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.

  • AAB: Applied Animal Behavior

    BPH: Behavioral Pharmacology

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSE: Community Interventions, Social and Ethical Issues

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

    SCI: Science

38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Saturday, May 26, 2012

Manage My Personal Schedule


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #14
CE Offered: PSY

Building Children's Emotional, Social and Academic Bank Accounts: Working in Schools

Saturday, May 26, 2012
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
6E (Convention Center)
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.
Chair: Jennifer L. Austin (University of Glamorgan)
CAROLYN WEBSTER-STRATTON (University of Washington)
Dr. Carolyn Webster-Stratton is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and nurse-practitioner and over the past 30 years has conducted numerous randomized control group studies to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs for promoting social and emotional competence, school readiness skills and preventing conduct problems in high risk populations. She has also evaluated teacher, parent and child treatment programs for children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and ADHD. She has developed the Incredible Years Series which include separate training programs, intervention manuals, and DVDs for use by trained therapists, teachers and group leaders to promote children's social competence, emotional regulation and problem solving skills and reduce their behavior problems. The objectives of these interventions are to help parents and teachers provide young children (0-12 years) with a strong emotional, social, and academic foundation so as to achieve the longer term goal of reducing the development of depression, school drop out, violence, drug abuse, and delinquency in later years. She has published numerous scientific articles and chapters as well as a book for parents entitled, Incredible Babies, Incredible Toddlers and The Incredible Years: A trouble shooting guide for parents of children aged 2–8 years, a book for teachers entitled, How to promote children's social and emotional competence, a book for therapists entitled, Troubled Families-Problem Children, and four books for children concerning problem-solving, anger management and learning problems. These interventions have been translated in many languages and are being used in more than 15 countries and have received many awards including the 1997 National Mental Health Lela Rowland Prevention Award for best mental health prevention program, the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention "Blueprint" award and the Department of Health and Social Services, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention award for "exemplary" interventions. Dr Webster-Stratton has been the recipient of the prestigious National Mental Health Research Scientist Award. Please see for articles and more information. Note: Dr. Webster-Stratton provides training and supplemental instructional materials for these programs, and therefore stands to gain financially from a positive report. This financial interest has previously been disclosed to the University of Washington and research is being managed consistent with federal and university policy.

As many as eight percent of young children are highly aggressive, oppositional, impulsive, inattentive and difficult to parent or teach. Long-term studies show that such children are at high risk for developing conduct disorders that lead to school drop-out, delinquency, violence, and substance abuse. Because conduct disorders are the most expensive mental health disorder in this country, this is a problem of public health importance. Identifying these high risk children as early as possible in schools and helping teachers and parents work together to promote their social competence and self-regulation skills and reduce their aggression is key to preventing the development of conduct disorders. Dr. Carolyn Webster-Stratton will present an overview of her evidence-based prevention and treatment programs for teachers, parents and children including a review of research outcomes and video examples of the different programs.

Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: 1. To describe the benefits of early identification of children likely to develop conduct disorder 2. To describe the content of the Incredible Years classroom and parent training programs 3. To describe the evidence base of the Incredible Years classroom and parent training programs
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #35
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes

Saturday, May 26, 2012
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
4C-2 (Convention Center)
Area: CBM; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Thomas J. Waltz, Ph.D.
Chair: Thomas J. Waltz (Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research)
JENNY ANDERSON (The New York Times), Paula Szuchman (The Wall Street Journal)
Jenny Anderson is a New York Times reporter who spent years covering Wall Street and won a Gerald Loeb Award for her coverage of Merrill Lynch. She currently writes about education and lives with her husband and two daughters in Manhattan.

Every marriage is its own little economy, a business of two with a finite number of resources that need to be allocated efficiently. In their book, Spousonomics, authors Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson apply bedrock economic principles to some of the most common conflicts in domestic life. Some examples include: Division of Labor (Or, Why You Should Do the Dishes): Exposing the fallacy of the 50/50 marriage split. Some people are better at, say, making school lunches, while others panic at the sight of a vacuum cleaner. Here’s a tip: Do what you’re “relatively” good at and “trade” the rest. Incentives (Or, Getting Your Spouse to Do What You Want): How getting your spouse to finally pay the bills on time is simply a matter of finding the right incentive. Trade-offs (Or, The Art of Getting Over It): The simple beauty of the cost-benefit analysis. Let’s break down that four-day trip to Cabo with your friends. Costs: A grumpy wife, $700 airfare, kids that miss you. Benefits: a savage tan, enough Don Julio to inflict permanent damage, uninterrupted sleep. Verdict? Supply and Demand (Or, How to Have More Sex): Talking your sex life to death, waiting until the kids are asleep and you’re both catatonic, not admitting that lingerie turns you on—all bad habits that raise costs and lower demand. The key to keeping your sex life hot is keeping it affordable.

Target Audience:

The lecture will target a general audience and will specifically focus on translating concepts from behavior economics to areas of concern for everyday living and clinical practice. Specifically, clinicians will become familiar with the relevance of behavior economic concepts to interpersonal and family relationships. This introduction will provide an empirically based conceptual framework for clinicians to expand their practice.

