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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #222
CE Offered: BACB
International Symposium - New Methods in the Experimental Analysis of Relational Responding: New Tricks for Old Dogs!
Sunday, May 27, 2007
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Del Mar AB
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway)
CE Instructor: Denis P. O'Hora, Ph.D.

The experimental analysis of relational responding is one the oldest areas in psychological science. The examination of relational responding grew out of philosophical debates in the late nineteenth century to become a hot topic in the early twentieth century. More recently, relational responding, in particular derived and arbitrary relational responding, has attracted much interest among behavior analytic researchers interested in complex cognitive phenomena. The four papers in this symposium present new methods for the experimental analysis of relational responding. The first paper summarizes the literature on responding in accordance with temporal relations and presents a novel empirical approach to investigating such performances. The second paper examines the role of derived relational responding in the enjoyment of computer games by using a game constructed to provide different levels of such responding at different levels of the game. The third paper employs a novel procedure to isolate different sources of contextual control in derived relational responding. Finally, the fourth paper exploits the phonological and orthographic properties of natural language words to elucidate sources of control in tests for stimulus equivalence.

A Review of the Literature on Temporal Relational Responding: Isn’t it about Time?
JOHN HYLAND (University of Ulster), Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Previous research in the area of temporal relational responding has uncovered much about how patterns of human behaviour are controlled through relations between verbal and environmental stimuli. However, there has yet to be a detailed investigation into the nature of temporal relations and how they are implicated in the underlying processes of human cognitive behaviour. The current paper will assess the cognitive and behavioural literature on temporal relational responding in order to provide a detailed analysis of such responding. A novel experimental technique will then be outlined that will enable us to conduct this rigorous investigation and to identify possible methods of improving relational responding in adults and children. A detailed analysis of this kind will provide the explanatory tools to address a range of complex human behaviours, including grammatical control, relational reasoning, and temporal perception.
What's in a Game? The Relational Properties of Computer Gaming Behaviour.
CONOR LINEHAN (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Bryan T. Roche (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Seamus McLoone (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Tomás Ward (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: The current research applied a derived relations approach to understanding the role of complexity on enjoyment in on-line computer game-playing. Participants were exposed to nonarbitrary stimulus discrimination training designed to establish the functions of SAME and OPPOSITE for two arbitrary contextual cues. All participants then received training in the following four arbitrary relations: SAME/A1-B1, SAME/A1-C1, OPPOSITE/A1-B2, and OPPOSITE/A1-C2. A testing phase was then presented in which the relations SAME/B1-C1, SAME/B2-C2, OPPOSITE/B1-B2, and OPPOSITE/C1-C2 were tested. Level 1 of the game consisted of training to establish a clicking (save) response towards one stimulus (B1) and an avoidance (destroy) response towards another stimulus (B2) in the presence of the SAME contextual cue. Level 2 required participants to transfer the responses learned in Level 1, to the C1 and C2 stimuli in the presence of the SAME contextual cue, and in the absence of feedback. Level 3 was similar to Level 2, with the exception that responses were made in the presence of the OPPOSITE contextual cue. Level 4 required participants to respond to C1 and C2 stimuli in the presence of randomly alternating SAME and OPPOSITE contextual cues. Preliminary results suggest that enjoyment in online gaming can be understood at least partly in terms of derived relational responding.
Contextual Control over Non-Arbitrary Relational Responding: Further Empirical Investigations.
IAN T. STEWART (National University of Ireland, Galway), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Louise A. Mchugh (National University of Ireland, Swansea), Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: This study replicates and extends a previous empirical model of the Relational Frame Theory phenomenon of Crel and Cfunc based contextual control. In Experiment 1, participants were trained to respond in accordance with relations of sameness and difference in the presence of two arbitrary shapes which were thus established as Crel cues for SAME and DIFFERENT relational responding respectively. Training using additional contextual cues was then provided in order to induce transformations of function along particular stimulus dimensions (e.g., size), thus establishing Cfunc control. Following this training, participants were then successfully tested for generalization of Cfunc control in which a novel Cfunc stimulus cue came to control transformation of function along a novel stimulus dimension. Experiment 2 demonstrated the generalization of Cfunc control to MORE / LESS relational responding. Participants were first trained and tested for MORE / LESS responding. They then successfully completed tests for Cfunc control over the transformation of function in accordance with MORE / LESS. The first phases of Experiment 3 were similar to those of the previous experiments except that nonsense syllables were employed as contextual cues. Participants were then provided with training for the derivation of equivalence relations between those cues and novel nonsense syllable stimuli. They were then exposed to MORE / LESS training and testing followed by a test for generalization of contextual control, as in Experiment 2; however, the contextual cues used in the final test phases were the stimuli in derived relations with the original contextual cues. The latter demonstration may represent an initial model of pragmatic verbal analysis, the process which RFT sees as central to human problem solving.
The Effect of Sample-Comparison Interference and Comparison-Comparison Interference on Stimulus Equivalence Relations.
DENIS P. O'HORA (National University of Ireland, Galway), Ian Thomas Tyndall (American College Dublin/National University of Ireland, Galway), Molly Loesche (University of Ulster)
Abstract: The current study reports three experiments that examine the effect of incorrect comparisons in the disruption of equivalence relations. Each experiment in the current study included twenty undergraduate students as participants. Previous research has shown that sample-comparison similarity disrupts equivalence relations. Experiment 1 replicated this effect using phonological and orthographic similarity. Experiment 2 employed incorrect comparisons that were phonological and orthographic similar to correct comparison. Unlike Experiment 1, equivalence relations were not disrupted by such interference. Although lower rates of correct responding were observed in the presence of the similar comparisons, the relations were observed when interference was removed. Experiment 3 employed sample-comparison interference at different levels for specific equivalence relations (e.g., orthographic interference for C1-A1, phonological for C2-A2 and no interference for C3-A3) and preliminary results suggest that sample-comparison similarity disrupted only those relations exposed to interference. These results suggest that Sample-Comparison Interference and Comparison-Comparison Interference disrupt different behaviors, both of which are required to demonstrate equivalence relations.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh