Barnes-Holmes & O'Hora, 2004

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APA Citation: 

Barnes-Holmes, D., & O'Hora, D. (2004). Instructional Control: Developing a Relational Frame Analysis. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 4, 263-284.

Publication Topic: 
RFT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
Instruction, rule governed behavior, contingency specifying stimuli, derived stimulus relations, Relational Frame Theory, relational network, Relational Evaluation Procedure, RFT

The aim of this article is to provide a functional analytic approach to the experimenal analysis of instructional control and to the 'specifying' properties of instructions. The primary theoretical attempts to provide a technical definition of instructions or rule are first outlined, and it is argued that these attempts have not provided clear functional analytic criteria on which to establish a technical definition of an instruction. The empirical work that has been conducted on instructional control is then considered and the lack of an agreed technical definition of an 'instruction,' and especially the ill-defined nature of the term'specify,'are considered. Finally. current theoretical and empirical work on Relational Fmme Theory is used to construct a technical definition of 'specify' on which to base a functional-analytic pproach to instructions and instructional control.

Authors describe shortcomings in previous definitions of instructional control (a.k.a rule governed behavior). They explain the difficulties in interpreting empirical results because of these shortcomings and suggest an alternative definition under the framework of Relational Frame Theory. RFT fulfills what the other definitions have failed by providing an explanation of the history that leads to behavior controlled by instructions.
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