Investigating Relational Framing of Categorization in Young Children

Abstract

The aims of the current study were to measure patterns of relational framing linked with categorization in young, typically developing children and to correlate framing performance with linguistic and cognitive potential as measured by standardized instruments, including the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Fourth Edition (PPVT–4), the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales—Fifth Edition (SB5), and the Children’s Category Test (CCT). The relational protocol developed for this study assessed properties of relational framing in 3 relational domains, including nonarbitrary and arbitrary containment relations and arbitrary hierarchical relations. There were 50 participants, 10 from each of the following age ranges: 3–4, 4–5, 5–6, 6–7, and 7–8. The results provided data concerning the acquisition of relational categorization skills across childhood and also showed strong correlations between relational performance and that on each of the 3 standardized measures. The results are discussed in relation to previous research and for their implications in regard to future studies on relational framing and categorization in children.


Sun, 17 Sep 2017, 5:00 pm


Effects of a Reinforcement Schedule Controlling Energy of Pigeons’ Pecking Response

Abstract

Operant behavior involves many physical dimensions, including time, force, location, and distance. Energy is an important dimension in foraging behavior or motor response. Kono (Learning & Behavior, 41, 425–432, 2013) developed a schedule in which the controlling variable was the energy of responses, calculated by dividing the squared value of the distance between two consecutive responses by the squared value of the interresponse time, or the elapsed time between the two responses. This energy schedule demonstrated the possibility of differential reinforcement of the energy of responses, but the effect was relatively weak. Kono (Learning & Behavior, 41, 425–432, 2013) proposed that this weak effect could have been caused by two features of the adjusting procedure: the use of two or more schedules and variation in the reinforced energy of responses across trials depending on the subjects’ previous choice. The present study employed a single energy schedule whose requirement was fixed throughout the session. The results showed that the energy of responses increased as the requirement of the energy schedule increased. In addition, the degree of increase was greater for distance of responses than for time of responses. These results suggest that the energy schedule is a suitable method for controlling the energy of behavior, and the distance of responses has a greater effect than time.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Omission Training Results in More Resurgence than Alternative Reinforcement

Abstract

Resurgence refers to the reemergence of a previously reinforced response following the extinction of a more recently reinforced response. In a published study, resurgence occurred to a lesser extent following differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) than differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) with pigeons, but this effect has not been replicated with humans. We conducted a within-subject comparison of resurgence following DRA and DRO, using a human-operant preparation. Six college students earned points by clicking a mouse button across two-component multiple schedules. During both baseline components, points were delivered for the first click to a black circle after 2 s. Responding on the black circle decreased during the second phase, using a DRA in one component and a DRO in the other component. We tested for resurgence by terminating point deliveries (extinction) during both components in the third phase. For three of the participants, more resurgence occurred in the component previously associated with DRO than the component previously associated with DRA. The other three participants showed more resurgence in the first component experienced during extinction, regardless of whether that component was associated with DRA or DRO. However, resurgence was exacerbated when the first component during extinction was DRO rather than DRA. Although sequence influenced resurgence, DRA may be preferable to DRO as an intervention when resurgence is a concern.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Parallels and Incongruities between Musical and Verbal Behaviors

Abstract

The study of music in behavior analytic accounts constitutes a poorly addressed area of application due to conceptual incongruities in the field and a general lack of common ground between the disciplines of music and behavior analysis. This paper will examine the suitability of Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior in describing various musical behaviors and propose clarifications of verbal behavior constructs to account for the conceptual similarities and differences between musical and verbal behaviors. The musical concepts of mimicry, relative pitch, and absolute pitch are also discussed from the perspective of a verbal behavior analysis. These are presented as examples of how presumably innate musical abilities remain subject to operant principles of behavior modification and how certain conventions of music may suggest novel functional relations that could expand the existing categorization of operants.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Responding and Learning by Exclusion in 2-Year-Olds: The Case of Adjectives

