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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #80
Expanding the Methodologies Used in Behavior Analysis: Potential Means for Enhancing Progressivity
Saturday, May 23, 2009
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
North 222 AB
Area: CBM/TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Michael Levin (University of Nevada-Reno)
Abstract: Behavior analytic research has traditionally emphasized the use of time series designs, somewhat to the exclusion of other potential methodologies. As behavior analysis continues to be applied to new areas, such as clinical behavior analysis, there appears to be an increasing need for expanding the methodological approaches used to address such issues. For example, developing methods to explore processes of change underlying interventions for targeted populations and the potential role of group designs, not only as a means for communicating with other areas of psychology, but also as a way of addressing questions that are important to the field. A series of talks will be presented describing how methods typically used in other areas of psychology, such as group designs and analysis, can be incorporated into a behavior analytic approach. Studies will also be presented to provide examples of how these methodologies can be specifically applied. These talks will include a discussion of the potential implications of using such methodologies in terms of scientific strategy and progressivity in behavior analysis as a field.
Methodological Considerations to Advance Clinical Behavior Analysis
WILLIAM C. FOLLETTE (University of Nevada Reno)
Abstract: Behavior analysis has long embraced single subject designs in order to demonstrate control over relevant outcomes in experimental and clinical settings. The fact is that a failure to consider variations of other research designs, including group designs, has limited the influence of behavior analysis on other fields addressing behavior change. This paper will briefly review the virtues of single subject designs and then propose other strategies using modifications of group designs that can satisfy behavior analysts and better impact the larger scientific community. The main focus of the paper will be on how one can maximize information about both individual and group effects while still making reasonable inferences about causal variables.
Combining Elements of Time-Series and Group Designs in an Analysis of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Components
JENNIFER BOULANGER (University of Nevada, Reno), Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: In order for a clinical behavioral science to progress, it is necessary to examine treatments packages at the level of processes of change via meditational and component analyses. These are traditionally conducted in large scale dismantling studies in which the full treatment package is compared to a reduced treatment that does not include specific components. Such studies are expensive and difficult to mount, resulting in limited impact and occurring late in the dissemination cycle. An alternative is to continuously test specific treatment technologies or components and their putative processes of change in small studies, with control conditions and measures selected to focus on theoretically critical comparisons. To demonstrate, we will present a study utilizing elements of both time-series and group designs to examine two components of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for adults suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety. Participants completed process and outcome measures at 16-22 different time-points, including baselines of varying length, a specified number of treatment sessions, and monthly follow-up assessments. The mixed design of this study allows for an acceptable degree of experimental control without denying or delaying treatment to participants, while the use of repeated measures allows for better tests of treatment mediation.
The Utility of a Group Design to Assess the Effects of Fluency Training for Early Literacy
JONATHAN WEINSTEIN (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (The University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Many contemporary behavior analytic approaches to education prefer analytic strategies that maintain the individual student as the unit of analysis. While there are certainly important conceptual and pragmatic reasons for this approach, there may be additional benefits to combining these methods within research designs that can also be studied at the level of the group. Mixed designs of this type have the potential to achieve experimental control and to explore mechanisms of action without the need to reverse or delay an effective intervention. In this study, a small sample of first grade students received fluency training for phonemic awareness. The results of this intervention demonstrate that early exposure to phonemes enhances reading performance over time. Additionally, mechanisms of action relevant to the process of fluency training were explored to determine their relationship to student outcomes.
The Role of Group Design Methods in Behavior Analysis: Contextual Behavioral Science as a Model
MICHAEL LEVIN (University of Nevada-Reno), Roger Vilardaga (University of Nevada, Reno), Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Developments within clinical behavior analysis have lead to an increased interest in group design methodologies for testing theoretical models and interventions. These methods can provide unique opportunities for answering important scientific questions as well as for communicating with other fields in psychology. However, behavior analysts have often warned against the use of such methodologies, suggesting the need to address the potential limitations of these approaches and their place in behavior analysis. In this paper we will present a contextual behavioral science approach to group design methodologies, discussing the potential role of various methods including component, efficacy, and effectiveness/dissemination studies as well as meditational analysis within behavior analytic scientific strategy. We will discuss how these group designs can be used to test principles of behavior change scaled into analytic abstractive theoretical models, providing an opportunity for testing the scope of abstracted functional analysis of complex behavior. This is important for both testing theoretical models linked to basic principles as well as exploring whether interventions can produce a broad impact within targeted populations. We will also review some of the research conducted on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy within this talk to provide an example of this approach.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh