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

    AUT: Autism

    BPH: Behavioral Pharmacology

    CSE: Community Interventions, Social and Ethical Issues

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    TPC: Theoretical, Philosophical, and Conceptual Issues

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

    SCI: Science

40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Sunday, May 25, 2014

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #140
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Examining the Relationship Between Subjective and Reinforcing Effects of Stimulant Drugs: Implications for Human Laboratory and Clinical Trial Research

Sunday, May 25, 2014
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
W375e (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: BPH; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: William Stoops, Ph.D.
Chair: Paul L. Soto (Texas Tech University)
WILLIAM STOOPS (University of Kentucky College of Medicine)
Dr. William Walton Stoops, an associate professor in the Departments of Behavioral Science and Psychology at the University of Kentucky, earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Davidson College in Davidson, NC, and his master's degree and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Kentucky. His research utilizes sophisticated human laboratory methods like self-administration and drug-discrimination to examine behavioral and pharmacological factors contributing to drug-use disorders. He has written more than 75 manuscripts and book chapters as author or co-author. His recent work has centered specifically on evaluating laboratory models of pharmacological and behavioral interventions for stimulant-use disorders and determining the neuropharmacological effects of stimulants and opioids. This research has resulted in numerous awards from professional societies including the 2013 Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the 2006 Outstanding Dissertation Award and the 2008 Wyeth Young Psychopharmacologist Award from Division 28 (Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse) of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Stoops is a Fellow of APA and the Midwestern Psychological Association and will serve as president of APA Division 28 in 2015.

Subject-rated measures and drug self-administration represent two of the most commonly used methods of assessing the behavioral effects of drugs in the human laboratory. Although the results from these methods are often consistent, dissociations between subjective and self-administration data have been observed. This presentation will first introduce basic human behavioral pharmacology methods for measuring subjective and reinforcing effects of drugs, focusing on representative data from commonly abused stimulants. Second, correlational and regression analyses that examined the relationships between subjective and reinforcing drug effects will be presented to demonstrate which subjective measures best predict stimulant self-administration. Third, examples of divergence between subjective and reinforcing drug effects will be explored to show how these measures provide different and complementary information about stimulant drug effects. Potential mechanisms underlying this divergence also will be considered. Finally, the implications of these outcomes as they relate to future human laboratory research and intervention development for managing drug-use disorders will be reviewed.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, graduate students, and anyone interested in methods of assessing the behavioral effects of drugs in the human laboratory.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to: (1) Know how subjective and reinforcing effects of drugs are assessed in human behavioral pharmacology studies; (2) Understand the different information provided by measures of subjective and reinforcing effects; and (3) Understand which human laboratory methods have the best predictive validity for screening putative treatments for drug-use disorders.
Keyword(s): behavioral pharmacology, reinforcing efforts, stimulant drugs, subjective effects
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #143
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Leadership Seminar: Is There a Fix for Behavior Analysis’ Perception Problem

Sunday, May 25, 2014
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
W190a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: CSE; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: David Freedman, B.A.
Chair: Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
David H. Freedman is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and at Inc. Magazine, a contributor to Scientific American, and a consulting editor for Johns Hopkins Medicine International. He is the author of five books, the most recent being Wrong, about the problems with the published findings of medical scientists and other experts. Much of his recent work is related to obesity, nutrition, and health-related behavior change. He received the 2011 ABAI Dissemination of Behavior Analysis-Special Interest Group’s B. F. Skinner Journalism Award and was awarded a Rockefeller Bellagio Residency to study global obesity. He is the author of an Atlantic cover story calling for a new appreciation of B. F. Skinner and behaviorism.

