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Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Riding the Waves: A Functional-Cognitive Perspective on the Relations between Behavior.

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Presentation on theme: "Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Riding the Waves: A Functional-Cognitive Perspective on the Relations between Behavior."— Presentation transcript:

1 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Riding the Waves: A Functional-Cognitive Perspective on the Relations between Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Jan De Houwer*, Yvonne Barnes-Holmes#, & Dermot Barnes-Holmes# *Ghent University, Belgium; NUIM, #Ireland Functional-cognitive framework – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014

2 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive framework – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014

3 De Houwer, J. (2011). Why the cognitive approach in psychology would profit from a functional approach and vice versa. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, De Houwer, J., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Moors, A. (2013). What is learning? On the nature and merits of a functional definition of learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, De Houwer, J., Gawronski, B., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2013). A functional- cognitive framework for attitude research. European Review of Social Psychology, 24, Hughes, S., De Houwer, J., & Barnes-Holmes (submitted). On How Contextual Behavioral Science May Contribute to the Study of Evaluative Conditioning.

4 I. Two approaches in psychology I.1. The functional approach I.2. The cognitive approach II. The functional-cognitive framework II.1. The two approaches are not competitors II.2. The two approaches are mutually supportive III. Situating BT, CBT, and ACT in the F-C framework III.1. BT III.2. CBT III.3. ACT IV. Implications for relation between BT, CBT, ACT V. Conclusions and Caveats

5 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 I. Two approaches in psychology I.1. The functional approach in psychology - Study of relations between environment and behavior - Functional = B is function OF E (mathematical sense) - Is (nomological) explanation: What influences behavior (E1, E2, E3, …; simple or complex) in term of principles with precision, scope, and depth (e.g., lever pressing, tantrums in kids, …) - Aims to predict-and-influence based on (manipulation of) environment Environment Behavior E1 E2 E3 Functional-cognitive framework – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014

6 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 I.2. The cognitive approach - Study of mental processes mediating impact of environment on behavior - Cognitive = mental = informational => not subclass of behavioral phenomena (e.g., talking) - Is (mechanistic) explanation: contiguous causation involving mental (informational) representations and processes => e.g. latent learning: E time1 causes B time2 due to representation => note: mechanism can be recursive, parallel, chaotic, … - Aims to predict: have mechanism that corresponds with behavior (model) Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive framework – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014 Environment Behavior °°° ° °° ° ° °°° ° °

7 II.1. The two approaches are not competitors II. Functional-Cognitive Framework (DH, 2011) ENVIRONMENT 1 MENTAL PROCESS 2 BEHAVIOR ENVIRONMENT 1 BEHAVIOR MENTAL PROCESS 2 ENVIRONMENT 1 ENVIRONMENT 2 BEHAVIOR MENTAL PROCESS 1 MENTAL PROCESS 2

8 II.2. The two approaches are mutually supportive Cognitive: 2nd level of explanation Environment: Description Functional: 1st level of explanation Functional-cognitive framework – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014 e.g., time 1: bell - no salivation; time 2: food; ITI=10; time 3: bell = 2 drops salivation; … Increase in salivation is due to pairing of bell and food = classical conditioning as an effect The fact that statistical contingency increases salivation is due to formation of associations in memory

9  Approach does not depend on what one does but on why: Also cognitive needs to return to environment; also functional can engage in cognitive theorizing => AIMS; topography vs. function  Not a battle of aims (as in the past) but a mutual cooperation to the benefit of both approaches Interacting with cognitive psychology can help you achieve the aims of functional psychology (and thus become a better functional psychologist) Interacting with functional psychology can help you achieve the aims of cognitive psychology (and thus become a better cognitive psychologist)  Provided that one remains true to aims and does not conflate levels Requires conceptual rigor and clarity! Functional-cognitive framework – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014

10 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Conceptual traps: 1. “Functional” concepts that cannot be defined in terms of environment- behavior relations with sufficient precision, scope, and depth: => e.g., mid level terms such as “fusion” => hinders functional analysis and thus aim to predict-and-influence 2. Cognitive concepts that are equated with concepts at the functional or environmental level => e.g., classical conditioning as “association formation” => requires (possible incorrect) a priori assumptions of mechanism mediating impact of environment on behavior and thus aim to build a model of the mechanism Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014

11 E.g: Classical conditioning as association formation Functional-cognitive framework – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014 Cognitive: 2nd level of explanation Environment: Description Functional: 1st level of explanation e.g., time 1: bell - no salivation; time 2: food; ITI=10; time 3: bell = 2 drops salivation; … The fact that statistical contingency increases salivation is due to formation of associations in memory Classical conditioning as an effect is a proxy for association formation in memory Increase in salivation is due to pairing of bell and foodIncrease in salivation is due to formation of association in memory

