The Psychological Record

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 519–536 | Cite as

Investigating Relational Framing of Categorization in Young Children

  • Teresa Mulhern
  • Ian StewartEmail author
  • John Mc Elwee
Original Article


The aims of the current study were to measure patterns of relational framing linked with categorization in young, typically developing children and to correlate framing performance with linguistic and cognitive potential as measured by standardized instruments, including the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Fourth Edition (PPVT–4), the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales—Fifth Edition (SB5), and the Children’s Category Test (CCT). The relational protocol developed for this study assessed properties of relational framing in 3 relational domains, including nonarbitrary and arbitrary containment relations and arbitrary hierarchical relations. There were 50 participants, 10 from each of the following age ranges: 3–4, 4–5, 5–6, 6–7, and 7–8. The results provided data concerning the acquisition of relational categorization skills across childhood and also showed strong correlations between relational performance and that on each of the 3 standardized measures. The results are discussed in relation to previous research and for their implications in regard to future studies on relational framing and categorization in children.


Relational frame theory Hierarchy Containment Intelligence Language Classification 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This research was supported by a scholarship awarded to Teresa Mulhern. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there are no conflicts of interest. This research was conducted at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and was supported by the National University of Ireland, Galway, Doctoral Research Scholarship Scheme, which was awarded to Teresa Mulhern.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyNational University of Ireland GalwayGalwayIreland
  2. 2.Department of Special EducationWilkes UniversityWilkes-BarreUSA

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