The public’s attitude toward the principles and practice of behavior analysis tends to range from complete unawareness to misguided hostility. The result is that the field is often marginalized, even as it becomes potentially ever more valuable as a means of addressing difficult, widespread problems in society in important behavior-related domains, including education, population, health, economics, and climate change. The public’s ignorance, misperceptions, and apprehensions about behavior analysis stem in part to a long history of prominent antagonism toward the field on the parts of those invested in alternative and generally less effective approaches to dealing with behavior. But the problem also has been exacerbated by a sharp failure on the part of the field, dating back to B. F. Skinner himself, to present itself in ways likely to resonate with the public. Meanwhile, leaders in what might be considered “rival” fields have often been, and continue to be, highly effective in doing so, sometimes to behavior analysis’s detriment. Ironically, behavior analysis’s fidelity to the rigors of scientific evidence has worked against the field in this regard. This rigor has produced effective treatments, but leaves lay people cold when it comes to understanding and appreciating this effectiveness, given that most of the public has little feel or empathy for scientific rigor, and is instead easily swayed by emotional and narrative appeal. The challenge that therefore lies before the field is this: Can and should behavior analysis present itself to an often gullible and easily misled public in a more resonant, less scientifically stiff way that wins it more appreciation and thus opportunity to achieve impact? It almost certainly could, and it’s worth considering possible approaches for doing so, as well as weighing the potential costs.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, graduate students, and anyone interested in learning about the perception of behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to (1) Identify the nature, causes, and scope of the problem of behavior analysis being ignored or mistrusted by the public; (2) Understand why some presentations of alternative approaches to dealing with problem behaviors resonate with the public, especially as compared to behavior analysis; (3) Consider what sort of presentation of behavior analysis might achieve more positive recognition from the public, and to evaluate the possible drawbacks to such an approach.
Keyword(s): leadership
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #167
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Behavior Modification Through the Lens of the Polyvagal Theory

Sunday, May 25, 2014
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
W180 (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Hayne W. Reese, Ph.D.
Chair: Hayne W. Reese (West Virginia University)
STEPHEN PORGES (University of North Carolina)
Dr. Stephen Porges is a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina. He is professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he directed the Brain-Body Center, and professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, where served as chair of the Department of Human Development and director of the Institute for Child Study. He was president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences. He is a recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines. In 1994, he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior. The theory has stimulated research and treatments that emphasize the importance of physiological state and behavioral regulation in the expression of several psychiatric disorders and provides a theoretical perspective to study and to treat stress and trauma. He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation (Norton, 2011) and is currently writing Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe (Norton, 2014).

The Polyvagal Theory describes the role physiological state has in facilitating the expression of different classes of behavior. Applying the theory to behavior modification protocols leads to a refinement in the historical S-O-R model in which the state of the organism (O), now indexed by autonomic state, influences the accessibility of classes of behavior to stimulus control. Polyvagal Theory, based on evolutionary biology and comparative neurophysiology, identifies autonomic states that facilitate or impede the expression of specific classes of behavior. The theory identifies three stages of phylogenetic development that are characterized by parallel changes in behavioral repertoire and neural regulation of the autonomic nervous system: 1) an ancient autonomic system (i.e., unmyelinated "vagal" pathways) shared with most vertebrates that conserves metabolic resources (e.g., slows heart rate and breathing, decreases blood pressure) and supports immobilization behaviors (e.g., passive avoidance, fainting); 2) a system that increases metabolic output (i.e., sympathetic nervous system) and supports mobilization of the trunk and limbs (e.g., active avoidance, fight-flight behaviors); and 3) a uniquely mammalian system integrating the regulation of striated muscles of the face and head with the heart (i.e., myelinated "vagal" pathways) to create a functional social engagement system that regulates the phylogenetically older systems, often through social interaction, to promote physiological resilience and optimize health growth and restoration. Functionally, the theory proposes that modification of these "classes" of behaviors (immobilization, mobilization, and social engagement) will be optimized by monitoring autonomic variables and understanding the contextual cues that trigger transitions in autonomic state. Consistent with this model several variables, independent of stimulus manipulations, characterizing experimental conditions, and participants in behavior modification protocols (e.g., context, development, illness, medication, etc.) will influence the accessibility of different classes of behavior to stimulus control.

