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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Program by Invited Events: Saturday, May 24, 2008

Manage My Personal Schedule


Invited Paper Session #65
CE Offered: BACB

Meaningful Change at the Cultural Level: Behavioral Systems Revisited

Saturday, May 24, 2008
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
International North
Area: OBM; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: William K. Redmon, Ph.D.
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
WILLIAM K. REDMON (Bechtel Group, Inc.)
Dr. William K. Redmon joined Bechtel in 2001 as Manager of Leadership and Development. In this role, he creates and manages processes and programs for finding, developing and managing talent. He also manages executive coaching and development programs and oversees the corporate learning and training department, including Bechtel’s internal university. Bill also manages Bechtel’s performance management programs which center on goal-based performance plans linked to short-term and long-term compensation plans. Prior to joining Bechtel, Bill consulted with numerous organizations in the private and public sectors to help refine their strategy and business plans and to develop supporting performance systems. He has consulted with manufacturing, retail, and service businesses to design and implement innovative methods in change leadership, quality control, performance management, and talent management. Early in his career, Bill was a professor of industrial/organizational psychology and designed and taught graduate courses in behavioral systems analysis, organizational change, metrics, and strategic planning. He is the author of numerous published papers on performance management and organizational change and co-editor of a recent graduate training text entitled Handbook of Organizational Performance: Behavior Analysis and Management. He has served as a regular presenter in the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School series on Innovation and Creativity. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, a licensed psychologist, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 25). Bill graduated from Western Michigan University with Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis (Behavioral Psychology) in 1981.

During the past 40 years, behavioral systems analysts (e.g., Tom Gilbert, Dale Brethower, Geary Rummler) developed models of organizations that help us understand behavior in context and suggested that behavioral interventions are far more powerful when the total system is considered as a backdrop for individual performance. Unfortunately, most applications at the systems level are described in terms of metaphors or principles, rather than practical, replicable approaches. Few lasting, large-scale applications of behavioral technology in working organizations have been implemented under realistic circumstances. Most published accounts of behavior change in organizations focus on a limited environment (e.g., one department or unit) and are driven by researchers or consultants who implement contrived circumstances to incubate and sustain the changes. This is no sin: many of these approaches have led to powerful changes and improved bottomline results. However, they often fall short of documenting reliable ways of changing the behaviors of hundreds or thousands of people--behavior analysis and change on a scope and scale that has the potential to move entire organizational cultures. This presentation will provide an example of large-scale, long-term behavioral intervention in a Fortune 100 business at the cultural level and describe how behavior analytic methods were used to functionally embed new practices that have been sustained over a period of 8 years with the promise of continuing indefinitely (i.e., becoming a way of life for leaders throughout the company). The approach and results will be discussed in terms of a whole-system application with reference to early work of behavioral systems analysts. The intervention involved teaching leaders (including the CEO and 20 top level executives) applied behavior analysis and supporting their use of the skills with extensive coaching and feedback. The model was subsequently extended to the 200 most senior leaders (Phase II) and then to another 700 general managers (Phase III). Plans call for training and coaching more than 2,000 managers and supervisors over the coming year to complete skill development (phase IV). To embed these practices in the ongoing culture, each leader receives a leadership scorecard (ratings and comments) from his/her direct reports every 6 months and completes an upward feedback dialogue session where the direct reports describe what they see as more effective practices (to be...

Invited Paper Session #82

The Behavioral Research Program at the National Cancer Institute: A Resource for the Scientific Study of Behavior

Saturday, May 24, 2008
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Stevens 2
Area: EAB; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Kathryn Saunders (University of Kansas)
PAIGE A. MCDONALD (National Institute of Health/National Cancer Institute)
Dr. Paige McDonald is chief of the Basic and Biobehavioral Research Branch of the Behavioral Research Program in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). A program director since joining NCI in 2001, Dr. McDonald has cultivated the growth of the branch’s research portfolio, focused on elucidating biological mechanisms of psychosocial effects on health and disease. Prior to joining the NCI, Dr. McDonald was a research psychologist at Howard University Cancer Center (HUCC) and a faculty member in the Department of Medicine at Howard University College of Medicine. Her research interests included stress and immunity within a cancer risk context, the influence of behavioral factors on breast cancer risk and survival, and the perceptions and knowledge of breast cancer and early detection behaviors among women residing in public housing. Dr. McDonald received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Her doctoral training included an emphasis on behavioral medicine and psychophysiology within the context of cardiovascular disease. Dr. McDonald completed her clinical psychology internship, with specialization in health psychology, at the Brown University Clinical Psychology Internship Consortium and postdoctoral fellowships at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the HUCC. In 2005, she received a Master of Public Health degree form Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

The Behavioral Research Program (BRP) initiates, supports, and evaluates a comprehensive program of behavioral research ranging from basic behavioral research to research on the development, testing, and dissemination of disease prevention and health promotion interventions in areas such as tobacco use, screening, dietary behavior, and sun protection. Our goal is to increase the breadth, depth, and quality of cancer prevention and control behavioral science. Dr. Paige McDonald will present the scientific mission of the program, highlight research priorities, and discuss funding opportunities for the scientific study of behavior in a cancer control and population science context.

Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: N/a
Invited Paper Session #89
CE Offered: BACB

Good-bye, Teacher. . . . Forty Years Later

Saturday, May 24, 2008
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
International North
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: William F. Buskist, Ph.D.
Chair: Pamela G. Osnes (Behavior Analysts, Inc.)
WILLIAM F. BUSKIST (Auburn University)
Dr. William Buskist is the Distinguished Professor in the Teaching of Psychology at Auburn University and a Faculty Fellow at Auburn’s Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. In his 25 years at Auburn, he has taught over 32,000 undergraduates, mostly in large sections of introductory psychology. He serves as the Section Editor for The Generalist’s Corner section of Teaching of Psychology and as a member of the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP) planning committee. Together with Steve Davis, he has edited two volumes on the teaching of psychology: The Teaching of Psychology: Essays in Honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie and Charles L. Brewer (Erlbaum, 2003) and The Handbook of the Teaching of Psychology (Blackwell, 2005) and together with Barry Perlman and Lee McCann, he has edited Voices of Experience: Memorable Talks from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (American Psychological Society, 2005). He has also co-edited several electronic books for the Society of the Teaching of Psychology ( He has published over 30 books and articles on the teaching of psychology. In 2005, he was a co-recipient (with Leanne Lamke) of Auburn University’s highest teaching honor, The Gerald and Emily Leischuck Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, he was the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2005 Harry Kirke Wolfe lecturer. He also is a recipient of the 2000 Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award from the Society of the Teaching of Psychology (STP). He is a Fellow of APA Divisions 1 (General Psychology) and 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology). He is currently serving as President of the Society. His proudest career achievement is having five of his graduate students honored with national teaching awards.

Forty years ago Fred Keller published his now classic paper that introduced the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) to the teaching world. PSI, or the Keller Plan, as it is sometimes called, gained immediate widespread popularity. Indeed, college and university professors from many disciplines adopted the technique for use in their classes. Researchers published numerous articles showing PSI to be superior over traditional teaching methods in terms of student learning outcomes (i.e., final grades). Interestingly, now, in 2008, few college and university professors have ever heard of PSI, or for that matter, other forms of behavioral instruction. In this presentation, I will discuss the current state of college and university teaching against the backdrop of Keller's and others' work with behavioral approaches to college and university teaching. I will provide an overview and theoretical analysis of prevailing teaching techniques and the key elements of "master teaching" in an attempt to suggest effective practices for improving one's teaching.

Invited Paper Session #90
CE Offered: BACB

What's Voluntary about the Voluntary Operant?

Saturday, May 24, 2008
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Grand Ballroom
Area: TPC; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: Allen Neuringer, Ph.D.
Chair: Sam Leigland (Gonzaga University)
Dr. Allen Neuringer obtained a B.A. from Columbia University in 1962 and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1967. He has been teaching at Reed College in Portland, Oregon since 1970 where he is currently MacArthur Professor of Psychology. He has served on numerous NSF graduate fellowship panels and NSF and NIH research study sections. Much of Dr. Neuringer's research has been in collaboration with Reed College undergraduates. His current research is directed at operant variability (for a review, see Neuringer, A. [2004]. Reinforced variability in animals and people. American Psychologist, 59, 891-906). His most recent work describes a theory of volition based upon operant variability (see Neuringer, A., Jensen, G. & Piff, P. [2007]. Stochastic matching and the voluntary nature of choice. JEAB, 88, 1-28). He has also published on self-experimentation, self-control, the "Protestant ethic effect," music discrimination in pigeons, choice under concurrent reinforcement schedules, and percentage reinforcement. His research has been supported by NSF and NIH.

I have long been confused by attempts to distinguish emitted operant responses from elicited Pavlovian reflexes and will describe a new theory based on control by reinforcement over levels of response variability. The theory states that a voluntary response has two defining attributes: functionality and potential unpredictability. A voluntary response is functional in the sense that it can be explained, it happens for a reason, it is goal oriented or, in behavior analytic terms, it is an operant, controlled by reinforcement. A voluntary response must also be at least potentially unpredictable (or free, self-generated, not determined). In other words, voluntary responses can be functionally unpredictable. There are two sources of that functional unpredictability: natural variability and learned variability. Natural variability is seen in baseline operant responding, during exploration of novel spaces, and under concurrent reinforcement schedules. Learned variability is seen in Karen Pryors reinforcement of novel responses in porpoises, Don Bloughs reinforcement of random interresponse times in pigeons, and reinforcement of more-or-less variable sequences that has been studied in my lab and others. I will describe psychophysical evidence in support of an operant variability theory of voluntary behavior and discuss implications for self control.




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