Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science




College of Humanities and Fine Arts


Values-affirmation interventions have demonstrated efficacy in increasing approach behavior in the context of potential threat. In other words, writing about values seems associated with changes to the functions of previously aversive events. Evaluative conditioning and derived relational responding have been offered as possible mechanisms by which values interventions change behavior. The current study aimed to extend the extant literature by demonstrating derived relational responding and subsequent transformation of evaluative and consequential functions with values-relevant stimuli. Participants were 34 undergraduate students. Participants generated personally meaningful values-relevant stimuli after engaging in a values-affirmation task and were subsequently trained through matching to sample to coordinate a subset of those stimuli to arbitrary stimuli. All participants exhibited mutual entailment, and all but one exhibited combinatorial entailment, suggesting that individuals learn to coordinate events with values quite readily. Further, there was evidence of transformation of functions, both in terms of changes in ratings of derived stimuli and in terms of changes in approach and escape behavior. These data are offered in support of continued scientific exploration of what values are, how they emerge, and how they are best intervened upon.


This is an Accepted Article published by Elsevier in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, available at

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Psychology Commons



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