Abstract

Responding by exclusion, usually investigated using a baseline of auditory-visual conditional discriminations for which auditory samples are names, is a robust phenomenon; however, it lacks generality to other lexical word classes. This study had two purposes: (1) to assess the generality of learning by exclusion to word–object property relations, and (2) to evaluate the effect of additive exclusion trials on learning outcomes. Children (aged 24 to 29 months) were taught auditory-visual baselines for three object name–object relations (Noun condition) and/or three adjective (emotion) names–facial expressions relations (Adjective condition). Each baseline and its associated tests were presented sequentially; the order was counterbalanced across participants. After baseline performance met criterion, exclusion, control, and learning outcome trials in extinction were intermixed with reinforced baseline trials, and followed by additive reinforced exclusion trials and learning outcome tests. More trials to criterion were required to establish the Adjective baseline, but the exclusion and learning outcome results of both conditions were comparable, suggesting that responding and learning by exclusion have generality across stimulus (lexical) types. Additive exclusion trials increased learning outcomes, especially for one type of learning probe. The necessary and sufficient tests to determine learning outcomes of exclusion responding still deserve discussion and investigation.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Effects of Cultural Consequences on the Interlocking Behavioral Contingencies of Ethical Self-Control

Abstract

A particular type of self-control occurs when the conflict between immediate and delayed consequences is associated with consequences that are more favorable to either the individual or the group. In such cases, responding under the control of delayed consequences more favorable to the group can be considered an instance of ethical self-control. The literature shows that the selection of self-control and ethical self-control depends on contingencies arranged by group members, indicating that these phenomena are cultural products. This study proposes a procedure to investigate the selection, maintenance, and transmission of ethical self-control in an arrangement similar to a metacontingency. Two microcultures were exposed to a task in which each participant had to choose a row in a colored 10 × 10 matrix. There were individual contingencies in all conditions: choosing odd-numbered rows produced 3 tokens that could be exchanged for money, and choosing even-numbered rows produced only 1 token. In some conditions, there were also cultural contingencies that enabled the production of school items to be subsequently donated to public schools. This study aimed at assessing whether the interlocking behavioral contingencies (IBCs) associated with aggregate products could be selected by cultural consequences of a different nature from individual consequences in situations in which the production of cultural consequences competed with the production of individual consequences of a greater magnitude. The production of school items was contingent on the occurrence of IBCs + Aggregate Products (AP) that involved choosing 3 even rows of different colors. The results showed that cultural consequences had an effect on the selection of IBCs + AP that involved ethical self-controlled responses. The procedure here presented showed promising to study the phenomena of ethical self-control.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Differential Effects of Word-Repetition Rate on Cognitive Defusion of Believability and Discomfort of Negative Self-Referential Thoughts Postintervention and at One-Month Follow-Up

Abstract

Objective: The word repetition technique is used in acceptance and commitment therapy as a method of facilitating cognitive defusion from distressing thoughts. The present study conducted a randomised trial to manipulate the rate of word repetition and evaluate its impact on the efficacy of cognitive defusion. Method: Thirty-two participants repeated a self-chosen negative self-evaluative word for 30 seconds at the rates of one word per 0.5-, 1-, or 2-seconds. Visual analogue scales were used to measure the associated levels of believability and discomfort at pre- and immediately postrepetition, and 1 month later. Results: Both believability and discomfort were significantly reduced immediately after word repetition in the 0.5-seconds and 1-second conditions. There was a significantly greater reduction in Discomfort in the 1-second condition in comparison to the 2-second condition. The 1-second condition alone maintained significant reductions in both believability and discomfort at 1-month follow up. Conclusion: Differences in the cognitive defusion of distressing thoughts appear to be influenced by word repetition rate with repetition rates of one word per 0.5 and 1 seconds somewhat more effective for treating distressing private experiences associated with problem words.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


The Simple Memory Span Experiment: A Behavioral Analysis

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to present a behavioral theory of performance in the simple (classic) memory span experiment. This experiment has been used to investigate hypothetical mental and neurological processes and intelligent function, but behavioral span theory takes the standpoint of event-based constructs. Established empirical limits on memory span are described in terms of span ability, namely, the ability to function under span load. Span load is a count of the number of discriminative stimuli that function concurrently to occasion responding. Span ability is assessed via standard memory span procedures. The theory distinguishes response string from response chain on the basis of the locus of stimulus control; the response string is controlled by the multiple stimuli in a stimulus string or stimulus complex. Response chains are emitted intraverbals. There is no known limit to the length of a chain that can be attained through extensive experiential history, but the memory span experiment assesses the length of response strings that are severely limited at around 7 items (the span limit) and are quite resistant to change. Span limits increase during the developmental period and covary with intelligent function. The values of span ability and span load are potent tools for the prediction and control of developmental and individual differences in diverse experimental paradigms drawn from both behavior analytic and general experimental traditions.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Effects of reward magnitude, alcohol and cigarette use on social discounting in Japan and United States college students

