Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 411–416 | Cite as

The Mediating Effects of Derived Relational Responding on the Relationship Between Verbal Operant Development and IQ

  • Jordan Belisle
  • Mark R. DixonEmail author
  • Caleb R. Stanley
Brief Practice


Dixon, Belisle, and Stanley, (2018) demonstrated a strong, significant relationship between derived relational responding and intelligence in individuals with autism. We extended these results by evaluating the degree to which participant results on the PEAK Equivalence Pre-assessment (PEAK-E-PA, a direct assessment of derived relational responding) mediated the relationship between the PEAK Direct Training Assessment (PEAK-DT-A, a Skinnerian-based assessment of verbal development) and intelligence. Results support strong, positive correlations between both assessments (PEAK-DT-A and PEAK-E-PA) and IQ; however, the relationship between PEAK-DT-A and IQ could be explained in terms of participant results on the PEAK-E-PA alone. This finding corresponds with Relational Frame Theory, suggesting that derived responding can provide a behavioral interpretation of intelligent behavior, as well as Skinner’s elementary operants.


Derived relational responding RFT Intelligence Autism 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from the participants, agencies, and/or legal guardians of all participants included in this study.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of Interest

The second author receives small royalties from sales of the PEAK curriculum. The other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan Belisle
    • 1
  • Mark R. Dixon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Caleb R. Stanley
    • 1
  1. 1.Rehabilitation InstituteSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA

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