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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #300
Using Principles from Experimental Analysis of Behavior to Guide the Behavioral Management of Captive Animals
Monday, May 29, 2006
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: M. Jackson Marr (Georgia Tech)
Abstract: Behavioral management programs are developing rapidly in zoos and laboratory animal facilities. They typically include environmental enrichment and animal training techniques to enhance species-appropriate behavior of animals, and to reduce undesirable behaviors. The field of the experimental analysis of behavior has much to offer as behavioral management programs are established, documented and refined. Presentations in this session are examples of how such principles could be applied. Few theoretically-based guidelines have been used to predict the effectiveness of enrichment methods, but several principles from the experimental analysis of behavior could be useful in this realm. Laboratory-based hypotheses about the rate and duration of interactions with enrichment are tested to illustrate the usefulness of behavior analytic theory as a framework for enrichment research. Behavioral work with humans can also serve as a model for treating behavioral problems in captive animals. For example, behavioral treatments for stereotypy and self-injurious behavior in humans have been conducted for more than 40 years and provide a vast source of potential interventions for dealing with similar problems in nonhumans. A case report will be presented that describes the successful application of such techniques, when implemented within a combination therapy approach to address self-injury in a chimpanzee.
Maximizing the Effectiveness of Environmental Enrichment: Suggestions from the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.
LORAINE R. TAROU (Ohio Wesleyan University), Meredith J. Bashaw (Franklin & Marshall College)
Abstract: As yet, there have been few theoretically-based guidelines to assist animal care staff in establishing cost-efficient enrichment methods that both elicit the desired behavioral changes and maintain their success over time. We describe several well-studied principles from the field of experimental analysis of behavior that could be very useful for evaluating the short- and long-term effectiveness of enrichment and provide predictions for their application to enrichment techniques. Results obtained in published enrichment studies appear to support the application of behavior analytic theory, but many facets of the application remain untested.
An Empirical Test of Enrichment Effectiveness Based on Behavior Analytic Predictions.
MEREDITH J. BASHAW (Franklin & Marshall College), Loraine R. Tarou (Ohio Wesleyan University)
Abstract: While researchers in the experimental analysis of behavior have examined the phenomena of habituation and spontaneous recovery under conditions where behavior is intrinsically reinforced, their findings have not been used as a basis for predicting the effectiveness of environmental enrichment. In this study, laboratory-based hypotheses about the rate and duration of interactions with enrichment are tested to illustrate the usefulness of behavior analytic theory as a framework for enrichment research.
Is the Human Treatment Approach a Useful Model for Addressing Nonhuman Primate Behavioral Problems?
M. JACKSON MARR (Georgia Tech), Mollie Bloomsmith (Yerkes National Primate Research Center)
Abstract: The techniques developed for treating human stereotyped and self-injurious behavior are described, and comparisons are made between these approaches and those used with nonhuman primates showing similar behaviors. We propose that virtually all the techniques found to be effective in treating humans can be directly applied to nonhuman primates and in this way the human work can serve as a model for how we can enhance attempts to address behavioral problems in captive nonhuman primates. A philosophy of behavioral management, based partly on the science of behavior analysis, requires a systematic, scientific approach to the discovery and description of behavioral problems and their treatment.
Behavior Modification Techniques in a Combination Therapy Successfully Reduce Self-Injurious Behavior in a Chimpanzee.
SABRINA BOURGEOIS (Southwest National Primate Research Center), Maribel Vazquez (Southwest National Primate Research Center), Kathy Brasky (Southwest National Primate Research Center)
Abstract: Behavioral interventions employed have been found to be effective in ameliorating abnormal and undesirable behavior in human populations. These Behavior Analytic techniques have been refined and applied to deal with extreme behavioral problems in some captive nonhuman primates. A case report describes the behavior modification techniques implemented in a successful combination therapy approach that significantly reduced and virtually eliminated severe self-injury in a male common chimpanzee.



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