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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Special Event #32
SQAB 2005 Tutorial: Response Shaping and Percentile Schedules -- or 'How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Rank Orders"
Saturday, May 28, 2005
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
International South (2nd floor)
Domain: Basic Research
Chair: William M. Baum (University of California, Davis)
Presenting Authors: : GREGORY GALBICKA (sanofi aventis)
Abstract: In the Behavior of Organisms, Skinner detailed a process of differential reinforcement of successive approximations to a terminal response, subsequently termed 'shaping,' to create novel behaviors. Despite its fundamental nature in operant conditioning, shaping has little been studied, in either the laboratory or more applied settings. Owing to the dynamic nature of the interaction between shaper and behaver, the 'rules' of shaping as typically practiced are qualitative in nature only, and shapers themselves are more often selected than shaped. Percentile schedules provide one means of formalizing these rules, generating as a consequence a more consistent arrangement between responses and reinforcements that may form the basis for an experimental analysis of the parameters involved in shaping, as well as easing the need to clearly delineate criteria a priori in applied settings. This formalization requires little mathematical ability. It does, however, depend on a perspective of viewing operant responses not as unitary events but rather as a population of behaviors clustered in time. This perspective is, I believe, in many regards closer to Skinner’s original intent in defining operants.
GREGORY GALBICKA (sanofi aventis)
Gregory Galbicka completed undergraduate and graduate training programs in Experimental Analysis of Behavior at the University of Florida, earning a Ph.D. in 1981. That training included both applied work, in personalized systems of instruction with Hank Pennypacker, and basic research on aversive control and behavioral pharmacology as a student of Marc Branch. In 1982 he journeyed north to collaborate with John Platt at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. They published work on differentiation, of interresponse-times (IRTs) through punishment--providing a basis for understanding the puzzling phenomenon of 'shock-maintained behavior'--and of IRTs and spatial response location through reinforcement under percentile schedules. In 1987, he accepted a position at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where he remained for 13 years, ultimately becoming the Chief of the Department of Neurobehavioral Assessment. During his tenure there he continued to work in the areas of response differentiation and behavioral pharmacology. He has served several terms on the Board of Editors of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB), and was an Associate Editor from 1988-1992. He also chaired the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee there, an experience that proved profitable in 2000, when he accepted an offer to develop the Animal Use Program for newly-formed Aventis Pharmaceuticals. Today, he is the Global Associate Director within Laboratory Animal Science and Welfare of the sanofi aventis Group, responsible for Global Administration and Planning. His publications include several dozen papers in a variety of scientific journals on a range of topics from those mentioned above to list-learning in monkeys and drug effects thereon, circadian rhytmicity in complex operants, assessing monkey's demand for television as environmental enrichment, and shaping smoking cessation. He has also authored several textbook chapters and review articles, and edited a special edition of JEAB on Behavioral Dynamics. Although no longer directly involved in laboratory research, he continues to consult on projects involving percentile schedules in smoking cessation, and on behavioral allocation in the developmentally disabled. His hobbies including driving his Audi to and from work, building furniture, and living in the mountains of lower New York state with his wife, two dogs, and several dozen fish.



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