Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Drake, Chad


The current study tested the effects of a cognitive defusion intervention on implicit attitudes toward milk and lemon as measured by the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). One-hundred and eleven participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: control math, control defusion, half defusion, or full defusion. Participants filled out a series of self-report measures at the beginning of the study on psychological functioning, as well as attitudes toward milk and lemon. Participants then completed a task specific to their condition, with control math participants completing a simple math task while defusion conditions completed a defusion intervention – word repetition technique (WRT) – for certain words. The control defusion condition completed the WRT for the words “car” and “rabbit,” the half defusion condition completed the WRT for the word “milk,” and the full defusion condition completed the WRT for the words “milk” and “lemon.” After completing the condition specific tasks, all participants completed a milk/lemon IRAP that included the words “milk” and “lemon” and pictures of milk and lemon. All participants finished the study by completing a final set of self-report measures. Results of the study indicated that IRAP performance was not significantly different between conditions following various levels of a defusion intervention. However, results showed that the pattern of IRAP response latencies did significantly vary between conditions, but this effect was driven by a significant difference on a single response latency between two conditions suggesting this finding is an artifact. Thus, the current study cannot conclude that a defusion intervention can significantly affect implicit attitudes towards common objects, and any future research should consider applying a defusion intervention to clinically relevant stimuli to further assess for defusion effects in the IRAP.




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