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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #378
Determining the Predictive Utility of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP)
Monday, May 26, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W185d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: VRB/OBM; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Gregory S. Smith (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) measures the putative strength of verbal relations among stimuli in an individual's verbal behavioral repertoire. These verbal relations, as measured by the IRAP, have commonly been termed "implicit", as opposed to other methods of assessing verbal relations, such as surveys and questionnaires, which have been labeled as "explicit" measures. Interestingly, implicit and explicit measures tend to diverge when socially sensitive topics are in question, and it has been suggested that the IRAP can provide insight into an individual's attitudes (i.e., history of verbal behavior) which might not otherwise be available for assessment. To the extent this is the case, it is important to investigate which set of assessment measures (implicit or explicit) provides greater prediction of how individuals may behave in other, more naturalistic settings of interest. The papers presented in this symposium investigate this question by use of various implicit and explicit assessments, as well as fairly complex behavioral tasks, for the purposes of determining the extent to which the IRAP or a newer variation of it is capable of serving as a reliable predictor of other behaviors of interest.

Keyword(s): IRAP, predictive utility, verbal behavior

Exploring the Predictive Utility of IRAP with an Analog Data Entry Task

GREGORY S. SMITH (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)

The IRAP has been used as a means of measuring implicit attitudes, or assessing implicit verbal relations, for several years. Much of the early work with IRAP consisted of validating the results obtained using the IRAP with those of another well-documented tool used for measuring implicit attitudes (i.e., IAT; see Barnes-Holmes, Barnes-Holmes, and colleagues). Findings in this vein have been promising, leading researchers to begin asking the next logical set of empirical questions; primarily, to what extent are the measures captured by the IRAP indicative or predictive of more overt, probable patterns of behavior in naturalistic settings, such as the home, the workplace, or the community at large. Recent work has begun to address this question and more research is needed. The present study investigated this question, as it relates to patterns of behavior in organizational settings, by asking participants to complete an IRAP assessment comprising target stimuli related to attitudes toward the workplace and then exposing participants to an analog data entry work task, with dependent measures related to those concepts assessed in the IRAP. IRAP results are correlated with more overt, persistent behavior patterns in the analog work task to evaluate the extent to which IRAP results are predictive of such behavior, in this particular setting.


Refining Investigations of the Predictive Utility of IRAP

BAILEY WILCOX (University of Nevada, Reno), Fabiane Fogaca (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Gregory S. Smith (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)

As research with the IRAP has begun moving toward evaluating the predictive utility of the tool, in terms of the extent to which its results are indicative of how individuals may behave in other settings of interest, one particularly challenging aspect of such research has been the ability to develop overtly and objectively observable behavioral measures which correspond well with the concepts assessed in the IRAP. This is an integral component of research designed to investigate the predictive utility of the IRAP, since the inability of an IRAP to predict behaviors which arguably are not relevant to the concepts assessed by the IRAP does not thereby demonstrate that the IRAP cannot, in fact, predict patterns of behavior. Instead, in such an instance nothing can be concluded one way or the other regarding the ability of the IRAP to predict other behaviors of interest. In order to overcome this challenge, observable behavioral tasks and measures that map-on more closely to the concepts targeted by the IRAP are needed. This study extends the research of the first paper presented in this symposium (Smith & Houmanfar), in terms of further refinement of a behavioral task and associated measures which allow for a more confident interpretation of the IRAPs predictive utility with respect to those behavioral measures.




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