Empirical models of formative augmenting in accordance with the relations of same, opposite, more-than and less-than

Whelan, Robert
Revista Internacional de Psicolog’ia y Terapia Psicológica, 4(2): 285—302, 2004

In the Relational Frame Theory literature, the term “formative augmenting” is used to
describe transformations of function that establish particular consequences as either
reinforcers or as punishers. This type of behavior is important because derived consequential
stimuli may control behavior in the absence of direct training. The experiments described
here are laboratory models of formative augmenting, in accordance with the relations of
Same, Opposite, More-than and Less-than. In the first experiment, a member of a relational
network seemed to acquire reinforcing functions, based on the derived relations of Same
and Opposite, although no such function had actually been established for any member
of that network. In the second experiment, the consequential functions of stimuli were
manipulated in accordance with the relations of More-than and Less-than. In a subsequent
operant task, subjects consistently emitted the response that produced the higher-ranked
consequential stimulus, thus demonstrating a transformation of consequential functions