Environmental regularities as a concept for carving up the realm of learning research: Implications for Relational Frame Theory

Jan De Houwer & Sean Hughes

Learning can be defined functionally as the impact of regularities in the environment on behavior. The concept of environmental regularities is a crucial part of this definition because it (a) improves the scope and depth of the definition and (b) provides ways to differentiate between different types of learning. We argue that this concept is useful also for conceptualizing learning from the perspective of Relational Frame Theory. More specifically, even if all instances of learning qualify as instances of arbitrarily applicable relational responding, different types of learning could still be functionally different because they involve different types of proximal regularities.

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