• Anticipatory versus Reactive Spatial Attentional Bias to Threat

      Gladwin, Thomas; Möbius, Martin; McLoughlin, Shane; Tyndall, Ian; University of Chichester; Radboud University; University of Chester (Wiley, 2018-05-11)
      Dot-probe or visual probe tasks (VPTs) are used extensively to measure attentional biases. A novel variant termed the cued VPT (cVPT) was developed to focus on the anticipatory component of attentional bias. This study aimed to establish an anticipatory attentional bias to threat using the cVPT and compare its split-half reliability with a typical dot-probe task. A total of 120 students performed the cVPT task and dot-probe tasks. Essentially, the cVPT uses cues that predict the location of pictorial threatening stimuli, but on trials on which probe stimuli are presented the pictures do not appear. Hence, actual presentation of emotional stimuli did not affect responses. The reliability of the cVPT was higher at most cue–stimulus intervals and was .56 overall. A clear anticipatory attentional bias was found. In conclusion, the cVPT may be of methodological and theoretical interest. Using visually neutral predictive cues may remove sources of noise that negatively impact reliability. Predictive cues are able to bias response selection, suggesting a role of predicted outcomes in automatic processes.
    • Piloting a brief relational operant training program: Analyses of response latencies and intelligence

      McLoughlin, Shane; Tyndall, Ian; Pereira, Antonina; University of Chester; University of Chichester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-08-06)
      Previous research suggests that training relational operant responding using the SMART (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training) program over several months can result in improved performance on cognitive intelligence tests. This study aimed to investigate whether engaging in a 3-week relational training program would improve (i) scores and (ii) reaction times on a standardised intelligence test, and (iii) to pilot a new multiple exemplar training procedure targeting complex analogical operant responding (SMARTA; SMART for Analogy). We administered the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT-2) to eight adults across four time points. Control: Time 1–4: No intervention. Experimental: Time 1–2: No intervention. Time 2–3: SMART relational operant training. Time 3–4: SMARTA analogical relational operant training. Experimental participants demonstrated greater improvements in terms of both (i) response latencies and (ii) response fluencies on the Verbal Knowledge subscale of the KBIT-2.
    • Technical Notation as a Tool for Basic Research in Relational Frame Theory

      Tyndall, Ian; Mulhern, Teresa; Ashcroft, Sam; McLoughlin, Shane; University of Chester; University of Chichester (Springer Verlag, 2019-04-08)
      A core overarching aim of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) research on language and cognition is the prediction and influence of human behavior with precision, scope, and depth. However, the conceptualization and delineation of empirical investigations of higher-order language and cognition from a relational framing theoretical standpoint is a challenging task that requires a high degree of abstract reasoning and creativity. To that end, we propose using symbolic notation as seen in early RFT experimental literature as a possible functional-analytical tool to aid in the articulation of hypotheses and design of such experiments. In this article, we provide examples of aspects of cognition previously identified in RFT literature and how they can be articulated rather more concisely using technical notation than in-text illustration. We then provide a brief demonstration of the utility of notation by offering examples of several novel experiments and hypotheses in notation format. In two tables, we provide a “key” for understanding the technical notation written herein, which other basic-science researchers may decide to draw on in future. To conclude, this article is intended to be a useful resource to those who wish to carry out basic RFT research on complex language and cognition with greater technical clarity, precision, and broad scope.