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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #223
International Symposium - Human Objectification, Part I: Using Basic Science to Address Prejudice
Sunday, May 25, 2008
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Area: CSE/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Roger Vilardaga (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Cultural diversity is one of the largest challenges faced by human beings in the present era of globalization. The breadth of behavioral analytical principles has always allowed this tradition to expand its applications to a variety of problems of human concern, and human objectification is one of them. The goals of this symposium are to explore the potential of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) in the conceptualization of human objectification, and to present new developments in assessment and intervention procedures. The three presenters will speak on (1) an RFT account of human objectification in the context of the most generally accepted psychological approaches for the reduction of this phenomena; (2) an Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) to assess attitudes toward the gay, lesbian and bisexual, and individuals; and (3) an investigation using the IRAP in the context of Anti-Muslim Prejudice that includes a brief intervention and its effects.
Human Objectification: A Relational Frame Theory Account of Prejudice and Stigma.
ROGER VILARDAGA (University of Nevada, Reno), Michael Levin (University of Nevada, Reno), Mikaela J. Hildebrandt (University of Nevada, Reno), Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno), James Edward Yadavaia (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The negative impact of stigma and prejudice on society is vast, affecting countless numbers of groups. Most known interventions targeting human objectification, such as the Contact Hypothesis and the Multicultural approach, generally highlight different aspects of the social context. Contact hypotheses emphasize contingencies in the environment, whereas educational approaches highlight more verbal processes. However, neither approach has adequately explained the psychological processes underlying the phenomena of stigmatization. In this paper we will present an account of stigma and prejudice from Relational Frame Theory (RFT). As part of the Functional Contextualism tradition, RFT emphasizes the aims of precision, scope and depth and thus may provide a more adequate approach to analyzing human objectification in a way that will lead to both prediction and influence. This presentation will argue that language is at the root of this problem, and that human's capacity to derive arbitrary relations among events, fosters human objectification in ways that overcome previous attempts to reduce it. We will end by briefly reviewing recent basic and applied research relating to this RFT account as well as their implications for reducing the phenomena of human objectification.
Implicit Attitudes toward Gender Congruence and Ambiguity.
LAUREN ROG (Illinois Institute of Technology), Patricia Bach (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Gender non-conformity is viewed as confusing at best and pathological at worst. Individuals who do not conform to societal gender norms are often viewed negatively. To assess implicit attitudes toward gender non-conformity, a sample of heterosexual individuals and a sample of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals were administered the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) with visual target stimuli. The stimuli consist of images of individuals whose appearance conforms to their biological sex, as well as individuals with an ambiguous gender appearance. Participants were also administered measures to assess their explicit attitudes toward gender conformity, their levels of acceptance and mindfulness, as well as a measure to assess their gender identity. IRAP performance was compared across gender and sexual orientation. Results will be discussed regarding implications for decreasing stigma and discrimination.
Judge thy Neighbor as Thyself: An Investigation and Disruption of Verbal Processes in Anti-Muslim Prejudice.
NADIA LUCAS (University of Mississippi), Chad E. Drake (Veterans Affairs Hospital, Togus, Maine), Jonathan Weinstein (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Prejudice and discrimination against Muslims is increasingly prevalent. Relational Frame Theory posits that verbal processes may be involved in maintaining such behavior. The current study uses the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) to look at some of the processes that may facilitate prejudice and discrimination, as well as the effects of a brief intervention designed to disrupt these processes.



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