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Relational Frame Theory and Executive Function: A Behavioral Approach

APA Citation

Hayes, S. C., Gifford, E. V., & Ruckstuhl Jr., L. E. (1996). Relational frame theory and executive function: a behavioral approach. In G. R. Lyon & N. A. Krasnegor (Eds.), Attention, Memory, and Executive Function (pp. 297-305). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing Co.


Publication Topic
Behavior Analysis: Conceptual
Publication Type

For a behavior analyst to write about executive function is difficult for two reasons. First, executive function is not a technical category within behavioral psychology. There is virtually no behavioral literature on executive function per se, although Barkley (Chapter 17) and others have drawn from that literature in their technical accounts of the area. Second, it is not at all clear what domain is covered by the term. Our strategy in this chapter is first to examine the kinds of phenomena researchers from other traditions are terming executive function. We then consider what seem to be relevant literatures within basic behavior analysis and lay out a theoretical account that seems to cover these findings. Finally, we apply these analyses to executive function.