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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Special Event #79
SQAB Tutorial: To Infinity and Beyond: Why Zoos and Other "Nontraditional" Settings are Important to the Future of Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 23, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
103AB (CC)
Area: EAB/AAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Lindsay Mehrkam (University of Florida)
Presenting Authors: : CHRISTY A. ALLIGOOD (Disney's Animal Kingdom)

In recent years, several authors have argued that zoos should be interested in behavior analysis (e.g., Maple 2007, Bloomsmith et al. 2007). But why should behavior analysts be interested in zoos? Modern zoological institutions place a growing emphasis on animal welfare, with goals including encouraging species-typical behavior, introducing novel sensory stimulation, and providing opportunities for choices within animal environments. In pursuit of these goals, zoos have recruited experts in specialized areas such as nutrition, pathology, endocrinology, aquatic medicine, and water chemistry. Although behavioral outcomes are central to animal welfare goals, the roster of experts at a given zoo rarely includes a behavior analyst. In this presentation, Dr. Christy Alligood will discuss the influence of behavior analysis on current practices at zoological institutions, including some examples of training and environmental enrichment at Disney's Animal Kingdom. She also will suggest some ways in which the zoo setting presents golden opportunities for applications of behavior analysis, and some reasons that "nontraditional" settings in general are important to the future of behavior analysis.

CHRISTY A. ALLIGOOD (Disney's Animal Kingdom)
Dr. Christy Alligood received an M.A. (2003) from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Ph.D. (2007) from West Virginia University. She is a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). Since 2007, she has worked at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. Much of her initial work focused on a multi-faceted conservation program for Key Largo woodrats, which received a Bean Award for Significant Achievement in Captive Breeding from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2009) and a Federal Challenge Grant (2010) in collaboration with the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge for population monitoring work on Key Largo. Dr. Alligood now works with the Science Operations Team, where she focuses on projects involving training, enrichment, and animal learning. She is an instructor for the AZA Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings professional development course. She is the coordinator of the ABAI Special Interest Groups Board, co-coordinator of the ABAI Applied Animal Behavior Program Area, and past president of the Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis. Dr. Alligood also has worked in home, school, and clinic settings with children with challenging behavior and their caregivers and teachers, and has supervised students in these areas of practice.
Keyword(s): animal behavior, animal training



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