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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Poster Session #203
TPC Sun Noon
Sunday, May 25, 2014
12:00 PM–2:00 PM
W375a-d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
29. Who Shot J.R.? An Analysis of Cumulative Kantor and Skinner References in The Psychological Record
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Thomas Larum (St. Cloud State University), Alexis Washa (St. Cloud State University), BENJAMIN N. WITTS (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: Jacob Robert Kantor was a logician of science and was responsible for the creation and refinement of interbehaviorism, which is a natural science philosophy of behavior that emphasizes a field approach. Kantor's influence on behavior analysis is large, though many behavior analysts may be unaware of his impact. One of Kantor's many important contributions was the development of The Psychological Record, a peer-reviewed journal that focuses on basic, applied, and theoretical works of a behavior-analytic nature. While Kantor’s field-theoretical approach to behavior is still relevant, it may be the case that too little exposure is, at least in part, responsible for its limited acceptance. It is the purpose of the historical review to trace the references in The Psychological Record from its inception until 2012 comparing the references to J. R. Kantor and B. F. Skinner. In doing so, Kantor’s influence is measured against that of his counterpart. Results indicate that, generally speaking, Kantor’s influence was large and comparable to that of Skinner’s up until his death, while Skinner’s influence extended beyond his expiration. A discussion on the potential resurgence of interbehaviorism accompanies this analysis.
30. Detecting False Positives in Non-Concurrent Multiple Baselines
Area: TPC; Domain: Basic Research
MARISSA A. NOVOTNY (Applied Behavior Consultants, Inc.), John T. Rapp (Auburn University), Joel Jelinski (St. Cloud State University), Elizabeth A. Lood (St. Cloud State University), Ayriel Steffes (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: This study evaluated the probability of generating false positives (i.e., increases in a hypothetical dependent variable without an independent variable) with three-tiered nonconcurrent multiple baseline (NMBL) designs. We generated four sets of three-tiered NMBL designs. The first, second, and third sets consisted of fixed A-phase data points for all three tiers at 0%, 25% and 50%, respectively, and randomly generated data points in the B phases. The fourth set consisted of randomly generated data points in the A and B phases for all three tiers. Results indicated that false positives were most probable with NMBL designs comprised of fixed A-phase data points when baseline levels were set at 25% or lower and one tier was excluded from visual inspection. Lastly, results indicate that no false positives were generated with NMBL designs containing randomly generated A-phase and B-phase data points based on visual inspection of either two or three tiers. We briefly discuss the implications and limitations of the findings from the current study.
31. Forced-Choice Philosophy
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
RYAN LEE O'DONNELL (Brohavior), Mark Malady (Brohavior; HSI/WARC)
Abstract: In “From AI to Zeitgeist” (1988), Nicholas Henry Pronko provides a preliminary examination of the consequences for understanding behavior that different assumptions provide. His book comprises a series of topics in alphabetical order with the goal of providing his readers with a different view of the problems, questions, and quandaries bearing on the philosophy of science for psychology. The fundamental problems considered throughout this poster will not incorporate the latest findings of the field or references to the most recent literature. Intellectual gems will be included, however, in an attempt to both serve our purpose and with the aim of saving them from being buried in the cumulative dust of history, awaiting discovery once again. (Pronko, 1988). The presenters will utilize a graphical forced-choice procedure to help guide the learner through the topics discussed (over 90 topics ranging from Artificial Intelligence [AI] to Zeitgeist), providing attendees with a (re)kindled fire for the philosophy of the science for psychology.
32. Was Skinner a Sexist? An Analysis of Skinners Use of Gender-Biased Language
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
ANNA MARIE WHALEY (The University of Kansas), Edward K. Morris (The University of Kansas)
Abstract: B. F. Skinner was often considered a man ahead of times. Given his 1992 comment that, were he to rewrite Verbal Behavior, he would remove its gender-biased language (e.g., he/she), we explore changes in his use of that language over time and in comparison to his peers. Forty-five of his primary source works between 1930 and 1990 were quasi-randomly selected for review. They were classified by type (e.g., journal articles, chapters, books, book reviews) and by content (i.e., empirical, conceptual, methodological). And, they were searched and coded for sexist language (e.g., from PDFs converted to Word) based on the 1977 American Psychological Associations (APA) guidelines regarding sexist language. Our initial analysis shows that Skinner used gender-biased language in 28 of the 45 publications, but less often after 1974. Further analyses describe his use of sexist language by the type and content of his publications and in comparison to his peers. The discussion addresses how the changes in Skinners practices correlate with cultural changes (e.g., the womens movement), how they were confounded by changes in APAs guidelines, and the meaning of sexist language in Skinners time and our time.
