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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #255
Toward a Complete Technology of Reinforcer Identification
Sunday, May 26, 2019
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom EF
Area: PRA; Domain: Basic Research
PSY/BACB/QABA/NASP CE Offered. CE Instructor: Richard Graff, Ph.D.
Chair: Paula Ribeiro Braga Kenyon (Trumpet Behavioral Health)
Presenting Authors: : RICHARD GRAFF (May Institute)

Behavior analyst practitioners use reinforcement-based procedures to increase desirable behavior and to reduce undesirable behavior. The success of these procedures depends in part on the clinician’s ability to identify reinforcers and deliver them in an effective manner. Understanding how to identify reinforcers is critical to designing and implementing effective reinforcement-based interventions, and requires a working knowledge of preference assessments. However, there are few resources available to practitioners that synthesize the rich technology of reinforcer identification that behavior analysts developed over the past 30 years. This tutorial reviews different preference assessment methods that have been published in the behavior analytic literature, how to identify stimuli to include in assessments, the prerequisite skills required for each assessment, and the conditions under which assessments should be conducted to maximize the validity of preference hierarchies that are established. Variables that influence preference assessment outcomes are reviewed, including the effects of pre-assessment motivating operations, displacement effects that result from including items from different categories (edible, tangible, social) on the same assessment, and the role of differential consequences following selection responses.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Behavior analytic practitioners and clinicians who work with individuals with autism and developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe three different preference assessment methods and the prerequisite skills required for each assessment; (2) describe the role of pre-assessment motivating operations on preference assessment outcomes; (3) describe potential displacement effects when different categories of stimuli are included on the same preference assessment; (4) describe the role of differential consequences when implementing preference assessment procedures.
RICHARD GRAFF (May Institute)

Richard B. Graff, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, has worked in the field of autism and developmental disabilities for 32 years. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Clinical Training and Services at the May Institute. He previously served as Senior Scientist and Clinical Director at the New England Center for Children and as a clinical consultant to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services. Rick is on the Board of Directors of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy and serves on the Conference Planning Committee for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts. Rick also serves on the Code Compliance Committee of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®). He is an Adjunct Faculty member for Western New England University and Endicott College. Rick's research interests include preference and reinforcement, choice, functional analysis and treatment of challenging behavior, and skill acquisition in learners with severe disabilities. Rick has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavioral Interventions, and his research has been published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavioral Interventions, Behavior Modification, Research in Developmental Disabilities, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Behavior Analysis in Practice, and The Journal of Special Education.




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