Relational frame theory 20 years on: The Odysseus voyage and beyond

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Abstract

The seminal text on relational frame theory (RFT) was published 20 years ago and purported to offer a single overarching behavior‐analytic account of human language and cognition. In the years thereafter, an increasing number of empirical and conceptual articles, book chapters in edited volumes, and whole volumes devoted to the account emerged. In recent years, RFT has experienced a period of intense empirical and conceptual development, facilitated in part by a research grant awarded by the Flanders Science Foundation, under its Odysseus program. This research program aimed to advance and extend the RFT account beyond the rendition presented in the seminal Hayes et al. (2001) volume. The current article aims to provide an overview of this research program, the empirical work and concepts it gave rise to, and their implications for an RFT account of human symbolic language and cognition. Overall, therefore, the article provides an account of relatively recent developments in RFT that extend beyond the 2001 volume and thus will, we hope, inform future research and critiques of the theory going forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-266
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Volume117
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The bulk of the material presented in the current article, both conceptual and empirical, was greatly facilitated by a large research grant awarded by the Flanders Science Foundation, under its prestigious Odysseus programme, which provides funding to establish a research team for 5 years at a Flemish university, in this case Ghent University. Although the current article was written by two individuals from that programme following the completion of the Odysseus research project, it is important to acknowledge the important contribution of all members of the Odysseus research team to the conceptual and empirical developments presented herein, listed here alphabetically: Yvonne Barnes‐Holmes, Martin Finn, Deirdre Kavanagh, Aileen Leech, Ciara McEnteggart, Michel Quak, and Roberta Vastano. We would also like to express our gratitude to Professors Jan De Houwer, Geertz Crombez, Rudi De Raedt, and many of the other researchers and support staff in the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Ghent University, who provided so much support, help and assistance to the Odysseus research team during their 5 year “voyage” in Ghent. The authors also wish to acknowledge the important contribution that the on‐going collaboration with Maithri Siveraman has had on some of the material presented in the current article, particularly in relation to the concept of orienting in the development of relational responding in early childhood. Preparation of the current manuscript was supported by a research fellowship awarded to the second author by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP, Grant #2019/24210‐0).

Funding Information:
The bulk of the material presented in the current article, both conceptual and empirical, was greatly facilitated by a large research grant awarded by the Flanders Science Foundation under its prestigious Odysseus program, which provides funding to establish a research team for 5 years at a Flemish University, in this case Ghent University. 2

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Funding Information:
The bulk of the material presented in the current article, both conceptual and empirical, was greatly facilitated by a large research grant awarded by the Flanders Science Foundation, under its prestigious Odysseus programme, which provides funding to establish a research team for 5 years at a Flemish university, in this case Ghent University. Although the current article was written by two individuals from that programme following the completion of the Odysseus research project, it is important to acknowledge the important contribution of all members of the Odysseus research team to the conceptual and empirical developments presented herein, listed here alphabetically: Yvonne Barnes‐Holmes, Martin Finn, Deirdre Kavanagh, Aileen Leech, Ciara McEnteggart, Michel Quak, and Roberta Vastano. We would also like to express our gratitude to Professors Jan De Houwer, Geertz Crombez, Rudi De Raedt, and many of the other researchers and support staff in the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Ghent University, who provided so much support, help and assistance to the Odysseus research team during their 5 year “voyage” in Ghent. The authors also wish to acknowledge the important contribution that the on‐going collaboration with Maithri Siveraman has had on some of the material presented in the current article, particularly in relation to the concept of orienting in the development of relational responding in early childhood. Preparation of the current manuscript was supported by a research fellowship awarded to the second author by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP, Grant #2019/24210‐0).

Funding Information:
The bulk of the material presented in the current article, both conceptual and empirical, was greatly facilitated by a large research grant awarded by the Flanders Science Foundation under its prestigious Odysseus program, which provides funding to establish a research team for 5 years at a Flemish University, in this case Ghent University. 2

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Keywords

  • Perspectives on Behavior
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • motivating
  • Relational Frame Theory
  • orienting
  • relating
  • evoking
  • stimulus relations

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