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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #175
CE Offered: BACB
Contemporary Research on Perspective Taking: The Assessment and Training of Deictic Relations
Sunday, May 27, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
LL03 (TCC)
Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Jake Moore (University of Mississippi)
Discussant: Timothy M. Weil (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Timothy M. Weil, Ph.D.

Perspective-taking abilities are an important component of everyday functioning. The majority of research in this area has approached these skills from a cognitive or developmental perspective. However, recent research grounded in Relational Frame Theory has focused on more behavioral measures of these skills, and whether or not these abilities can be trained. This symposium explores perspective-taking abilities as demonstrated by performance on behavioral measures of deictic relations. The first paper evaluates2 different experimental preparations used to assess deictic relations, as well as the relationship between performance on these tasks and language ability. The next paper explores the relationship between behavioral measures of deictic relations and emotion recognition abilities, as well as their relationship to commonly used self-report measures of emotional competence. The third paper examines the effect of deictic relational training on Theory of Mind performance in individuals with intellectual disabilities. Implications for the behavioral assessment and training of perspective taking skills will then be discussed.

Keyword(s): deictic relations, language ability, perspective taking, RFT
Assessing Deictic Relations: A Comparison of Two Measures
LEE SCHAEFER (University of Mississippi), Michael Bordieri (University of Mississippi), Kerry C. Whiteman (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Contemporary inquiry into complex human behavior has been increasingly informed by basic accounts of human language and cognition. Relational Frame Theory (RFT) has emerged as a robust conceptual framework to empirically test complex covert behaviors such as reasoning and perspective taking. Within the conceptual framework of RFT, perspective taking is viewed as the ability to respond to stimuli based on their arbitrary temporal and/or spatial relationships with one another (e.g., I and You, Here and There, Now and Then). To date, several experimental preparations have been developed to assess performance on these relations (known as deictic relations) including McHugh and colleagues (2004) and recent work at the University of Nevada Reno. The purpose of this investigation is to compare the psychometric properties of the McHugh and Reno preparations with an emphasis placed on research utility in a typically developing college age sample. The utility of both accuracy and fluency based scoring systems for each preparations will be explored and particular attention will be placed on the relationship between performance on the deictic preparations and performance on standardized measures of reading comprehension and fluency. Results and implications for future assessment of deictic relations will be discussed.

Recognizing Emotion in the Self and Others: Toward a Behavioral Account of a Controversial Repertoire

KERRY C. WHITEMAN (University of Mississippi), Michael Bordieri (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)

The vast majority of research to date on emotion recognition and perspective taking abilities has utilized self-report measures, which offer only a limited account of these behavioral repertoires. Only recently has research begun to focus on developing behavioral measures of these skills. Individuals who have developed the ability to tact or label the emotional experience of themselves and/or others tend to perform better in social situations, which is an important component of psychological and physical wellbeing, social relationships and employability (Nelis et al., 2011). As a result, this study seeks to explore the relationship between computerized behavioral measures of emotion recognition and perspective taking, as well as their relationship to established self-report measures of related abilities (i.e. emotional intelligence, emotional empathy and alexithymia). Particular attention will be paid to conceptualizing these abilities as dynamic skills that can improve with practice. In addition, results and implications for training emotion recognition and perspective taking repertoires will be discussed.


Perspective-Taking Skills Among People With Intellectual Disabilities

CATHERINE H. ADAMS (The University of Mississippi)

People with intellectual disabilities frequently demonstrate difficulties in social skills, which may be related to perspective taking skills. Perspective taking skills have been studied using Theory of Mind, a developmental process during which individuals gradually begin to have a theory about mind. More recently, perspective taking has been studied from a Relational Frame Theory (RFT) perspective. From this perspective, perspective taking skills can be trained via a series of questions. The purpose of this study was to conduct RFT perspective taking training with 4 people with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, we examined Theory of Mind and perspective taking progress following each phase of training. We found incremental increases in Theory of Mind and perspective taking scores following each phase of training. We conclude that future research could focus on the relationship between training perspective taking skills and social skill improvements in people with intellectual disabilities.




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