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J Exp Anal Behav. 2017 Nov;108(3):433-456. doi: 10.1002/jeab.291. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Contextual influence over deriving others' true beliefs using a relational triangulation perspective-taking protocol (RT-PTP-M1).

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Portland Psychotherapy.


This paper introduces the relational triangulation framework as a functional contextual expansion of the established Relational Frame Theory (Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2001) account of perspective-taking. Initial support for the new framework is provided through data collected with a novel relational triangulation perspective-taking protocol configured in the present study to show contextual influence over deriving true belief in others following the direct training of a "seeing leads to knowing" repertoire (Leslie & Frith, 1988). Eight verbally competent adults were directly trained to make operant discriminations on a first set of target stimuli (i.e., the identities of three distinct figurines) and then directly trained to make contextually controlled deictic pointing responses to a second set of target stimuli (i.e., to the relative location of a target beacon according to the signaled spatial perspective of the self vs. two others). The test for derivation was whether the stimuli that had directly acquired contextual control over deictic perspective-taking during training would spontaneously exert contextual control over figurine discrimination relative to the spatial perspective of the two others. That is, passing the test for derivation required participants to infer that the others would "report what they were seeing" the same way that the self would if the self were in their position, suggesting coordination of the self and others. Seven of the eight participants exhibited the intended derivation of the others' "true beliefs," confirming successful relational triangulation perspective-taking protocol configuration for this purpose.


Relational Frame Theory; deictic behavior; derived relations; perspective-taking; relational triangulation framework; theory of mind; verbally competent adults

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