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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #249
Behavioral Cusps in the Analysis of Behavioral Cusps
Sunday, May 27, 2007
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Molly AB
Area: DEV/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Gary D. Novak (California State University, Stanislaus)
Discussant: Hayne W. Reese (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Rosales-Ruiz & Baer (1997) proposed the term cusp to identify changes in behavior that in turn make possible further behavior change. The behavior change can be simple or complex and is crucial to what can come next in the development of the individual. Its importance is derived from the fact that it transforms existing environments and opens new ones for new behavior change. The concept of the cusp has both practical and theoretical implications. It provides a logic for target selection in service delivery and suggests that behavior change itself is an important factor in the development of new environment-behavior interactions. The presentations in this symposium will illustrate behavioral cusp analyses in the context of service delivery, as they relate to the remote stimulus control of behavior and, finally, in our understanding of verbal behavior.
Behavioral Cusps through the Spectrum: A Person-Centered Process for Establishing Pivotal Behaviors and Repertoires.
GARNETT J. SMITH (University of Hawaii, Manoa)
Abstract: Behavioral cusp analysis is arguably one of the most powerful social improvement procedures that stakeholders, parents and persons with ID may use to direct person-centered planning and positive behavioral support exchanges. Building new behaviors that so profoundly alter, displace, or transform personal behavioral repertoires that they render preexisting behavioral repertoires obsolete results in quality-of-life improvement that transcends that of the person with ID alone. For the past 5 years we have used the concept of behavioral cusps to demonstrate to a variety of change agents how life-altering transcendent social/behavioral outcomes may emerge from surprisingly modest behavioral or environmental exchanges. This presentation will describe several published case studies that illustrate the cusp effects across the spectrum of age and school/community settings.
In Search of Behavioral Cusps: How Far Should We Go?
SEBASTIEN BOSCH (California Unified Service Providers, LLC), Eric Maier (California Unified Service Providers, LLC)
Abstract: Some changes in a single dimension of a stimulus may have important implications in opening new environments and new contingencies of reinforcement for children with few independent skills. The systematic increase in the distance between the source of verbal/non-verbal stimuli and the child-listener, resulting in remote stimulus control (e.g., control by the verbal stimulus /come here/ emitted at 10 feet and beyond), may have multiple benefits for the listener and the speakers outside of the training environment. A behavioral cusp analysis of remote stimulus control will be provided.
Verbal Developmental Cusps.
R. DOUGLAS GREER (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School)
Abstract: Evidence from two decades of research on Skinner's verbal behavior theory and a new book in verbal development by Greer and Ross identifies a series of hierarchical verbal developmental cusps or verbal developmental capabilities. I shall provide a brief overview of these and studies isolating environmental factors that lead to the induction of those cusps. These higher order classes or higher order operants allow children to acquire new operants they could not acquire prior to the development of the capabilities or accelerate rates of learning in one or more realms of learning. The cusps incorporate the range of verbal developmental capabilities from those associated with early speaker and listener repertoires to those associated with advanced capabilities involving the joining of the speaker and listener within the individual.



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