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Instructing via relations: Function transformations of response and consequence functions of upcoming contingencies (Pages 203-209)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)
Volume 30, October 2023, Pages 203-209


Martin Finn, Matthias Paemaekers, Jan De Houwer


One part of the relational frame theory account of rule-governed behavior is relational responses between elements of a rule and the behavioral and consequential components of the upcoming contingency. This study reports two experiments that used a novel task designed to exert contextual control over relational responses involving components of upcoming reinforcement contingencies. The task presents participants with a series of choices between bubble-clicking tasks. Each trial begins by illustrating the number of bubbles to be clicked and points that may be earned for completing a source task, and presents Crel and Cfunc stimuli to indicate how the task options differ from this task in terms of the number of bubbles to be clicked and the amount of points that may be earned. Experiment 1 exposed participants to a version of the task employing natural language Crels and Cfuncs, and task performances were in line with experimenter expectations. Experiment 2 employed the task to establish Crel and Cfunc functions for novel stimuli, and investigated the impact of post-choice feedback on the development of these functions. Results indicated that the task can establish Crel and Cfunc functions for novel stimuli effectively and provides a means for investigating transformations of functions involving components of contingencies.

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