33. Using Correlation Notation to Represent Behavioral Phenomena
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Abstract: Across scientific disciplines, including behavior analysis, fundamental principles related to the natural world are found by direct analysis of phenomena. However, “everyday language about behavior is not generally precise enough for technical or scientific description of behavior” (J. Michael, 1995). Since the 17th century, precise notations for symbolizing such complex relationships have facilitated not only the communication and refinement of these ideas but also the development of that field. The field of behavior analysis is without such a system. Correlation Notation provides a comprehensive means to systematically depict even complex behavioral phenomena. With just over a handful of symbols, the notation is parsimonious without being simplistic. This system is not aligned with any particular theory but rather simply describes interrelations—as those found between the environment and behavior. The notation constitutes an easy-to-use but powerful technology, for not only newcomers to behavior analysis but also scholars.
34. The Experimental Design: It's all in the Name, Right?
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
MICHAEL FANTETTI (Western New England University, Brohavior  ), Val Saini (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) outline the need for behavior analysts, as scientists, to define their practices in a technological fashion. This means that a typically trained reader could replicate that procedure well enough to produce the same results (p. 95). By naming experimental designs, behavior analysts seek to streamline the process of dissemination for their research. However, over time, the names and uses for different experimental designs have become less clear. Through this poster, we seek to describe different experimental designs the way that they were suggested for use in behavior analysis and give some limitations that may be seen when using each design. We also make suggestions for pragmatic alterations to the way behavior analysts discuss these designs in the future. This includes the discussion of whether our current naming system appropriately captures the functional relations demonstrated and if there is a necessity for such a system as our science begins to ask more complex questions.
35. A Meta-Analytic Review of the Interrater Agreement between Visual Analysts
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
JENNIFER NINCI (Texas A&M University), Kimberly Vannest (Texas A&M University)
Abstract: Visual analysis is comprehensive in consideration of the indices of behavior change, which is in part why it is the most widely applied method of data interpretation in single-case research. A previous research synthesis on visual analysis by Ottenbacher (1993) demonstrated only low to moderate levels of interrater agreement between visual analytic ratings of graphed data. This is an issue of reliability, affecting the advancement of single-case research to more effectively contribute to the movement on evidence-based educational practices. We determined to statistically examine potential moderators affecting the variability in the proportion of interrater agreement between visual analysts in the interest of identifying factors which support the scientific principles of visual analysis. After a comprehensive search a total of 25 peer reviewed journal articles met criteria for inclusion, and seven articles were deemed to have homogeneous methods for a preliminary investigation of the mediators of reliable visual analysis. Of interest conceptually from the literature were the effects of participant characteristics and of training. Preliminary results suggest that specific training may increase the proportion of interrater agreement to meet more acceptable standards. The final analysis of studies is underway in evaluating the potential moderator of dichotomous versus multi-categorical rating scales.
36. On the Origin and Development of the Metacontingency Conceptual Framework: Variables that Controlled the Textual Verbal Behavior Related to its Proposal.
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
DIEGO ZILIO (State University of São Paulo), Kester Carrara (State University of São Paulo)

Our goal in this poster is to discuss the origin and development of the concept of metacontingency and of its auxiliary concepts (e.g., interlocking contingencies, aggregate product, macrocontingency, and receiving system) by analyzing the variables that controlled the textual verbal behavior related to its proposals. Three papers will be analyzed: (a) Glenns paper Metacontingencies in Walden Two, for being the first in which the term metacontingency appeared; (b) Glenns 1988 paper Contingencies and metacontingencies: toward a synthesis of behavior analysis and cultural materialism, since its one of the first in which Glenn added new terms and refined its definitions; and (c) Glenns and Malott 2004 paper Complexity and selection: implications for organizational change, for being one of the latest containing significant reviews and the proposal of a new concept. We will argue that the verbal behavior related to the origin and development of the metacontingency explanatory model was not based on empirical data, but mainly on (a) Skinners interpretations (as opposed to explanations) of social behavior (especially his book Science and Human Behavior, and paper Selection by Consequences); (b) Skinners utopian novel Walden Two, which is not an empirical source; and (c) analogies between the selection processes occurring at three different levels natural selection, operant selection and cultural selection which is not consensually well received by behavior analysts and by non-behavior analyst scientists and philosophers that work on the fields of evolutionary biology, sociology and anthropology. In this context, we intend to discuss some of the dangers of establishing a conceptual model of explanation which origin and development were not necessarily driven by data. The main problem is the verbal distance between the events studied by the scientist and his verbal behavior of proposing explanations, meaning that scientists verbal behavior is controlled by variables other than the phenomenon that he is trying to explain. This distance, by its turn, increases the probability of faulty inferences, surplus meaning, undesired speculations, and eventual lack of parsimony. We will argue that these problems should be viewed as a word of caution in the field of social behavior and metacontingency.

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