Historically, Relational Frame Theory (RFT) has been seen as providing the basic science foundation for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Recently, conceptual advances in RFT have suggested that the ACT-based concept of defusion may be conceptualized in terms of the relative dominance of one property of relational framing over another (i.e., the dominance of the relational properties of a stimulus, Crels, over its functional properties, Cfuncs). However there is currently no empirical evidence to support this suggestion. The proposed program of research aims to test and develop this conceptual analysis by conducting two lab-based studies employing single-case experimental designs. The first would involve replicating a robust experimental effect involving an RFT-based methodology, known as the implicit relational assessment procedure (IRAP), that demonstrates the dominance of Cfunc over Crel properties (i.e., fusion). The second study would involve testing therapy-based defusion techniques as a means of reducing Cfunc dominance over Crel control. Overall, the proposed research program would aim to work towards a more thoroughly RFT process-based experimental analysis of the impact of defusion exercises as found in the ACT literature.
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