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 #102
Autism III
Friday, November 30, 2001
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Little Theatre Hall
Area: AUT
Chair: Vanessa Kay Jensen (The Cleveland Clinic Foundation)
Beyond the Educational Model: Collaboration with Science, Psychology, and Pediatrics
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
VANESSA KAY JENSEN (The Cleveland Clinic Foundation)
Abstract: Despite well-discussed shortcomings of individual studies, the composite published data to date support that behavioral intervention, particularly applied behavior analysis (ABA), is effective in improving functioning in children with autism. Nevertheless, such services remain largely inaccessible for many, due to a lack of trained professionals, limited funding, and/or poor acceptance of the intervention. As has been discussed by Jacobson (2000) intervention for autism, whether empirically based or the latest fad, has largely been driven by consumers, outside of the realm of science and the health care arena. Behaviorists have been less than ideally effective in disseminating information regarding the efficacy of behavioral autism treatment to the broader professional communities, particularly psychology and pediatrics, and creating allies and advocates within these groups through collaboration. An alternative model for provision of services exists outside of the traditional educational system. This paper discusses the creation of specialized autism services within a tertiary medical facility, utilizing existing resources, such as rehabilitative services, pediatric specialists, and research and fund-raising experts. Such joint efforts can offer greater educational opportunities for a range of professionals, support ongoing research regarding etiology and treatment, encourage collaboration with scientists at all levels, and link efforts in biological treatments with those occurring in the behavioral world. Strategies, difficulties, and benefits of this model of collaborative practice will be discussed.
Overselectivity: An Attentional or Memory Effect?
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
EVELYN GIBSON (University College, London), Phil Reed (University College, London)
Abstract: Stimulus overselectivity can be induced in normally developed adult humans if they carry out tasks with a large memory load concurrently with discrimination-training involving complex cues. Subjects were first trained to discriminate between four, two-component compound stimuli. Two of these stimuli were always reinforced. The subjects were then tested on the components of the compound stimuli, prior to extinction of responses to those components on which they showed overselectivity. The subjects were then retested on all the components as described above. Memory- and attentional- based explanations make different predictions regarding the amount of overselectivity that will be shown following this retraining. If overselectivity decreases as a result of the manipulation, then this would suggest that memory-load is an important factor in the development of stimulus overselectivity. Extinguishing the preferred stimulus shifts preference to the initially nonpreferred stimulus. If the manipulation does effect overselectivity, then it shows that all the components of the complex stimuli initially were attended to by the subject, and this suggests that overselectivity is produced by constraints on memory. In contrast, if the manipulation does not effect overselectivity, then the subject may initially have only attended to certain aspects of the complex cue.



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