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Exploring the impact of coherence (through the presence versus absence of feedback) and levels of derivation on persistent rule-following

Authors
  • Harte, Colin1
  • Barnes-Holmes, Dermot1, 2
  • Barnes-Holmes, Yvonne1
  • McEnteggart, Ciara1
  • 1 Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan, 2, Ghent, 9000, Belgium , Ghent (Belgium)
  • 2 Ulster University, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK , Coleraine (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Learning & Behavior
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Jul 15, 2020
Volume
49
Issue
2
Pages
222–239
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/s13420-020-00438-1
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Article
License
Yellow

Abstract

Recent developments in relational frame theory (RFT) have outlined a number of key variables of potential importance when analyzing the dynamics involved in derived relational responding. Recent research has begun to explore the impact of a number of these variables on persistent rule-following, namely, levels of derivation and coherence. However, no research to date has systematically examined the impact of coherence on persistent rule-following at varying levels of derivation. Across two experiments, the impact of coherence (manipulated through the systematic use of performance feedback) was explored on persistent rule-following when derivation was relatively low (Exp. 1) and high (Exp. 2). A training protocol based on the implicit relational assessment procedure (IRAP) was used to establish novel combinatorially entailed relations that manipulated the feedback provided on the untrained, derived relations (A-C) for five blocks of trials in Experiment 1 and one block of trials in Experiment 2. One of these relations was then inserted into the rule for responding on a subsequent contingency-switching match-to-sample task to assess rule persistence. While no significant differences were found in Experiment 1, the provision or non-provision of feedback had a significant differential impact on rule persistence in Experiment 2. These differences, and the subtle complexities that appear to be involved in persistent rule-following in the face of reversed reinforcement contingencies, are discussed.

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