Relational Frame Theory (RFT) views derived relational responding as an overarching operant class of behavior. One approach to the analysis of derived relations from the RFT perspective, therefore, would be to examine systematically the effects of differential consequences on derived responding. In Experiment 1, 15 undergraduate subjects were divided into three conditions (5 subjects in each condition). In each condition subjects were exposed to 11 sessions, and in each session they were trained and tested for the formation of combinatorially entailed relations. In Condition 1, no differential consequences were delivered after any session. In Condition 2, response-independent, positive feedback was delivered after each of the first five sessions (i.e., the experimenter said to the subject "You are doing very well") and response-independent, negative feedback was delivered after Sessions 6 to 10 (i.e., the experimenter said to the subject "You are doing badly"). Condition 3 was similar to Condition 2, except that the first five sessions were followed by negative feedback and the remaining sessions were followed by positive feedback. The results showed that (a) delivering positive feedback before negative feedback attenuated relational responding relative to the negative before positive feedback condition, and (b) delivering differential feedback produced more frequent relational responding relative to the no-feedback condition. Experiment 2 replicated Conditions 2 and 3 of Experiment 1, except that the positive and negative feedback was replaced by accurate and inaccurate feedback, respectively. During accurate feedback, subjects were told "You're doing well" if responding was above 50% correct and were told "You're doing badly" if responding was less than 50% correct. This was reversed for inaccurate feedback. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 2 except that the feedback was delivered automatically via the computer. Experiment 4 involved a control whereby the test phase was unrelated to baseline training. The feedback delivered remained identical to that of the previous experiment. Experiment 5 replicated Experiment 3, but the feedback was precise in that, following the test phase, subjects received a point for every correct response made. The results showed that, in general, derived relational responding was highly sensitive to the response-contingent feedback and this responding was more frequent when precise feedback was used. Overall, the data are consistent with the suggestion that derived relational responding may be viewed as generalized operant behavior.
Healy, Olive; Barnes, Dermot; and Smeets, Paul M.
"Derived Relational Responding as an Operant: The Effects of Between-Session Feedback,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 48
, Article 10.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol48/iss3/10