Abstract

Social discounting occurs when participants share more of a reward with individuals with whom they are close to, relative to those more distant individuals. Previous social discounting studies have shown consistent effects of drug use and reward magnitude on sharing. However, previous cross-cultural social discounting studies have not incorporated reward magnitude or drug use as factors that may influence discounting. The current experiment randomized 569 American and Japanese university students into either a standard ($150; ¥15,500) or large ($1,500; ¥155,000) magnitude condition where participants made choices about allocating hypothetical rewards to individuals at varying social distances. Participants also self-reported cigarette and alcohol use. There was no social discounting difference between American and Japanese participants at the standard reward magnitude. However, American participants shared more than Japanese participants at the large reward magnitude, replicating a previous study. Only Japanese participants showed a magnitude effect. Including age, gender, or cigarette and alcohol use as covariates did not change the main findings. However, similar to previous social discounting studies, cigarette use was a significant predictor for social discounting. Cross-cultural social discounting differences between American and Japanese participants were accounted for by reward magnitude.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


A Comparison of Mazur’s k and Area Under the Curve for Describing Steep Discounters

Abstract

Delay discounting describes how a reward loses value as a function of increasing delay to its receipt and has been reliably associated with a variety of vulnerable populations including those with substance use disorders (SUDs). Two commonly used models to assess delay discounting in the field of SUDs include log k derived from Mazur’s hyperbolic equation and area under the curve (AUC). In the current study, we compared log k with AUC on delay discounting data obtained from non-treatment seeking, cocaine- and methamphetamine-dependent volunteers. We specifically chose this population in order to obtain a distribution of relatively steep discounters. The results show that the relationship between AUC and log k is better described by a quadratic rather than a linear function. In other words, changes in discounting, as measured by AUC and log k, are reflected differently across a range of obtained responses. Additionally, the distribution of AUC values was skewed, which appears to be more likely among populations exhibiting greater discounting. Finally, closer examination of indifference points revealed that AUC was almost perfectly predicted by the area from the two longest delays, with relatively less input from shorter delays. Given these results, researchers should exercise additional caution when deciding which method to use to assess discounting data and how final results are to be interpreted, particularly when dealing with relatively high rates of discounting. High rates of discounting are likely in populations with impulsive disorders such as those with SUDs.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Exploring Racial Bias in a European Country with a Recent History of Immigration of Black Africans

Abstract

The present study examined levels of racial bias among black and white individuals residing in Ireland using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) and a range of questionnaire measures. The IRAP required participants to respond quickly and accurately on a computer-based task. On some blocks of trials participants were required to respond in a pro-white and anti-black manner, whereas on other blocks responding in the opposite direction was required (anti-white/pro-black). The difference in response latencies between these two types of trials provided an index of racial bias. Performance on the IRAP (i) revealed in-group/out-group bias for the white but not the black participants; (ii) substantively increased the predictive validity of a range of questionnaire-based measures; and (iii) provided the best prediction of racial group. The results support the utility of the IRAP as a measure of racial bias, and indicate that this bias differed between black and white Irish residents.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Spider Fear and Avoidance: A Preliminary Study of the Impact of Two Verbal Rehearsal Tasks on a Behavior–Behavior Relation and Its Implications for an Experimental Analysis of Defusion

Abstract

The current study examined the impact of a brief verbal rehearsal task on performance on two Implicit Relational Assessment Procedures (IRAPs), actual approach behavior towards a live spider (a behavioral approach task; BAT), and the relationship between the IRAPs and the BAT. Participants first completed the Fear of Spiders Questionnaire (FSQ) followed by one of two verbal rehearsal tasks, one of which focused on fear acceptance and the other on fear reduction as ways of coping with fear. All participants then completed two IRAPs similar to those employed by Leech, Barnes-Holmes, and Madden (The Psychological Record, 66(3), doi:10.1007/s40732-016-0176-1, 2016). Finally, participants completed the BAT using a live common house spider. Broadly similar findings were obtained for performance on the IRAPs as were reported by Leech et al. No significant differences between the two verbal-rehearsal conditions emerged on the self-report measures, the IRAPs, or the BAT. However, correlations between performances on the IRAPs and the BAT were concentrated in the reduce-fear condition. When considered in the context of the results previously reported by Leech et al., the differential pattern of correlations observed in the current study suggest that the verbal rehearsal task impacted upon a behavior–behavior relation that may be directly relevant to the concept of defusion in the acceptance and commitment therapy literature.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Effects of Meaningful Stimuli Contained in Different Numbers of Classes on Equivalence Class Formation