Learning Objectives:   At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:
  • Recognize the relevance of behavior economic concepts to interpersonal and family relationships.
Keyword(s): behavioral economics, clinical, family, marriage
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #38
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Some Determinants of Behavioral Variability During Learning

Saturday, May 26, 2012
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
6BC (Convention Center)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Aaron P. Blaisdell, Ph.D.
Chair: Matthew C. Bell (Santa Clara University)
AARON P. BLAISDELL (University of California, Los Angeles)
After receiving his BA and MA in Biological Anthropology (at SUNY Stony Brook and Kent State University, respectively), Dr. Blaisdell realized that animal cognition was even more interesting than studying dead humans. So he trekked on over to SUNY Binghamton for his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with Dr. Ralph Miller, where he studied learning, memory, and temporal cognition in the rat. This was followed by a brief stint as an NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Robert Cook, an expert on Avian Visual Cognition at Tufts University, where he learned how pigeons perceive and think about the world. Since 2001, Dr. Blaisdell has emigrated to the climatological and cultural paradise of sunny LA as Associate Professor in Learning & Behavior and Behavioral Neuroscience in the UCLA Psychology Department. He presides over a comparative cognition lab, studying cognitive processes in rats, pigeons, hermit crabs, and humans. Aaron is currently president of the International Society for Comparative Psychology and the Ancestral Health Society. His interest in Ancestral Health reunites his fascination with anthropology with his interest in comparative approaches to evolution and health. His lab website is

Behavior typically becomes more variable in the face of a drop in the value of a motivating outcome, such as food. Dr. Blaisdell will review converging lines of evidence for this relationship from studies in his lab. He will describe the negative relationship between found between the signaled probability of food and variability in behavior. This relationship is quite general: Observed in both temporal and spatial behavioral dimensions, in both rats and pigeons, and in both the operant chamber and in open-field settings. Behavioral variability is also greater under conditions involving smaller or delayed food rewards compared to larger or immediate rewards. Dr. Blaisdell will describe some manipulations of the response-outcome contingency that reveal interesting relationships between Pavlovian and instrumental processes. These data support a general conclusion that signaled outcome value is an important determinant of behavioral variability in a wide variety of conditioned behaviors.

Target Audience:

basic researchers

Learning Objectives: #none#
Keyword(s): behavioral variability
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #39
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Functional Neuroimaging Studies of Reward Processing in the Human Brain

Saturday, May 26, 2012
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
6E (Convention Center)
Area: TBA; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Advanced
CE Instructor: Jessica Singer-Dudek, Ph.D.
Chair: Jessica Singer-Dudek (Teachers College, Columbia University)
MAURICIO DELGADO (Rutgers University)
Mauricio Delgado is an assistant professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He is the director of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab and the associate director of the Rutgers University Brain Imaging Center. Dr. Delgado completed his graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of Dr. Julie Fiez in 2002. His research included one of the first studies to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural correlates of reward processing in humans. Dr. Delgado then moved to New York University for a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Elizabeth Phelps, where he continued studying human reward processing but also extended his research to understand aversive influences on brain and behavior. His research program at Rutgers University currently investigates how the human brain learns from rewards and punishments, how it uses this information to guide behavior during both simple decisions (e.g., learning actions which lead to desired outcomes) and complex social interactions (e.g., learning to trust another person), and how it controls or regulates our emotions to avoid maladaptive decision-making. Dr. Delgado was the recipient of the 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and his research is funded by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation.

Our understanding of the neural structures involved in processing reward-related information has its foundations on a rich animal literature and classical theories of learning. More recently, advances in methodological approaches, particularly neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), have allowed for the extension of these investigations to the human brain and helped delineate a basic reward circuit in humans. Central to this circuit is the role of cortico-striatum loops connecting regions involved in cognitive control (prefrontal cortex) and motivational processes (striatum). In this talk, we will discuss how the human brain learns about rewards and creates reward representations, via conditioned reinforcers, that can influence behavior. Additionally, we will highlight how cognitive strategies can effectively control neural responses to reward elicited by conditioned reinforcers (e.g., cue paired with a drug reinforcer), and its potential application of helping attenuate maladaptive decision-making (e.g., drug seeking behaviors).

