Analyses of relational coherence and rule-following: Consistent liars are preferred over occasional truth tellers

Jesús Alonso-Vega, Colin Harte, Dermot Barnes-Holmes

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Abstract

The current study explored the influence of different levels of speaker coherence on rule following and speaker preference. In Experiment 1, rules provided by three different speakers were either 100% accurate, 0% accurate, or 50% accurate/inaccurate. Experiment 2 was similar to Experiment 1 except that the speaker's coherence was adjusted to 80% accurate, 20% accurate, and 50% accurate/inaccurate, respectively. Overall, participants tended to follow coherent speaker rules and avoid following incoherent speaker rules during training and testing phases. The results also indicated that following and not following rules provided by speakers may be generalizable to novel stimuli and maintained in the absence of differential reinforcement (i.e., in experimental test phases). Additionally, in a preference test, participants tended to prefer coherent over incoherent and partially coherent speakers. Furthermore, participants tended to prefer the relatively more incoherent speaker (i.e., 0% or 20% accurate) over the 50% accurate coherent speaker in both experiments. Finally, a comparison of the results of both experiments indicated that different levels of relational coherence affected the variability of rule-following and speaker preference behaviors. These findings are discussed in the context of the complexities that appear to be involved in rule-following behaviors and speaker preference. [Abstract copyright: © 2024 The Authors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-293
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Volume121
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 1 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Keywords

  • rule-governed behavior
  • instructional control
  • verbal behavior
  • speaker
  • coherence
  • Coherence

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