Abstract

Previous experiments have investigated the function of using pictures or meaningful stimuli on equivalence class formation. For example, when attempting to form three 5-member classes (A→B→C→D→E), findings have shown that pictures used as C stimuli have increased the probability of producing equivalence class formation relative to when all stimuli in the stimulus set are abstract. The present experiment extends the literature by examining whether the formation of equivalence classes varies as a function of having three (C1, C2, and C3), two (C1 and C2), or one (C1) stimulus as a picture in a set of abstract stimuli. Hence, 60 participants were randomly assigned to 4 different experimental groups: 0-picture group or abstract group (ABS), 1-picture group (1PIC), 2-pictures group (2PIC), and 3-pictures group (3PIC). In addition, we had a reference group with abstract shapes only. The findings from the present experiment showed that 2 of 15 participants in the ABS formed classes. Also, two of 15 participants in the 1PIC formed classes, 8 of 15 participants in the 2PIC formed equivalence classes, and 12 of 15 members in the 3PIC formed classes. The statistical analysis supported the notion that equivalence class formation is a function of the number of pictures in a potential equivalence class.


Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Combining the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure and the Recording of Event Related Potentials in the Analysis of Racial Bias: a Preliminary Study

Abstract

The current study examined racial bias among White individuals residing in Ireland using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). In addition, neural activity, measured with electroencephalograms (EEGs), was recorded while participants completed the IRAP. On some blocks of trials, participants were required to respond quickly and accurately in a pro-White and anti-Black manner, whereas on other blocks they were required to respond in the opposite manner (anti-White or pro-Black). The difference in response latencies between these two types of trials provided an index of racial bias, and event-related potentials (ERPs), derived from the EEG signals, provided a simultaneous measure of brain activity during these responses. Results revealed anti-Black and pro-White biased responding on the IRAP in terms of differential response latencies. In addition, greater positivity in the ERP signals located in the frontal sites was recorded when participants responded in a pro-Black or anti-White pattern relative to a pro-White or anti-Black pattern. These results are broadly consistent with those of previous literature in the area and suggest that the IRAP is a potentially useful methodology for research in the field of affective neuroscience.


Mon, 28 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Using the Implicit Association Test and Choice to Measure the Within-Trial Contrast Effect in Human Adults

Abstract

When humans and nonhuman animals work hard to achieve a goal, they generally appreciate the results more than when the goal requires little effort to be achieved. The within-trial contrast (WTC) hypothesis explains this phenomenon in terms of the contrast between individuals’ relative hedonic states. We examined the validity of the WTC hypothesis by incorporating an implicit association test (IAT) as a measure of implicit preference in procedures similar to those of Tsukamoto, Kohara, and Takeuchi (Learning & Behavior, 45, 135–146, 2017), who reported emergence of the WTC effect in humans. As a procedural consideration, we also changed the following event to the presentation of a single stimulus instead of a simultaneous discrimination task. We manipulated the effort involved and difficulty of a preceding task by varying the interresponse time (IRT) in differential reinforcement with a low response rate schedule that involved a limited hold. Influences of training were tested in two measures: the choice test and the IAT. Results revealed that in the choice test participants showed significant preference for stimuli that followed the effortful task, which involved a longer IRT even though the effect size was smaller than in the previous study. However, in the IAT, we could not observe the association that the WTC hypothesis presumed. Inconsistency between the choice test and the IAT suggests that preference arising from the WTC paradigm might be caused by a factor other than a change in hedonic state, leaving the question of whether we succeeded in selecting an appropriate measure.


Mon, 28 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm


Implicit and Explicit Attitudes Toward Mainstream and BDSM Sexual Practices and Their Relation to Interviewer Behavior: an Analogue Study

Abstract

The present study examined participants’ implicit and explicit attitudes toward mainstream and BDSM (bondage and discipline/dominance and submission/sadism and masochism) sexual terms using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) and several questionnaires and investigated the relationship between scores on these measures and participant behavior toward a BDSM-labeled and a non-BDSM-labeled confederate during an interviewing task. Twenty-one participants, who were either graduate psychology students or practicing clinicians, completed the study. Results were consistent with previous research (Stockwell, Walker, & Eshleman, The Psychological Record, 60(2), 307–324, 2010) in that responses on both the IRAP and Visual Analogue Scales showed an acceptance of mainstream sexual terms and unfavorable responding to BDSM terms; in contrast, Likert-scale questionnaire responses generally reflected favorable attitudes toward people who practice BDSM. IRAP scores were positively correlated with differences in smiling across the two interview conditions; that is, participants with anti-BDSM responding on the IRAP smiled significantly less while interviewing the BDSM-labeled confederate than when they interviewed the non-BDSM confederate. No other differences in interviewing behavior were observed or correlated with IRAP responding, suggesting that implicit attitudes may not be a reliable predictor of participant behavior during interviews of individuals labeled as practicing BDSM.


