Derived avoidance learning: Transformation of avoidance response functions in accordance with same and opposite relational frame

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APA Citation: 

Dymond, S., Roche, B., Forsyth, J. P., Whelan, R., & Rhoden, J. (2008). Derived avoidance learning: Transformation of avoidance response functions in accordance with same and opposite relational frames. The Psychological Record, 58, 269-286.

Publication Topic: 
RFT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

Two experiments were designed to replicate and extend previous findings on the transformation of avoidance response functions in accordance with the relational frames of same and opposite. Participants were first exposed to non-arbitrary and arbitrary relational responding and testing. Next, during avoidance conditioning, one stimulus from the relational network signaled a simple avoidance response that cancelled a scheduled presentation of an aversive image and sound. The majority of participants who met the criteria for conditioned avoidance also demonstrated derived avoidance. Experiment I showed that detailed instructions were not necessary for derived transformation to occur. Experiment 2 showed that more complex patterns of transformation may emerge when another stimulus from the relational network signaled the avoidance response. Implications for understanding clinically significant avoidance behavior are discussed.

Comments: 
This interesting study demonstrated that participants will demonstrate avoidance based on the stimulus relations of “same” and “opposite.” Control participants provided evidence that the transformation was a direct product of a relational learning history. Although equivalence may account for the finding, the explanation is circuitous.
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