The Psychological Record

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 95–105 | Cite as

Reversing Time and Size: Mutual Entailment of Nonarbitrary Temporal and Magnitude Relational Responding

  • Nicola Brassil
  • John HylandEmail author
  • Denis O’Hora
  • Ian Stewart
Original Article


Responding to temporal relational statements that include the original events (e.g., A. .. B) in a reversed order (e.g., “B after A”) is less accurate and more time-consuming than responding to such statements when they retain the original order of presentation (e.g., “A before B”). The current study assessed whether this effect was limited to temporal relational responding by estimating the effect of reversal on magnitude statements (e.g., “B bigger than A”) as well as temporal statements. Participants (N = 40) completed temporal and magnitude relational judgement tasks in blocks consisting of a training phase and a testing phase. The order of relational tasks was counterbalanced across participants; participants learned the second type of relational task faster than the first. During testing, reversal of the order of stimuli in both temporal and magnitude relations reduced accuracy and increased response latencies suggesting that the reversal effect was not limited to temporal relations. The findings support the position that a general relational effect, such as mutual entailment, may underlie the increased difficulty of reversed temporal relational statements.


Relational frame theory Relational responding Nonarbitrary relations Temporal relations Magnitude relations Sequence 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  2. 2.Dublin Business SchoolDublin 2Ireland

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