Target Audience:

Practitioners and researchers who are interested in mechanisms controlling behavior; those interested in brain and behavior relations

Learning Objectives:    At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:
  • Recognize what fMRI findings have to offer the science of ABA.
  • Idenitfy how the human brain learns about rewards and creates reward representations, via conditioned reinforcers, and how that can influence behavior
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #60
CE Offered: None

Neuroimaging and Drug Taking in Primates

Saturday, May 26, 2012
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
6BC (Convention Center)
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Leonard L. Howell, Ph.D.
Chair: Karen G. Anderson (West Virginia University)
LEONARD L. HOWELL (Yerkes National Primate Research Center)
Dr. Howell received his B.A. in chemistry from Emory University in 1978 and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology with a minor in biochemistry and physiology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1985. Following postdoctoral training in psychobiology at Harvard Medical School, he accepted a faculty position at Emory University in 1987. He is currently Chief of the Division of Neuropharmacology and Neurologic Diseases and Director of the Imaging Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine. His research program focuses on the neuropharmacology of abused stimulants and includes basic neurobiological studies of drug mechanisms as well as medications development to treat stimulant abuse. The program is translational in its focus and bridges preclinical, nonhuman primate models with therapeutic applications in humans. Additional interests include the long-term consequences of chronic stimulant use on behavior and brain function. His neuroimaging program includes drug receptor occupancy, pharmacokinetics, brain metabolism and functional magnet resonance imaging (fMRI) in awake, behaving monkeys. The long-range objective is to develop a multidisciplinary research program in substance abuse that effectively integrates behavior, in vivo neurochemistry and functional brain imaging in nonhuman primates. He was recognized for his contributions with an NIH MERIT Award (2007-2016) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Neuroimaging techniques have led to significant advances in our understanding of the neurobiology of drug-taking and the treatment of drug addiction in humans. The presentation by Dr. Leonard Howell describes the utility of neuroimaging toward understanding the neurobiological basis of drug taking, and documents the close concordance that can be achieved among neuroimaging, neurochemical and behavioral endpoints. The study of drug interactions with dopamine and serotonin transporters in vivo has identified pharmacological mechanisms of action associated with the abuse liability of stimulants. Neuroimaging has identified the extended limbic system, including the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate, as important neuronal circuitry that underlies drug taking. The ability to conduct within-subject, longitudinal assessments of brain chemistry and neuronal function has enhanced our efforts to document long-term changes in dopamine D2 receptors, monoamine transporters, and prefrontal metabolism due to chronic drug exposure. Dysregulation of dopamine function and brain metabolic changes in areas involved in reward circuitry has been linked to drug-taking behavior, cognitive impairment and treatment response. Experimental designs employing neuroimaging should consider well-documented determinants of drug taking, including pharmacokinetic considerations, subject history and environmental variables. These integrative approaches should have important implications for understanding drug-taking behavior and the treatment of drug addiction.

Target Audience:

We don't want this talk to be considered for C.E. credit, but there's no way to by-pass these fields. Please disregard anything to do with CEUs.

Learning Objectives: see above
Keyword(s): dopamine, drug self-administration, neuroimaging, primate
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #62
CE Offered: BACB

Numerical Competence in the Grey Parrot

Saturday, May 26, 2012
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
303/304 (TCC)
Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: Caio F. Miguel, Ph.D.
Chair: Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
IRENE PEPPERBERG (Harvard University)
Dr. Pepperberg received her SB from MIT and M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. She is currently a Research Associate and Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Harvard and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Brandeis University's Psychology Department. She has been a visiting associate professor at MIT's Media Lab, later accepting a research scientist position there, leaving a tenured professorship at the University of Arizona. She has been a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, won a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, was an alternate for the Cattell Award for Psychology, won the 2000 Selby Fellowship (Australian Academy of Sciences), won the 2005 Frank Beach Award for best paper in comparative psychology, was nominated for the 2000 Weizmann, L'Oreal, and Grawemeyer Awards, the 2001 Quest Award (Animal Behavior Society) and was renominated for the 2001 L'Oreal Award. She has also received fellowships from the Harry Frank Guggenheim and Whitehall Foundations, and numerous grants from NSF. Her book, The Alex Studies, describing over 20 years of peer-reviewed experiments on Grey parrots, received favorable mention from publications as diverse as the New York Times and Science. Her memoir, Alex & Me, is a New York Times bestseller. She has presented her findings nationally and internationally at universities and scientific congresses, often as a keynote or plenary speaker, and has published numerous journal articles, reviews, and book chapters. She is a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the American Ornithologists' Union, AAAS, the Eastern Psychological Association, and presently serves as consulting editor for three journals and as associate editor for The Journal of Comparative Psychology.

A Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) had previously been taught to use English count words ("one" through "sih" [six]) to label sets of one to six individual items (Pepperberg, 1994). He had also been taught to use the same count words to label the Arabic numerals 1 through 6. Without training, he inferred the relationship between the Arabic numerals and the sets of objects (Pepperberg, 2006b). In the present study, he was then trained to label vocally the Arabic numerals 7 and 8 ("sih-none," "eight," respectively) and to order these Arabic numerals with respect to the numeral 6. He subsequently inferred the ordinality of 7 and 8 with respect to the smaller numerals and he inferred use of the appropriate label for the cardinal values of seven and eight items. These data suggest that he constructed the cardinal meanings of "seven" ("sih-none") and "eight" from his knowledge of the cardinal meanings of one through six, together with the place of "seven" ("sih-none") and "eight" in the ordered count list.

Keyword(s): animal cognition, animal language, Inferences, Numerical competence



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