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.


46th Annual Convention; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #235
Utilizing the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedurein Designing Interventions Related to Motivation and Cooperation in Organizations
Sunday, May 24, 2020
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Area: CSS/OBM; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Marianne L. Jackson (California State University, Fresno)

The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is a behavioral assessment tool introduced into the literature by Barnes-Holmes, et al. in 2006. It is a computer task that taps into a learner’s relational responding history by pitting established verbal relations against those that are deemed inconsistent with that history of responding. Of significant interest to behavior scientists is validation of the IRAP’s effectiveness in identifying institutional stimuli which may be incorporated into applied behavioral technology interventions in organizations. This symposium will provide an overview of recent research exploring the utility of the IRAP in identifying institutional stimuli for use in designing organizational interventions.


Examining the Additive Effects of Individually-Assessed Verbal Stimuli on Cooperative Responding in an Analog Work Task

KENNETH BURLEIGH (University of Nevada, Reno)

Language plays a formative role in how cultural practices are established and maintained. Furthermore, the effect of language on workforce responding originates in a statements’ shared stimulus function(s). For organizational messages to be effective, they must correspond to a shared response from a group. One product of language that may reflect a shared stimulus function is the motivative augmental -verbal stimuli which momentarily increase the effectiveness of an established reinforcer or punisher. To isolate and analyze the concept of the motivative augmental, we have assessed the additive effect of systematically selected verbal stimuli on cooperative responding in the context of different pay contingencies. The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) was used to individually-assess the top four cooperative stimuli selected via a survey of 355 students. These 4 stimuli were then introduced into an analog work task. The relationship between the IRAP measures and cooperative responding in response to the cooperative stimuli versus neutral stimuli will be discussed, as well as Tobii eye-tracking data analysis. Results suggest differential cooperative responding to IRAP selected motivational statements in the analog work task across both neutral and competing pay contingencies Eye tracking data suggests a correlation between eye gaze, fixation count, and cooperative responding across both pay contingencies.

That’s Funny!: An Examination of the Effects of Humorous Stimuli on Cooperative Responding
CHELSEA J. WILHITE (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The benefits of the humor─producing it (telling jokes, creating satire) and responding to it (smiling, laughing)─are numerous and well documented at many levels, including physical, psychological, social, and societal. Much of human communication involves humorous stimuli, including rules, or communication specifying contingencies. Statements functioning as motivative augmentals temporarily change values of reinforcers and associated behaviors. We created 29 humorous stimuli encouraging cooperative behaviors. In Study 1, undergraduate students experienced stimuli in one of three modalities─audio-only, text-only, audio-plus-text─and rated them on how funny and how likely to prompt cooperation they were using four-point Likert scales. The top stimuli of the highest-scoring modality (audio-plus-text) were used in Study 2. Study 2 participants took the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP)─allowing us to identify pre-existing derived relations among verbal stimuli─then contacted the selected humorous stimuli before engaging in analogue medical data entry tasks. We assessed what effect exposure to humorous stimuli had on task behaviors, including an evaluation of potential augmental effects in relation to IRAP results. Results suggest humor may acquire augmental function , given certain participant histories.



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