RFT and Intelligence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter aims to consider a relational frame theory (RFT) approach to human
intelligence. Why should we care about it? Is relational framing part of intelligence or does relational framing underlie it? Can we use RFT to raise intelligence? The latter has been described as the “Holy Grail” of psychological research, so it seems worth discussing. This chapter is written by one RFT researcher amongst several in this space. With this in mind, I have attempted to make it clear that this is a personal account rather than consensus within the feld. I do not think there is any such consensus amongst RFT researchers on this topic. As you may or may not be aware, intelligence research is quite sociologically controversial. This has led to this topic being greatly misunderstood, and so I hope to clarify what is and is not a mainstream idea here. Afterwards, I will discuss the RFT conception of intelligence and two popular RFT-inspired approaches to “brain training”. The fndings from these
studies, if I might borrow a statistical term, only “weakly correlate” with the public discourse around these studies. This chapter ends with a note of caution around current research on RFT and intelligence, calls for much more caution about how this research is discussed publicly and sets out ten research questions that have yet to be fully answered by RFT
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRelational Frame Theory
Subtitle of host publicationMade Simple
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783031194214
ISBN (Print)9783031194238, 9783031194207
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2022


  • intelligence
  • relational frame theory
  • cognitive ability
  • special education


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