Sun, 27 Aug 2017, 5:00 pm



Effects of Immediate Tests on the Long-Term Maintenance of Stimulus Equivalence Classes

Abstract

It has been suggested that stimulus equivalence is a central component of language and symbolic behavior. When teaching symbolic behavior, the goal is often to achieve a more or less permanent alteration of an individual’s behavioral repertoire. As such, it seems important to assess not only variables affecting the establishment of stimulus equivalence but also variables affecting continued stimulus control exerted by stimulus equivalence class members over time. The current study investigated the role of the test for stimulus equivalence on the long-term maintenance of stimulus equivalence classes. Using one-to-many conditional discrimination training, 24 adult participants were taught to respond in line with three five-member stimulus classes. One group of 12 participants immediately completed a test for stimulus equivalence, and 12 other participants did not receive such a test. All 24 participants were subsequently tested for trained and derived relations under extinction conditions 2 and 4 weeks later without any further exposure to the contingencies of the conditional discrimination training. Results showed no differences between the two groups, with four participants in each group responding in accordance with both trained conditional discriminations and stimulus equivalence in the 4-week test. Six additional participants did, however, display systematic conditional performance during retention tests only partly consistent with the experimenter-defined classes.


Mon, 26 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm


A Behavioral and Biological Analysis of Aesthetics: Implications for Research and Applications

Abstract

Seeking to identify the common and distinguishing attributes of effects one might call “aesthetic,” I examined hundreds of examples in music, visual arts, poetry, literature, humor, performance arts, architecture, science, mathematics, games, and other disciplines. I observed that all involve quasi-emotional reactions to stimuli that are composites of multiple elements that ordinarily do not occur together and whose interaction, when appropriately potentiated, is transformative—different in kind from the effects of the separate constituent elements. Such effects, termed synergetic, can evoke surprise-tinged emotional responses. Aesthetic reactions, unlike many other kinds of emotional reactions, are never evoked by biologically urgent action-demanding events, such as threats or opportunities. The examined effects were created by various concept manipulation devices: class expansion, identification of new relations, repetition, symmetry, parsimony, and emotional displays for the audience to mirror (I identified a total of 16 such devices). The effects would occur only for individuals with the necessary priming, in circumstances that include effective potentiating factors. Synergetic stimuli that evoke aesthetic responses tend to be reinforcing, via mechanisms related to their biological utility during our evolution. I offer a theory as to how aesthetics may have evolved from its primordial pre-aesthetic roots, with examples of how consideration of those roots often explains aesthetic and related effects. The article suggests that aesthetic phenomena are a special case of a more pervasive aspect of behavior and proposes research approaches involving laboratory models and fMRI technology.


Sun, 18 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm


Response Biases on the IRAP for Adults and Adolescents with Respect to Smokers and Nonsmokers: The Impact of Parental Smoking Status

Abstract

The current research aimed to examine the implicit biases of smokers and nonsmokers to others who did or did not smoke. Study 1 presented adult smokers and nonsmokers with an Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) that assessed bias toward or against smokers and nonsmokers. Study 2 replicated this with adolescent smokers and nonsmokers. Both studies also presented self-report measures. Both adult and adolescent smokers produced IRAP effects that indicated prosmoker biases; nonsmokers’ biases were relatively neutral. Trends in the data from Studies 1 and 2 led to a post hoc analysis of the nonsmoker data to investigate the potential impact of parental smoking status on nonsmokers’ biases. Both the IRAP and self-report measures data suggested that parental smoking status increased positivity in attitudes toward smokers among nonsmokers. Hierarchical logistic regression analyses indicated that the IRAP data in Study 1, but not Study 2, predicted smoking status above and beyond the self-report measures. The post hoc analyses showed a similar trend. The consistency of the findings with the only existing IRAP study of attitudes toward smokers, as well as with the broader literature, supports the view that response biases toward smokers may not change fundamentally from adolescence to adulthood, and that parental smoking status may having a moderating influence on these biases.


Thu, 8 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm