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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Symposium #505
Issues of Fidelity and Precision When Scaling and Disseminating Behavioral Principles
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Alpine, Swissotel
Area: TPC/CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Amanda Munoz-Martinez (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: William C. Follette (University of Nevada, Reno)

While behavior analysis has far-reaching implications for behavior and cultural change, disseminating and implementing those principles in more diverse settings has met with several stumbling blocks. Among those are scaling the application of principles to large units such as communities and altering cultural practices. Additionally, disseminating principles to primary service providers has sometimes made use of terminology and practices that are removed from the basic science. This symposium will address the how translating our basic science to the application of behavior change at multiple levels might occur with more scope and fidelity.

Keyword(s): Culture interventions, dissemination, fidelity
Contextualistic Principles in the Evolution of Cultural Practices
ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute)
Abstract: The same contextualist principals that have led to a revolution in our understanding of human behavior are relevant to understanding the evolution of cultural practices. In this presentation, I will present a framework for a pragmatic science of cultural evolution. I will propose a definition of human well-being and a set of measures of well-being. I will then focus on the larger social system of groups and organizations, including especially corporations that affect well-being. I will describe the recent evolution of these systems, concentrating on, but not limiting the discussion to, the United States. I will then describe principles that are guiding efforts to bring about change in the cultural practices relevant to wellbeing and will describe numerous efforts that are underway to influence the direction of cultural evolution as it relates to the prevention of psychological, behavioral, and health problems.

Examining the Principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy


It is always important but difficult to identify the core principles on which any therapy or clinical intervention is entirely based and this task is even greater in the context of whole therapeutic regimes or packages. However, this endeavor is particularly important for behavior therapies, that are meant to be rooted in behavioral principles, if not directly supported by empirical evidence. But, there are limited discussions of this issue and thus third wave behavior therapies are acutely at risk of slipping away from their behavioral roots. This situation would be good neither for the therapy, nor for behavior analysis in general. This paper explores the difficulties inherent in anchoring any third wave behavior therapy package to its behavioral roots and discusses the situation in ACT in particular


Functional Analytical Psychotherapy Based on Processes

AMANDA MUNOZ-MARTINEZ (University of Nevada, Reno)

Behavioral therapies have demonstrated along year a strong effectiveness in psychological treatments (APA, 2015). However, there are an important number of therapies, whose explanatory mechanisms do not have a clear bond with well-developed theoretical principles (Kazdin, 2007; Rosen & Davison, 2003). Therefore, explanations about why those therapies work are hardly known. Clinical Behavior Analysis (CBA) is a behavioral approach to traditional psychotherapy (Guinther & Dougher, 2013), whose goal is integrating principles from behavioral traditions to clinical practice. One of the therapies developed within CBA is Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP). According to FAP, therapist-client interaction in session promotes changes out-of-session. Here, therapist sets the context for producing change in-session (discriminative stimulus for clients problems and improvements) and delivers consequences (e.g. reinforcing, punishing). However, some FAP researches developed therapeutic strategies, whose connection with behavioral principles is unclear (e.g. ACL FAP model), loosing precision on treatment when they use middle-level terms to explain change. This presentation seeks showing the current state of FAP research based on behavioral principles, the problems of using middle level terms for a coherent therapeutic approach, and the importance of strengthen FAP translational studies to establish the relation between behavioral principles and practice instead to adopt fuzzy explanatory terms.

The Complexity of Conducting a Functional Analysis When You Are Part of the Analytic Unit
WILLIAM C. FOLLETTE (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: One of the hallmarks of behavior analysis is the idiographic approach to analyzing problems. Commonly, this entails conducting a contextualistically sensitive functional analysis. In adult, outpatient settings where there is wide topographical variability in behavior, there are few protocols to guide such analyses. This problem is made significantly more complicated when the clinician is an integral part of the analytic unit. That is, the clinician can participate in all three stimulus functions that influence the very behavior he or she is trying to functionally analyze. This paper will address the difficulties of identifying behavioral principles that affect a client’s behavior when the clinician’s own behavior and history impact that which being functionally analyzed and altered



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