Relational Frame Theory proposes that control by novel instructions may be understood as control by networks of Same and Before or After relations. The current paper reports two experiments in which such control was demonstrated. In Experiment 1, undergraduate students were first trained to respond in accordance with Before and After relations and then trained to respond in accordance with Same and Different relations. Subjects were then presented with a number of ‘instructions’ in the form of networks of Same, Different, Before, and After relations in the absence of reinforcement. Of the 3 students, 2 demonstrated the required performance within two exposures to the final phase of the experiment. In Experiment 2, 5 of 8 additional subjects who demonstrated instructional control also did so in the presence of 24 novel stimulus sets without further training. The implications of these novel and generative performances for the analysis of instructional control and human language more generally are considered.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
AYLLON T., & ZZRIN, N. H. (1964). Reinforcement and instructions with mental patients. Journal of The Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 6, 327–331.
BARNES, D., & KEENAN, M. (1993). A transfer of functions through derived arbitrary and non-arbitrary stimulus relations. Journal of The Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 59, 61–81.
BARNES-HOLMES, D., BARNES-HOLMES, Y, & CULLINAN, V. (2000). Relational frame theory and Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. A possible synthesis. The Behavior Analyst, 23, 69–84
BARNES-HOLMES, D., HAYES, S. O., DYMOND, S., & O’HORA, D. (2001). Multiple stimulus relations and the transformation of stimulus functions. In S. C. Hayes, D. Barnes-Holmes, & B. T. Roche (Eds.), Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. New York: Plenum.
CHOMSKY, N. (1959). A review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. Language, 35, 26–58.
COHEN, J. D., MACWHINNEY B., FLATT, M., & PROVOST, J. (1993). PsyScope: A new graphic interactive environment for designing psychology experiments. Behavioral Research Methods, Instruments and Computers, 25(2), 257–271.
CULLINAN, V., BARNES, D., HAMPSON, P. J., & LYDDY, F. (1994). A transfer of explicitly and nonexplicitly trained sequence responses through equivalence relations: An experimental demonstration and connectionist model. The Psychological Record, 44, 559–585.
CULLINAN, V., BARNES, D., & SMEETS, P. M. (1998). A precursor to the relational evaluation procedures: Analyzing stimulus equivalence. The Psychological Record, 48, 121–145.
CULLINAN, V., BARNES-HOLMES, D., & SMEETS, P. M. (2000). A precursor to the relational evaluation procedure: Analyzing stimulus equivalence II. The Psychological Record, 50, 467–492.
CULLINAN, V., BARNES-HOLMES, D., & SMEETS, P. M. (2001). Precursor to the relational evaluation procedure: The search for the contextual cues that control equivalence responding. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 76, 339–349.
DEGRANDPRE, R. J., & BUSKIST, W. F. (1991). Effects of accuracy of instructions on human behavior: Correspondence with reinforcement contingencies matters. The Psychological Record, 41, 371–384.
DERMER, M. L., & RODGERS, J. G. (1997). Schedule control over following instructions comprised of novel combinations of verbal stimuli. The Psychological Record, 47, 243–260.
DYMOND, S., & BARNES, D. (1995). A transformation of self-discrimination functions in accordance with the derived stimulus relations of Sameness, More than, and Less than. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 64, 163–184.
GREEN, G., STROMER, R., & MACKAY, H. A. (1993). Relational learning in stimulus sequences. The Psychological Record, 43, 585–615.
HAYES, L J., THOMPSON, S., & HAYES, S. C. (1989). Stimulus equivalence and rule following. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 52, 275–291.
HAYES, S. C., & BARNES, D. (1997). Analyzing derived stimulus relations takes more than the concept of stimulus class. Journal of The Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 68, 235–244.
HAYES, S. C., & HAYES, L. J. (1989). The verbal action of the listener as a basis for rule governance. In S. C. Hayes (Ed.), Rule governed behavior: Cognition, contingencies, and instructional control (pp. 153–190). New York: Plenum Press.
HAYES, S. O., ZETTLE, R. D., & ROSENFARB, I. (1989). Rule following. In S. C. Hayes (Ed.), Rule governed behavior: Cognition, contingencies, and instructional control (pp. 191–220). New York: Plenum.
HEALY, O., BARNES, D., & SMEETS, P. M. (1998). Derived relational responding as an operant: The effects of between-session feedback. The Psychological Record, 48, 511–536.
HEALY, O., BARNES-HOLMES, D., & SMEETS, P. M. (2000). Derived relational responding as generalized operant behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 74, 207–227.
KAUFMAN, A., BARON, A., & KOPP, R. E. (1966). Some effects of instructions on human operant behavior. Psychonomic Monograph Supplements, 1, 243–250.
LAZAR, R. (1977). Extending sequence-class membership with matching to sample. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 27, 381–392.
LAZAR, R. M., & KOTLARCHYK, B. J. (1986). Second order control of sequence-class equivalences in children. Behavioral Processes, 13, 205–215.
LYDDY, R., BARNES-HOLMES, D., & HAMPSON, P. (2001). Transfer of sequence function via equivalence in connectionist network. The Psychological Record, 51, 409–428.
MACCORQUODALE, K. (1969). B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. A retrospective appreciation. Journal of The Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 12, 831–841.
O’HORA, D, & BARNES-HOLMES, D. (2001). The referential nature of rules and instructions: A response to “Instructions, rules, and abstraction: A misconstrued relation” by Emilio Ribes-lnesta. Behavior and Philosophy, 29, 21–25.
O’HORA, D., BARNES-HOLMES, D., & ROCHE, B. (2001). Developing a procedure to model the establishment of rule governance. Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Bulletin, 19, 14–16.
O’HORA, D., ROCHE, B., BARNES-HOLMES, D., & SMEETS, P. M. (2002). Response latencies to multiple derived stimulus relations: Testing two predictions of Relational Frame Theory. The Psychological Record, 52, 51–75.
OKOUCHI, H. (1999). Instructions as discriminative stimuli. Journal of The Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 72, 205–214.
ROCHE, B., & BARNES, D. (1996). Arbitrarily applicable relational responding and sexual categorization: A critical test of the derived difference relation. The Psychological Record, 46, 489–507.
ROCHE, B., & BARNES, D. (1997). A transformation of respondently conditioned stimulus function in accordance with arbitrarily applicable relations. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 67, 275–300.
SCHLINGER, H. D. (1993). Separating discriminative and function-altering effects of verbal stimuli. The Behavior Analyst, 16, 9–23.
SKINNER, B. F. (1969). Contingencies of reinforcement: A theoretical analysis. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
STEELE, D, & HAYES, S. C. (1991). Stimulus equivalence and arbitrarily applicable relational responding. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 56, 519–555.
WULFERT, E., & HAYES, S. C. (1988). The transfer of conditional sequencing through conditional equivalence classes. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 50, 125–144.
These data were submitted as part of Denis O’Hora’s doctoral work, which was supported by a Government of Ireland Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences and a Research Studentship from National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Denis O’Hora expresses his heartfelt thanks to his collaborators and to everyone in the Department of Psychology in NUI Maynooth. He is now at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland.
About this article
Cite this article
O’Hora, D., Barnes-Holmes, D., Roche, B. et al. Derived Relational Networks and Control by Novel Instructions: A Possible Model of Generative Verbal Responding. Psychol Rec 54, 437–460 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03395484