12 III. Situating BT, CBT, and ACT in F-C framework III.1. Behavior Therapy: Two conceptualizations a) BT historically fits within the functional approach: - classical conditioning (BT): CS-US pairings => change in behavior - operant conditioning (ABA): Sd: R-O => changes in behavior => BT analysis: psychopathology as instances of conditioning (e.g., fear for elevator as instance of conditioning) => BT techniques: therapy as analogous to changing conditioning (e.g., exposure as instance of extinction) b) Mechanistic BT: Conditioning as S-R association formation mechanism => BT functional analysis and techniques conceptualized in terms of the formation and change in S-R associations (which can be understood either as a functional or mental mechanism) => limits view on possible moderators / techniques

13 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014 Cognitive approach Environment BT functional analysis BT Techniques Functional approach BT as S-R

14 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 III.2. CBT: Two traditions can be identified a) Tradition I: Conditioning (and thus BT) as S-S association formation => BT functional analysis and techniques conceptualized in terms of the formation and change in S-S associations (which is firmly situated at the cognitive level as a mental mechanism) => broader view on possible moderators / techniques (e.g., context dependent relapse – Bouton, Mineka & Zinbarg; but still limiting) b) Tradition II: CT => psychopathology as biased information processing => “functional” analysis of (origins of) biases => correcting info processing via interventions in environment *BT techniques *talk therapies *Cognitive Bias Modification (e.g., attentional retraining) ! Therapeutic techniques do not define approach but aims do !

15 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014 Cognitive approach Environment BT functional analysis BT techniques Functional approach BT as S-S CT CBT “functional” analysis BT as S-R Talk therapy CBM

16 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 III.3. ACT: Two possible conceptualisations a) ACT as applied RFT: Fits within functional approach => new functional principle: AARR => functional analysis: psychopathology as AARR => therapy as revealing AARR and allowing for alternative AARR b) ACT as “hexaflex” => not strictly functional or cognitive - some functional terms (e.g., ply) - some mid level terms maybe ultimately functional but … => mix of therapeutic techniques Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014

17 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014 Cognitive approach Environment BT functional analysis BT techniques Functional approach BT as S-S CT CBT “functional” analysis BT as S-R Talk therapy CBM ACT functional analysis ACT techniques ACT as Hex ?

18 Non-arbitrary applicable relational responding (NAARR) Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014

19 Arbitrary applicable relational responding (AARR) Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014

20 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014 Cognitive approach Environment BT functional analysis BT techniques Functional approach BT as S-S CT CBT “functional” analysis BT as S-R Talk therapy CBM ACT functional analysis ACT techniques ACT as Hex

21 IV. Implications for relation between BT,CBT,ACT 1. Therapeutic techniques do not define approach but aims do => different techniques can be used by different people with different aims => each approach adds techniques but retains old ones for new aims 2. “BT as S-S” part of CBT compatible with “BT functional analysis” but not “BT as S-R” => historically, this has been a false debate 3. “CBT functional analysis” not functional in same sense as “BT functional analysis” or “ACT functional analysis” 4. “ACT as applied RFT” is functional in same sense as original BT but with AARR as added principle => but AARR is a game changer that changes other principles 5. “ACT as applied RFT” is compatible with CBT as cognitive theory 6. Status of “ACT as hexaflex” within F-C framework is ambiguous

22 Distinction Procedure, Effect, and Theory – Jan De Houwer - 09/06/2006 Learning – Gdansk – 7 July 2007Functional-cognitive approach – ACBS Minneapolis – 20 June 2014 Cognitive approach Environment BT functional analysis BT techniques Functional approach BT as S-S CT CBT “functional” analysis BT as S-R Talk therapy CBM ACT functional analysis ACT techniques ACT as Hex Propositional theory

23 V. Conclusions and Caveats 1. Functional and cognitive approaches in psychology are not mutually exclusive but mutually supportive => but building bridges will not be easy: Panel on Saturday 2. Approach depends not on what one does but why: Everyone can engage at all levels, but ultimate aim is what counts. 3. Adhering to aims requires conceptual rigor and clarity 4. Also therapeutic approaches can be situated in F-C framework, revealing interesting communalities and differences 5. Not a blame game but an awareness raiser => clinicians cannot wait for complete conceptual and theoretical clarity => but also do not delude yourself about it is you are doing


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