Academic journal article The Psychological Record

Exploring the Single-Trial-Type-Dominance-Effect in the IRAP: Developing a Differential Arbitrarily Applicable Relational Responding Effects (DAARRE) Model

Academic journal article The Psychological Record

Exploring the Single-Trial-Type-Dominance-Effect in the IRAP: Developing a Differential Arbitrarily Applicable Relational Responding Effects (DAARRE) Model

Article excerpt

The study of derived stimulus relations has been used by many behavior analysts as a conceptual basis for analyzing behaviors that appear to be closely related to human language and cognition. Perhaps the clearest and most self-conscious example of this approach is provided by relational frame theory (RFT; Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2001). Drawing on the seminal work of Sidman (1971; see Sidman, 1994, for a book-length treatment) on equivalence relations, RFT argues that the functional units of human language and cognition involve a wide range of generalized relational operants, known as relational frames, each possessing three core properties. The first property is mutual entailment and involves a bidirectional relation between two stimuli, such that if A is related to B, then B is related to A. The second property is combinatorial entailment and involves three or more stimuli, such that if A is related to B and B is related to C, then A is related to C and C is related to A. The third property is the transformation of functions, which recognizes that any mutual or combinatorial entailment will involve specific behavioral functions. Thus, if A is related to B and B acquires a mildly appetitive function, the function of A may be transformed based on the type of relation between A and B. For example, if you are told that "A is better than B," then the appetitive function acquired by A may be larger than the appetitive function that was initially acquired by B.

According to RFT, relational frames are always under two types of contextual control. One type of contextual control is denoted as Crel, which refers to any contextual cues that determine the specific mutual and combinatorial entailed relations. In natural language, these may be words or phrases such as bigger than, smaller than, same, opposite, different, and so on. The other type of contextual control is Cfunc, which refers to any contextual cues that select the behavioral functions that are transformed in accordance with an entailed relation. For example, if two stimuli (A and B) are entailed in a "same" relation, then a Cfunc determines the specific behavioral function that "expresses" the entailed relation. If A is an actual chocolate brownie and B is the phrase chocolate brownie, then different Cfuncs will evoke different responses, although the entailed relation remains the same. For example, the Cfunc "tastes like" and the Cfunc "looks like" will evoke the gustatory and visual properties of chocolate brownies, respectively.

According to RFT, many of the functions of stimuli that we encounter in the natural environment may appear to be relatively basic or simple but have acquired those properties due, at least in part, to a history of relational framing. Even a simple tendency to orient more strongly toward one stimulus rather than another in your visual field may be based on relational framing. Identifying the name of your hometown or city from a random list of place names may occur more quickly or strongly because it coordinates with other stimuli that control strong orienting functions (e.g., the many highly familiar stimuli that constitute your hometown). Such functions may be defined as Cfunc properties because they are examples of specific stimulus functions (i.e., orienting) that are acquired based on--but are separate from--the entailed relations among the relevant stimuli. The reader should note that the use of the term orienting (as an example of a Cfunc property) is one that we will use frequently later in this article.

Since the publication of the Hayes et al. (2001) volume on RFT, a large number of studies have explored and tested the basic account (see Dymond & Roche, 2013; Hughes & Barnes-Holmes, 2016a, b, for recent reviews), and the evidence thus far has been largely supportive. In more recent years, some researchers have shifted their attention from testing the basic RFT model to analyzing the relative strength of relational responding as defined by RFT (see Barnes-Holmes, Finn, McEnteggart, & Barnes-Holmes, 2017). …

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