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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Invited Panel #427
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
VBSIG Award Winners Discuss Jack Michael's Influence on Theory, Research, and Practice
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Grand Ballroom EF, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: VRB/TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
CE Instructor: Caio F. Miguel, Ph.D.
Panelists: MARK L. SUNDBERG (Sundberg and Associates), DAVID C. PALMER (Smith College), HENRY D. SCHLINGER (California State University, LA)

Among the behavior analysts who first appreciated the scope and power of Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior, Jack Michael has been by far the most influential. In addition to having trained many of the most prominent figures in the field, Jack relentlessly refined and sharpened Skinner's analysis over the course of five decades. In honor of his unparalleled contributions, the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group annually acknowledges a prominent figure in the field with the Jack Michael Award. The first three winners of the award will speak about Jack's influence on their work and on the field as a whole. Among the topics they will discuss are multiple control, establishing operations, automatic reinforcement, recall, and private events.Dr. Jack Michael was born in 1926 in Los Angeles and entered UCLA in 1943, majoring in chemistry. He served two years in the US army and returned to UCLA in 1946 as a psychology major. He obtained a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at UCLA, finishing in 1955. As a graduate student, his main interests were statistical methodology, physiological psychology, and learning theory. During his first teaching job (Kansas University), he was much influenced by B. F. Skinner’sScience and Human Behaviorand, throughout his teaching career, he was primarily involved in teaching behavioral psychology (Kansas University, University of Houston, Arizona State University, and from 1967, at Western Michigan University). In 1957, as a result of influence by the rehabilitation psychologist, Lee Meyerson, Jack Michael began to apply Skinner’s approach to individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and physical disabilities. During the next several years, “behavior modification” was in a period of rapid expansion and Dr. Michael contributed with his teaching, writing, and public presentations. He spent much of his academic career concerned with the technical terminology of behavior analysis, basic theory regarding motivation, and verbal behavior. He contributed to the founding of the Association for Behavior Analysis (International) in 1974 and served as its President in 1979. Among his many awards are: 1989 Western Michigan University’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar; 2002 Award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis: ABAI; 2008 The Murray Sidman Award for Enduring Contributions to Behavior Analysis: Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy; 2009 Ellen P. Reese Award: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies; 2012 Victor Laties Lifetime of Service Award: Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (SEAB); and in 2012, he was the first recipient of the award named in his honor: The Jack Michael Outstanding Contributions in Verbal Behavior Award from the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group at ABAI.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience: Behavior analysts and others interested in Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior, its theory, research, and practice.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the panel, the participant will be able to: (1) discuss several topics related to Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior, which Jack Michael has refined and sharpened; (2) describe how a single stimulus change can have multiple effects on verbal, nonverbal, and respondent behaviors; (3) discuss how the concept of automatic reinforcement can explain the rapid shaping of verbal behavior in children even in environments in which explicit instruction by caregivers is rare.
MARK L. SUNDBERG (Sundberg and Associates)
Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D, received his doctorate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University (1980), under the direction of Dr. Jack Michael. He is the author of the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), and the initial developer and co-author of the ABLLS and the book Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities. He has published over 50 professional papers and 4 book chapters. He is the founder and past editor of the journal The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, a twice past-president of The Northern California Association for Behavior Analysis, a past-chair of the Publication Board of ABAI, and has served on the Board of Directors of the B. F. Skinner Foundation. Dr. Sundberg has given hundreds of conference presentations and workshops nationally and internationally, and taught 80 college and university courses on behavior analysis, verbal behavior, sign language, and child development. He is a licensed psychologist with over 40 years of clinical experience who consults for public and private schools that serve children with autism.  His awards include the 2001 “Distinguished Psychology Department Alumnus Award” from Western Michigan University, and the 2013 “Jack Michael Outstanding Contributions in Verbal Behavior Award” from ABAI’s Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group.
DAVID C. PALMER (Smith College)
With undergraduate degrees in geology and English, Dave Palmer knew nothing about behaviorism until he stumbled on Skinner’s Walden Two. He was electrified and soon became a public nuisance trying to persuade all and sundry of the merits of a behavioral interpretation of human problems. After a decade of fruitlessly attempting to start an experimental community, he turned to graduate school. He studied inter-response times and conditioned reinforcement in pigeons at the University of Massachusetts under John Donahoe in the early 1980s. Upon graduation, he took a job teaching statistics and behavior analysis at Smith College, where he remains today. His interests in behavior analysis are broad, but his main contributions have all been attempts to extend Skinner's interpretive accounts of human behavior, particularly in the domains of language, memory, problem solving, and private events. Together with John Donahoe, he authored the text, Learning and Complex Behavior, which attempts to offer a comprehensive biobehavioral account of such phenomena. He still thinks Skinner was right about nearly everything.
HENRY D. SCHLINGER (California State University, LA)
Henry D. (Hank) Schlinger Jr. received his Ph.D. in psychology (applied behavior analysis) from Western Michigan University under the supervision of Jack Michael. He then completed a two-year National Institutes of Health-funded post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral pharmacology with Alan Poling. He was a full tenured professor of psychology at Western New England University in Springfield, MA, before moving to Los Angeles in 1998. He is now professor of psychology and former director of the M.S. Program in Applied Behavior Analysis in the Department of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Schlinger has published numerous scholarly articles and commentaries in 25 different journals. He also has authored or co-authored three books, Psychology: A Behavioral Overview (1990), A Behavior-Analytic View of Child Development (1995) (which was translated into Japanese), and Introduction to Scientific Psychology (1998). He is a past editor of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and The Behavior Analyst, and on the editorial boards of several other journals. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.



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