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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Paper Session #154
Challenges to Behavior Analysts: Do We See Ourselves as Others See Us?
Sunday, May 29, 2005
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Lake Huron (8th floor)
Area: CSE
Chair: Richard F. Rakos (Cleveland State University)
The Effects of a Training Module Designed to increase Knowledge of ABA and Change Misconceptions
Domain: Service Delivery
LARAINE WINSTON (University of South Florida), Michelle Sereno (University of South Florida), Alexandra Edward (Behavior Analysis Services Program), Camille V. Pedone (University of South Florida)
Abstract: While there has been some debate in the literature, consensus indicates that ABA and its practitioners remain largely isolated from other social sciences and consumers are less familiar with the discipline. In our study general knowledge of, and receptiveness to, behavior analysis will be measured through a Likert-scale survey administered in a pre-post test format to participants in a three hour training module defining and contrasting various types of “behavioral” treatments and interventions, common myths and realities regarding ABA, who can practice ABA in terms of regulations and skill sets, potential misapplications of commonly familiar behavioral principles and how one becomes certified or otherwise qualified to practice. Class participants are primarily mental health and social service professionals. The results of the pre-post assessments will be analyzed using an AB design. The instrument will also be administered as a survey to groups not participating in class including university faculty and students in the social sciences, professionals of other disciplines and potential consumer groups. The results for those participating in classes will also be compared with those not participating.
Is the “Sense of Autonomy” a Primary Reinforcer for Humans?
Domain: Theory
RICHARD F. RAKOS (Cleveland State University)
Abstract: In previous work, I have argued that the human belief in free will (agency) is a biologically adaptive motivating operation that has been selected for its survival value. If that is true, then it follows that the human “sense of autonomy” is a primary rather than conditioned reinforcer, similar to food/water, sex, and pain avoidance. In that case, there exists for each person a basic human need or desire to acquire some amount of “sense of autonomy;” the intensity of this need is related to biological variables, much like metabolic rate, sex drive, and pain threshold influence an individual’s need or desire for other primary reinforcers. Conditioning almost certainly modifies the functional potency of the “sense of autonomy” stimulus by introducing characteristics that affect its stimulus value, as is the case with various foods and sexual practices. Further, culturally developed secondary reinforcers related to the sense of autonomy, such as the “literature of freedom,” interact with the primary reinforcer to shape and guide behavior in a deterministic world. The implications of this conceptual shift are explored in terms of the human striving for “freedom,” choice and self-control, social problems, political and socio-economic systems, and positive human qualities such as creativity and altruism.



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