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.


First International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

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Paper Session #47
Age and the Elderly
Thursday, November 29, 2001
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
White Hall
Area: DEV
Chair: Vanessa Kay Jensen (The Cleveland Clinic Foundation)
Age as a Dispositional Category from a Behavioral Perspective
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
ROSA LACASELLA (Universidad Central de Venezuela)
Abstract: Early in the 20th century, most psychologists working in the area of development devoted their research efforts to the verification of cognitive and psychomotor skills in children in relation to age. Possibly, the interest in age for the interpretation of development events has its origins in a biological conception of man. This notion has undoubtedly had important conceptual, methodological and practical implications in the approach to development. The present work discusses three aspects: the usefulness of this approach for the explanation of developmental- related events, the conception derived from a behavioral perspective and its paradigmatic application to linguistic behavior.
Differences in Stimulus Equivalence Performance Amongst the Institutionalized and Independently Living Elderly
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
STEPHEN GALLAGHER (University of Ulster), Michael Keenan (University of Ulster), Karola Dillenburger (Queens University of Belfast)
Abstract: Differences in stimulus equivalence performance were shown amongst the institutionalized and independently living elderly. These differences were also shown in Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) performance and levels of independent behavior assessed by care staff. Overall findings from these experiments suggest that equivalence performance is highly correlated to MMSE scores. Of the 30 residents who scored 27 or above on the MMSE, 27 responded equivalently (90%). More interestingly, the data from these experiments have also shown that equivalence performance is also correlated to levels of independence in behavioral repertoire. Of the 31 subjects who scored highly in the independent behavior assessment survey, 27 responded equivalently (87%). These findings may have implications regarding the use of the equivalence paradigm as a diagnostic tool in assessing elderly clients’ needs in institutional care. All 45 subjects tested in the above experiments had no difficulty in discriminating the test stimuli as they correctly responded to reflexive relations. These data suggest that the problem may lie in sensitivity to changes in contingencies. Such difficulties may be the result of the high levels of non-contingent reinforcement that occur in institutional settings.



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