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.

Mathematical Principles of Reinforcement: A Panel with Discussion

Brent Kaplan (University of Kentucky)

Invited Panel




Brent Kaplan received his Ph.D. in behavioral psychology at the University of Kansas and subsequently completed his postdoctoral training at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a member of the Healthier Futures Laboratory. Brent’s research focuses on applying behavioral economic concepts and methodology to better understand alcohol and cigarette substance use and treatments. His interests also include developing and disseminating tools for analyzing and interpreting behavioral economic data. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Perspectives on Behavior Science and currently serves on the executive committee for Division 28 Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse of the American Psychological Association.



This session, a follow-up to Peter Killeen’s tutorial on Mathematical Principles of Reinforcement, will offer examples of MPR’s application and thoughts about potential uses. Why consider applying MPR? It is a comprehensive theory of behavior that is derived from three elementary, common-sensical principles. The data required for model fitting, which come from a series of fixed-ratios or a progressive ratio schedule, are acquired quickly. The ability of its parameters to distinguish reinforcer efficacy, how reinforcers select recent behavior, and motor characteristics of behavior can yield insight into behavioral determinants. Chris Newland will describe its application in characterizing the actions of drugs and contaminants that act on the nervous system, John Michael Falligant will explore its potential applications to applied behavior analysis, and Brent Kaplan will describe how it might address issues in substance abuse.


Modifed by Eddie Soh