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.


10th International Conference; Stockholm, Sweden; 2019

Event Details

Previous Page


Invited Paper Session #5
CE Offered: BACB

Noble Aspirations

Sunday, September 29, 2019
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Level 4, A1
Area: PCH; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Peter Killeen, Ph.D.
Chair: Maria E. Malott (Association for Behavior Analysis International)
PETER KILLEEN (Arizona State University)

Dr. Peter Killeen is professor emeritus at Arizona State University. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Texas, Cambridge University, and the Centre for Advanced Study, Oslo. He is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, a Senior Scientist Awardee from NIMH, a president of the Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior (from which he received the Poetry in Science Award), held the APA’s F. J. McGuigan Lectureship on Understanding the Human Mind (!), and received the Ernest and Josephine Hilgard Award for the Best Theoretical Paper on hypnosis (!!). Dr. Killeen has made many innovative and fundamental contributions to the experimental and quantitative analysis of behavior. His major work includes the development of incentive theory, culminating in the mathematical principles of reinforcement (MPR; Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1994), the behavioral theory of timing (BeT: Psychological Review, 1988), and a new theory of ADHD (Curr Dir Psyc Sci, 2016). He is the author of over 150 peer-reviewed papers, most of which have been cited; a few ignored; a couple cursed. He has served on the boards of editors of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Behavioural ProcessesJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Psychological Review, Brain & Behavioral Functions, and Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews. Dr. Killeen's quantitative and conceptual developments have enriched behavior analysis and the world beyond.


We shall hold this conference in a country that regularly celebrates noble achievements—recognizing them every year with Prizes to individuals in diverse fields who have “conferred the greatest benefit on mankind”. The first year’s laureates included William Röntgen, the discoverer of x-rays; Emil von Behring, developer of an anti-toxin for the deadly disease of diphtheria; and Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross Movement and Geneva Convention. None of the ensuing benefits would have materialized if each of these men had not had aspirations and focused their energies on achieving them. What are our aspirations, fellow behavior analysts? How do we marshal our energies? How do we make progress toward achieving them? Each of these laureates provide a model for different kinds of aspiration. Röntgen, the basic scientist, was studying very different phenomena when he made his life-saving discovery. von Behring, the applied scientist, was persistently focused on the problem of one deadly disease. Dunant, the social activist, had a vision of a world of nurturance, peace, and brotherhood. These kinds of themes are not only present in, but proclaimed by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, whose mission is to “contribute to the well-being of society” through basic, translational, and applied research, and practice. I shall draw out examples of such visions relevant to this audience, and shall ask the audience to help me formulate others. I shall describe behaviors that will help to nurture them. It is my goal in this opening lecture that you all leave here with one or more well-articulated aspirations, or the seeds of them; aspirations that prime your attention to the information and interactions in this conference, where you may continue to develop them, and carry them back in your workplace to inform your life’s work.

Target Audience:

All conference attendees.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify various goals of relevance to behavior analysis; (2) formulate aspirational goals for yourself; (3) describe techniques for making steady progress toward them; (4) explain ways to deal with seemingly irremediable obstacles to them; (5) design an environment that supports your aspirations.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh