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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #377
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Thinking Scientifically about Clinical Psychology: A Prescription for Narrowing the Science-Practice Gap

Monday, May 26, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W375e (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: TPC; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Edward K. Morris, Ph.D.
Chair: Edward K. Morris (The University of Kansas)
SCOTT O. LILIENFELD (Emory University)
Dr. Scott O. Lilienfeld is a professor of psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in psychology (clinical) from the University of Minnesota in 1990. Dr. Lilienfeld is associate editor of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, past president of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, and current president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy. Dr. Lilienfeld has published more than 300 manuscripts on personality disorders, dissociative disorders, psychiatric classification, pseudoscience in psychology, and evidence-based practices in clinical psychology. His 2010 book, 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, examines a host of widespread misunderstandings regarding human behavior. His most recent book, Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, was published in 2013, and is co-authored with psychiatrist Sally Satel. Dr. Lilienfeld is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and (along with Dr. Hal Arkowitz) a regular columnist for Scientific American Mind magazine. In 1998, Dr. Lilienfeld received the David Shakow Award for Outstanding Early Career Contributions to Clinical Psychology from APA Division 12, and in 2007, he was elected as a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Dr. Lilienfeld will begin by laying out the magnitude and scope of the science-practice gap in clinical psychology and allied fields, which refers to striking disjunction between the research evidence for intervention and assessment techniques, on the one hand, and their use in everyday clinical practice, on the other. He will then examine both the distal and proximal sources of this gap, including the resistance to systematic research evidence, with a particular eye on commonplace errors in reasoning to which all of us are prone (e.g., naive realism, confirmation bias, and illusory correlation). In addition, he will discuss the perils of neurocentrism--the assumption that the brain-based level of analysis is inherently more important than other levels of analysis in understanding human behavior--and its implications for research and practice in clinical psychology. He will close with a plea for curricular reform designed to inculcate “fallible humility”--an awareness of our own strengths and limitations as information processors--in the next generation of students.

Target Audience:

Researchers, practitioners, instructors, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates interested in clinical psychology.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event, participants should be able to (1) Describe the nature and magnitude of the science-practice gap in mental health, including survey statistics on practitioners' use of evidence-based interventions; (2) Identify important sources of this gap, including impediments in reasoning (e.g., naive realism, confirmation bias) and reasons for resistance to scientific evidence; and (3) Understand the dangers or potential dangers of neurocentrism as an approach to understanding human behavior.



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