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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #59
The Journey From Implicit Bias to Self-Report: How Thought Through Are Clinically Relevant Behaviors?
Saturday, May 29, 2010
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
214C (CC)
Area: VRB/EAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: The objective of the research presented in this symposium is to extend previous work demonstrating the advantages of an emerging measure of implicit attitudes called the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure ( over analogous explicit measures, and gold-standard implicit measures like the Implicit Association Test (IAT, Greenwald et al., 1998). The Relational Elaboration and Coherence Model (RECM) underlying the IRAP conceptualizes implicit effects as being driven by immediate and relatively brief relational responses; explicit measures then are thought to reflect more elaborated and coherent relational networks for which implicit attitudes are precursors. More informally, implicit effects are thought to capture spontaneous and automatic evaluations, whereas explicit measures capture more carefully considered reactions. As a consequence implicit attitudes have proven particularly useful relative to self-report measures, for indexing attitudes individuals may wish to conceal, or for indexing fleeting behavioural processes that are poorly discriminated verbally. Therefore, implicit measures may hold particular promise for clinically relevant behaviors. The four studies offered examine key theoretical and methodological factors affecting implicit responding across four broad domains: tobacco dependence, depression, obesity, and emotional avoidance. Particular emphasis is placed upon comparing whether implicit versus self-reported attitudes better predict the clinically relevant behaviors to which they pertain.
The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure: Weight Class Predicted by Implicit but Not Explicit Food Attitudes
IAN MCKENNA (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway), Ruth Yoder (Weight Management Clinic, St. Columcille's Hospital)
Abstract: Do implicit attitudes to healthy and unhealthy foods differ on the IRAP among normal-weight and obese participants depending on food deprivation state? Study 1 presented obese and normal-weight individuals with a food-hunger IRAP and explicit measures. Study 2 presented obese and normal-weight individuals with a food-intention IRAP and explicit measures. Both IRAPs presented individuals with “pro-unhealthy” and “pro-healthy” trials. A mean-response-latency difference between “pro-healthy” and “pro-unhealthy” trials indicates a bias towards healthy or unhealthy food. Analysis of variance found the food-hunger IRAP discriminated between the groups, the normal-weight individuals showing a healthy food bias at 2-hr deprivation, and an unhealthy bias in the No-Restriction condition. The obese individuals demonstrated an unhealthy food bias at 2-hr deprivation and a non-significant bias in the No-Restriction condition. This was not reflected in the explicit measures. Regression analyses found that implicit but not explicit food evaluations predict weight class. Study 2, ANOVA analyses found non-significant differences between the groups on the food-intention IRAP and the explicit measures. Regression analyses found that neither the food-intention IRAP nor the explicit measures predict weight category. The results have implications for understanding the interaction between implicit and explicit food attitudes and how this might impact upon food-choice behaviors.
An Implicit Measure of Emotional Avoidance
NICHOLAS HOOPER (Swansea University), Matthieu Villatte (Universite de Charles de Gaulle - Lille 3), Louise A. McHugh (University of Wales Swansea)
Abstract: The current study sought to compare the utility of an IRAP designed to measure emotional avoidance, with a preceding presentation of the AAQ-2 (N = 20 undergraduates). In essence, the IRAP required participants to alternately choose between allowing versus replacing “bad feelings”; the response-time differentials between these tasks indexed implicit bias. Subsequently, participants attended to a negatively affective IAP image for as long as they were willing (up to 30 seconds). Participants were randomly assigned to receive a 10-minute audio intervention, that either recommended suppression or mindfulness as a useful coping strategy for unwanted thoughts arising from the image. Finally, participants were re-exposed to both the AAQ-2 and the IRAP in order to determine whether the intervention had impacted on participants’ level of emotional avoidance (either explicitly or implicitly). The results indicated that the participants in the mindfulness group did not change their explicit responses on the AAQ-2 significantly more than the suppression group, however, a significant difference between the groups’ implicit performances emerged as a result of the intervention. Specifically, after the intervention participants in the mindfulness group produced pro-acceptance implicit responses compared to the suppression group who produced pro-avoidance implicit responses.
Future Expectations and Personal Values in Depression
LIV KOSNES (University of Wales Newport), Louise A. McHugh (University of Wales Swansea), Robert Whelan (Trinity College Dublin)
Abstract: Previous research has linked a decrease in explicit positive future thinking, as opposed to increased negative future thinking, with clinical depression. Evidence also comes from studies with sub clinically depressed individuals. This study sought to look at personal values in relation to future expectations and employed both implicit and explicit measures of future thinking. A sample of 30 volunteers, 15 healthy and 15 sub clinically depressed, completed both an implicit computer based measure of future thinking, the Future Thinking Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure, and the Explicit Future Thinking Test (FTT) along with the Personal Values Questionnaire (PVQ). The findings indicated differences in the evaluation of future events between the two groups on both future thinking measures, however, group differences were more pronounced on the Future Thinking Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure. The results are discussed in terms of the literature on future positive and negative thinking and values contact as symptomatic of depression.
Examining the Sensitivity and Specificity of Implicit Versus Explicit Measures to Heuristic Processes Governing Smoking-Cessation
NIGEL AUGUSTINE VAHEY (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Corinna Stewart (National University of Ireland), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway), Deirdre Desmond (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: A large body of evidence in Prospect Theory suggests that arguments in terms of losses are most persuasive when the recommended behavior is construed as risky, with gain focused arguments being advantageous when the recommended behavior is construed as non-risky. We sought to examine the RECM prediction that implicit attitudes, as precursors to explicit attitudes, will retain the impact of message-framing heuristic effects better than explicit measures, because implicit measures are less contaminated by deliberative processes. We randomly assigned 36 smokers between receiving gain- versus loss-framed messages promoting smoking-cessation. Participants received the IRAP and analogous explicit measures before and after their message-presentation. We employed an IRAP designed measure quitting-related expectations and analogous self-report measures. Using ANOVAs, quitting-related implicit beliefs demonstrated coherent significant message-framing effects, but analogous explicit measures did not. The current study provides preliminary evidence that implicit quitting-related beliefs are substantially more sensitive to message-framing effects than analogous explicit measures. Indeed, the IRAP demonstrated impressive specificity in that it demonstrated inverse message-framing effects between aspects of quitting-related beliefs construed as risky versus non-risky.



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