• Appetitive augmental functions and common physical properties in a pain-tolerance metaphor: An extended replication

      Pendrous, Rosina; Hulbert-Williams, Lee; Hochard, Kevin; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.
      Relational frame theory claims that the tacit understanding of metaphorical language rests upon our ability to derive relations based on relevant contextual cues; with metaphor aptness being a function of learning history and the number and nature of contextual cues presented. Recent experimental research has explored whether metaphor aptness plays a role in changing behaviour. Sierra, Ruiz, Flórez, Riaño Hernández, and Luciano (2016) demonstrated that the presence of common physical properties (herein common properties; “cold”) within a perseverance metaphor increased pain tolerance to the cold pressor task. When the metaphor also specified appetitive augmental functions (herein augmentals; “something important to you”), pain tolerance also increased. We tested the replicability of these findings under more stringent conditions, using a stratified (by sex) double-blind randomised-controlled experimental design. Eighty-nine participants completed baseline measures of psychological flexibility, cognitive fusion, generalised pliance, and analogical reasoning ability. Participants were then allocated to a pre-recorded audio-delivered metaphor exercise containing either: (i) common properties; (ii) augmentals; (iii) both; or (iv) neither (control condition). Participants completed the cold pressor task before and after intervention. We found no change in pain tolerance following intervention in any condition. Given potential implications for apt metaphor use for changing behaviour, further work is required to establish why the original study's findings were not replicated, to identify boundary conditions for the putative effect, and test metaphor use in ecologically valid settings.
    • Empirical Advances in Studying Relational Networks

      McLoughlin, Shane; Stewart, Ian; University of Chester; National University of Ireland, Galway (Elsevier, 2016-11-29)
      The relating of relations is a key feature of the development of complex relational networks. Despite this, thus far there has been little empirical study of this phenomenon, outside of analogy. The latter, which involves coordination of relational networks, is indeed an important example of the relating of relations but there are other examples that can also be involved in complex relational framing. Experiment 1 extended previous research by exploring non-coordinate relating of relations in adult participants. First, Crel functions of YES, NO, SAME, DIFFERENT, and OPPOSITE were established in arbitrary stimuli using a multi-stage Relational Evaluation Procedure (REP). Then participants were tested for the evaluation of various forms of relating of relations including deriving coordination, distinction and opposition relations between relations. Three out of four participants showed predicted patterns of behavior. In Experiment 2, these same three participants showed transformation of contextual control functions via the relating of relational networks. Implications and future research directions are discussed.