFT) literature has shown the transformation of functions in accordance with the relations of coordination, opposition, distinction or comparison. However, the published evidence concerning the conditions given rise to the transformation of functions in accordance with the relational frame of hierarchy is almost absent. The present study aims to show to advance in pursuing such a goal. Adults participants were involved in several phases where they learn to respond to arbitrary stimuli as the relational context of SAME, DISTINCTION, and HIERARCHY. Then, they were trained to acquire three-four members equivalence classes. Then, two relational networks of hierarchy among new stimuli and the stimuli of the equivalence classes were established. Then, different functions were given to the stimuli of the hierarchy and, finally, testing proceeded to see if they respond in accordance with the derived relations of hierarchy will emerge. An additional experiment followed to control for some internal threats. Results obtained showed that the procedures were appropriate as conditions for the emergence of derived transformation via the hierarchical relational context.



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