Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Getting Unstuck: How Behavior Analysts Can Talk to Marginalized Communities, Behave Flexibly, and Change the World

Matthew Capriotti (San Jose State University)

Invited Paper

SCI

 

Biography:Dr. Matthew Capriotti is an Associate Professor of Psychology at San Jose State University. He completed his BS in Psychology at the University of Florida in 2010, and he then earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2015. Prior to joining the faculty at San Jose State University, Dr. Capriotti completed predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. His research interests lie in the behavioral treatment of Tourette Syndrome and in the study of processes that drive health and wellness among LGBTQ+ people. Dr. Capriotti has employed varied methodological approaches to conduct research across the basic-to-applied continuum. His earliest work investigated rats’ responding on multiple schedules. His subsequent programs of research on tic disorders and LGBTQ+ health have employed a range of methodological approaches and content foci, including within-case laboratory studies on behavioral processes in clinical populations, clinical trials, dissemination and implementation projects, phenomenological and epidemiological investigations of neurobehavioral and psychiatric conditions, experiments evaluating environmental determinants of stigma, survey- and interview-based qualitative research on facilitators and barriers of psychosocial treatment, and community-based participatory research. Dr. Capriotti is the author of 46 peer-reviewed publications and over 70 conference presentations.

 

Abstract: As behavior analysts, we know the potential of our science to change the world. Behavior analysis points to powerful interventions for a range of individuals’ challenges and societies’ ills, without assigning stigmatizing diagnoses of personal or cultural deficits, such as character problems and broken brains. Our beloved science has made enormous impacts in a few areas. And yet, behavior analysis’ reach is far from what Skinner imagined possible. At the same time, we behavior analysts often bemoan feeling misunderstood by colleagues and by society. Our science, and our reputations, tend to get stuck within our research and practice communities, and within tried-and-true applications. I propose that we can get our science “unstuck” through thoughtful collaboration with underserved and oppressed communities, and with the professionals who have long served them. As an exemplar of a recent (and ongoing) success story that has leveraged these principles, I will discuss how behavior analysts have changed the landscape of treatment for people with tic disorders across the world. To exemplify an unfulfilled opportunity for such progress, I will discuss potential applications of behavior analysis into LGBTQ+ health and wellness. I will present my own work in these two areas, with particular attention to intentional professional actions outside the traditional bounds of behavior analysis. This will include honest discussion of both “wins” (wherein such work has led to increased impact) and “misses” (wherein such projects have led down the rabbit holes of mentalism). I will conclude with practical suggestions for behavior analysts looking to expand the scope of their work into new areas.

 

Modifed by Eddie Soh
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