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 #443
Exploring the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) as a Behavioral Measure of Social Cognition
Monday, May 26, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W176a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: EAB/TPC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Kail H. Seymour (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The notion that behavior may be influenced by hidden, internal forces has a longstanding history in psychology. A popular contemporary view approaches this topic via the concept of implicit attitudes and conceptualizes them as involving hypothetical mental constructs (e.g., schemas) that affect overt responding. Among the variety of computerized measures of implicit attitudes, the Implicit Associations Test (IAT) in particular has provided a wealth of data in support of the viability of implicit attitudes as a meaningful psychological construct. However, from a radical behavioral perspective, the IAT bears conceptual and procedural limitations that may hinder a behavioral approach to implicit cognition. A more functionally and contextually oriented instrument called the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) has recently addressed a variety of topic domains in psychology. This symposium will present three recent studies involving the IRAP configured to address attitudes toward a variety of content domains: body image, gender, and religion. Each study examined the reliability of the measure, which has scarcely been addressed in the existing literature, as well as convergent validity with respect to more direct approaches to attitudinal assessment. Overall, the data support the potential of the IRAP as a behaviorally coherent means of addressing implicit cognition.
Keyword(s): Assessment, Implicit, IRAP, Relational
Exploring the Stability of Implicit Evaluative Repertoires in Respect to Religious Categories
RACHEL SWIATEK (Southern Illinois University), Kelsey Schuler (Southern Illinois University), Kail H. Seymour (Southern Illinois University), Chad E. Drake (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: In the years since 9/11, perceptions of Muslims in the predominantly Christian United States have been a subject of sometimes contentious public debate. Social attitude researchers have contributed a growing body of empirical data relevant to this conversation. One prominent source of this data has been computerized measures of implicit attitudes, which often reveal an anti-Muslim, pro-Christian bias that is less obvious when assessed with direct assessments of attitude (e.g., via self-report). A potential shortcoming of popular approaches to assessing implicit attitudes is based in the procedural limitations of the task; attitudes are usually characterized as pro-Christian, anti-Muslim or pro-Muslim, anti-Christian. The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) differs from mainstream implicit measures in that it may offer a means of distinguishing attitudes about Christians from attitudes about Muslims. The current study, utilizing a sample of university undergraduates, included an IRAP configured to assess attitudes toward Muslims and Christians as well as a collection of relevant self-reports. The IRAP was administered twice in succession in order to allow examination of the stability of the evaluative repertoires assessed by the procedure. The data revealed significant trends within and between IRAP administrations as well as some relationships to self-report measures.
Divergent Patterns in Implicit Relational Responding to Evaluated Body Sizes
CHRISTINE RYDER (Southern Illinois University), Sam Kramer (Southern Illinois University), Kail H. Seymour (Southern Illinois University), Chad E. Drake (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: A body of literature from non-behavioral traditions supports the view that many people implicitly perceive an overweight body size in stigmatizing ways. Popular measures, such as the Implicit Associations Test, commonly reveal a pro-thin/anti-obese cognitive bias. However, mainstream implicit measures often co-mingle potentially distinguishable repertoires in respect to evaluations of thinness and obesity. The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is a relatively new implicit measure that may be able to untangle these repertoires as well as provide a more contextual and behaviorally coherent means of interpreting data. The current IRAP study examined positive and negative evaluative relational responding in respect to thin and obese body sizes among college undergraduates. Self-reports of body size attitudes as well as participant body sizes were assessed to provide a basis for examining the relationship of these measures with implicit attitudes. The data indicated distinguishable implicit repertoires for evaluations of thin versus obese body size categories, showing a divergence of attitudes dependent on body size category and evaluative valence. Furthermore, the data revealed noteworthy relationships with non-implicit measures.
Comparing Implicit Stereotypical Gender Attitudes between Males and Females
JANNA LOCKE (Southern Illinois University), Chelsea Vanderwoude (Southern Illinois University), Kail H. Seymour (Southern Illinois University), Chad E. Drake (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is an emerging measure of implicit attitudes rooted in a functional and contextual perspective of verbal behavior. Although mainstream implicit measures typically view attitudes via assumptions that are contrary to behavior analytic assumptions, the IRAP has both a conceptual and procedural basis that facilitates the interpretation of data using behavioral principles. The current study implemented the IRAP as a measure of stereotypical and a-stereotypical attitudes towards females and males. The sample included both female and male undergraduate participants. The IRAP was administered twice in a row in order to assess test-retest reliability, which is an issue that has received little attention in the existing IRAP literature. Furthermore, self-reports of attitudes toward females and males were also administered, allowing for an examination of the convergent validity of the IRAP with other sources of information regarding gender-role attitudes. The data suggest promising results for both the reliability and validity of an IRAP configured to assess stereotypical attitudes regarding gender.



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