Target Audience:

Graduate students, practitioners, academics, and scientists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the talk, audience members should be able to (1) Describe the polyvagal theory; (2) Identify the three stages of development leading to regulation of the autonomic nervous system; and (3) Describe at least two clinical/applied implications of the theory.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #239
CE Offered: BACB

Adolescents and Alcohol: Acute Sensitivities, Enhanced Intake, and Later Consequences

Sunday, May 25, 2014
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
W375e (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: BPH; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: Jonathan W. Pinkston, Ph.D.
Chair: Jonathan W. Pinkston (University of North Texas)
LINDA P. SPEAR (Binghamton University, State University of New York)
Dr. Linda Spear is a SUNY distinguished professor in behavioral neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at Binghamton University, State University of New York. She has served as president of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, and the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society. Dr. Spear has been a member of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institue on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) review committees, the extramural advisory boards of NIDA and NIAAA, as well as the NIAAA National Advisory Council. With more than 250 research publications, including a book, The Behavioral Neuroscience of Adolescence, she conducts research largely using animal models to characterize neurobehavioral features of adolescence, with a particular focus on sensitivity to and long-term consequences of alcohol use during adolescence. Dr. Spear currently directs the Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center (DEARC) and is a member of the consortium on the Neurobiology of Adolescent Drinking in Adulthood (NADIA)--both NIAAA-funded initiatives. She was the 2005 recipient of the Keller Award, an award given annually by NIAAA to "an outstanding alcohol researcher who has made significant and long-term contributions" to the study of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and in 2012 received the Henri Begleiter Excellence in Research Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism as well as the Elsevier Distinguished Lecture Award given by the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society.

Adolescence is a conserved developmental period characterized by ontogenetic alterations in brain and behavior that often bear notable similarities across species, including increases in peer-directed social behaviors, risk-taking, as well as elevated per occasion use of alcohol. Studies using a rodent model of adolescence have shown that, seemingly due in part to age differences in brain function and in expression of acute tolerance, adolescents are more resistant than are adults to alcohol effects that normally serve as cues to moderate drinking, while conversely showing greater sensitivity to ethanol-induced social stimulation. To the extent that these findings in laboratory animals are relevant to human adolescents, this developmental blending of enhanced/attenuated ethanol sensitivities may encourage relatively high levels of consumption, particularly among adolescents who are otherwise at risk for especially elevated alcohol intake because of genetic or environmentally associated alterations in ethanol sensitivities Such elevated ethanol exposures may lead to adverse consequences among at-risk adolescents that may persist into adulthood. Indeed, our findings to date have revealed certain long-lasting consequences of repeated exposure to ethanol during adolescence that are replicable, specific, and dependent on timing of the ethanol exposure, with early adolescence being perhaps an especially vulnerable period, and comparable exposures in adulthood generally not inducing similar effects.

Keyword(s): adolesence, drug abuse, risk taking, social behavior
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #269
CE Offered: BACB

Not-So-Sweet Revenge--Unintended Consequences of Artificial Sweeteners

Sunday, May 25, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W375e (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: Erin B. Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Chair: Erin B. Rasmussen (Idaho State University)
SUSIE SWITHERS (Purdue University)
Dr. Susie Swithers is a professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University. Her work examines how learning and experience affect the development of controls of ingestive behavior, using rats as a model system. Her recent studies have used concepts derived from basic Pavlovian conditioning to understand how changing the relationship between food cues and calories might contribute to disruptions in energy balance, as well as how exposure to high fat diets might disrupt basic learning processes that normally contribute to the inhibition of food intake. Dr. Swithers received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from Duke University. She joined the faculty at Purdue as an assistant professor in 1995 and helped found Purdue’s Ingestive Behavior Research Center. She has received awards from the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and recently completed service as the chair of the National Institutes of Health Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning, and Ethology Study Section.  

One solution that has been proposed to combat the ongoing obesity epidemic has been to replace caloric sugars with artificial sweeteners that provide sweet tastes without providing the associated calories. While such an idea seems to be common sense, scientific data supporting artificial sweeteners as beneficial for weight loss are weak. Further, more recent epidemiological data from long-term studies in a variety of human cohorts have indicated that daily consumption of artificial sweeteners may exacerbate metabolic disturbances like Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and stroke. One explanation for such a counterintuitive result is that consuming sweet tastes without typical post-ingestive outcomes could interfere with basic learning processes that normally operate to regulate energy balance. Using data from an animal model, work from Dr. Swithers' lab has explored how interfering with predictive relations between tastes and calories may contribute to negative health outcomes. The results suggest that obesity and its attendant co-morbidities are unlikely to be helped by consuming "diet" foods manufactured with sugar substitutes.

Keyword(s): artificial sweeteners , energy balance, obesity, Pavlovian conditioning



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