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 #409
Making Behavior Meaningful: Behavior Analytic Studies in Values
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Michigan ABC, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: VRB/OBM; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Ryan Albarado (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Discussant: Alyssa N. Wilson (Saint Louis University)
Abstract: Coming into contact with values and engaging in behavior that’s consistent with one’s chosen values has been associated with many positive outcomes including increases in physical well being, mental health and overall increases in quality of life Increasing behaviors that are consistent with one's chosen values have been deemed as the primary purpose of multiple interventions. The data on basic processes underlying valued action, and the applicability of primary value-based interventions in different contexts is fairly limited. This symposium will expand upon the literature base on values and values-based interventions. The first paper examines the impact of derived values functions on behavioral flexibility and sensitivity to changing contingencies of reinforcement. The second paper transfer of organizational values functions through relational networks. The third paper examines the impact of values based interventions on levels of physical activity. The fourth paper examines the effect a values based protocol on implementation integrity of key parenting skills learned in a Behavioral Parent Training workshop. Implications for future directions and further interventions will be discussed.
Keyword(s): Derived Relations, Physical Activity, Relational Networks, Values
Be Cool, Stay in School: The Role of Derived Relational Responding in University Commitment and Values Convergence
MADISON GAMBLE (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Benjamin Ramos (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Garret M Cantu (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Students commit a minimum of four years to the pursuit of a college degree; the reasons for doing so vary among individuals. Universities strive for excellence in academic performance and progressive research - so when student efficacy falters due to burnout symptoms, the university concurrently struggles. Meyer and Allen’s (1997) three-component model of organizational commitment is a common tool for discussing work performance and employee or student wellbeing. Some levels of commitment are correlated with higher risks of burnout than others. In theory, universities or organizations could see an increase in success rates if all of its members were affectively committed, pursuing their values through performance, and were psychologically flexible. Research supports that greater psychological flexibility can put students in better contact with values centered contingencies of positive reinforcement (Bond, 2006). Using an original RFT based computer program, this pilot study aimed to demonstrate the transfer of organizational values functions through relational networks of arbitrary stimuli making a contribution to potential interventions for employees and student well-being and organizational efficacy.

Values and Behavioral Flexibility: What Are the Effects of Valuing on Sensitivity to Contingencies of Reinforcement?

GINA BOULLION (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Nolan Williams (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

Values have long been vital to the psychological flexibility model and valuing has been the topic of countless papers in the Contextual Behavioral Science community; however, relatively little investigation has been done in regards to how valuing effects behavioral variability and sensitivity to changing contingencies. It is thought that holding rigid ideas about what values one must pursue and how one must pursue them can create fused values, which can result in inflexible behavioral repertories and lowered ability to contact present contingencies of reinforcement. The current study examined behavioral flexibility and sensitivity to changing contingencies of reinforcement by having participants engage in a game, the point of which was to amass the most points by clicking on different stimuli (i.e. chosen value words, meaningless words, non-sense syllables, and arbitrary stimuli), while the point value associated with each stimulus changed periodically. Preliminary data suggest that sensitivity to reinforcers may be inhibited in the presence of values. Implications of contingency sensitivity in the presence of values and future directions will be discussed.


Investigating the Use of an Acceptance and Commitment Training to Enhance a Behavioral Parent Training With Parents of Children With Autism

JILL DEFREITAS (University of South Florida), Timothy M. Weil (University of South Florida)

Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) is an effective teaching package that is often used to teach new parenting skills. It has been found to be effective in teaching these to mastery, but performance often returns back to baseline levels due to competing contingencies and histories of ineffective practices. In an effort to positively affect treatment integrity across time, this study examined the effect an Acceptance and Commitment Training protocol may have on implementation integrity of key parenting skills learned in a BPT workshop. The parent was exposed to a behavioral parent training workshop targeting four parenting tools using a standard behavioral skills training procedure. Follow up measures were collected on implementation integrity and rate of parental coercive behaviors. When mastery of implementation and a low rate of parental coercives were observed, both of these returned toward baseline levels after a period in which no training was in place. Following this, the parent participated in an Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACTr) workshop consisting of experiential exercises, metaphors, and homework assignments. After the workshop, implementation integrity of parenting tools increased further, and frequency of negative parent-child interactions decreased, as well.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Values Based Training to Impact Physical Activity in Adults
JESSICA SYKES (University of South Florida), Timothy M. Weil (University of South Florida)
Abstract: This study aimed to investigate the use of values based training with typically developing adults to affect levels of physical activity recorded by Fit Bit Flex technology in the form of step count. Traditional approaches have shown promise but with mixed results. Interestingly, one must look outside of behavior analysis for interventions attempting to affect control by an individual’s covert verbal behavior. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been shown to be effective in various behavior change areas by using a values based approach that focuses on the control of rules and their motivative functions. An ACT training protocol (ACTr) consisting of values identification, present moment training, and committed action (goal setting) was implemented across four sessions to teach various tools in an effort to relate personal values to physical activity and create short-term and long-term goals with respect to those values. Results show small to moderate increases in physical activity during intervention with continued increases seen in follow-up. These results support the potential of using values based training to increase physical activity levels.



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