Academic journal article The Psychological Record

Assessing and Training Young Children in Same and Different Relations Using the Relational Evaluation Procedure (REP)

Academic journal article The Psychological Record

Assessing and Training Young Children in Same and Different Relations Using the Relational Evaluation Procedure (REP)

Article excerpt

Many species can be trained to show nonarbitrary relational responding, which is based on physical characteristics of the stimuli related; for example, picking something physically bigger or smaller than a sample stimulus. However, according to relational frame theory (RFT; Hayes, Barnes-Holmes & Roche, 2001), language-able humans in addition show derived or arbitrarily applicable relational responding (AKA relational framing), which is based on aspects of the context ('contextual cues') that specify the relation independent of the physical characteristics of the stimuli. For example, if told that 'X is bigger than Y\ I can derive that' Y is smaller than X', without having to rely on properties of X and Y themselves but guided instead solely by the cue specifying the relationship (i.e., 'bigger').

RFT argues that we learn to engage in both nonarbitrary and arbitrarily applicable relational responding as a result of exposure to contingencies of reinforcement operating in the human verbal community. For example, in the case of nonarbitrary comparative relations, contingencies provided by the community will favor picking the physically larger stimulus if told to choose the bigger one of two and the physically smaller stimulus if told to choose the smaller one. Nonarbitrary relational responding in turn provides an important foundation for the emergence of arbitrarily applicable relational responding. After multiple exemplars of feedback for engaging in nonarbitrary comparative relational responding, for instance, eventually comparative relational responding might be emitted in contexts in which physical properties are no longer present or relevant and only contextual cues are available as antecedent guides for the response, such as in the 'X bigger than Y' example given above.

Comparative relations are only one variety of relation. Multiple other types have been demonstrated also, at both nonarbitrary and arbitrarily applicable levels, including same (e.g., '1 + 1=2'), different (e.g., 'Apples are different from oranges'), opposite (e.g., 'Day is opposite to night'), spatial (e.g., 'The TV is on the table'), temporal (e.g., 'Spring is before summer'). hierarchical (e.g., 'Potatoes are a type of vegetable'), etc. (Barnes-Holmes, Barnes-Holmes, Smeets, Strand & Friman, 2004; Dymond & Barnes, 1995; Dymond, Ng, & Whelan, 2013; Luciano, Gomez, & Rodriguez, 2007; May, Stewart, Baez, Freegard, & Dymond, under submission; O'Hora, Barnes-Holmes, & Stewart, 2014; O'Hora, Roche, Barnes-Holmes, & Smeets, 2002; Slattery & Stewart, 2014; Steele & Hayes, 1991). In addition, at the arbitrarily applicable level, all forms involve derivation-based properties including mutual entailment (e.g., if A is related to B, then B is related to A; for example, if A > B then B < A), combinatorial entailment (e.g., if A is related to B and B is related to C, then A is related to C and vice versa; for example, if A > B and B > C, then A > C and C < A) and transformation of function (i.e., if A has a function and is related to B, then the functions of B may be transformed based on the type of relation and type of function; for example, if A has approach functions and is opposite to B, then B may acquire avoidance functions).

From the RFT point of view, the variety and generativity of arbitrarily applicable relational responding are what underlie or facilitate the full complexity of human language and cognition (see Stewart, 2016 for a brief overview of evidence for this contention). For example, one recent series of studies, involving both typically developing children and children with developmental delay, has demonstrated correlations between performance on a protocol centered on arbitrarily applicable equivalance (sameness) relational responding and on standardised measures of language and cognition (e.g., Moran, Stewart, McElwee, & Ming, 2010; Moran, Stewart, McElwee, and Ming, 2014). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.