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.

  • AUT: Autism

    DDA: Developmental Disabilities

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    PRA: Practice

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    TPC: Theoretical, Philosophical, and Conceptual Issues

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

    SCI: Science

40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Program by Invited Events: Monday, May 26, 2014

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Invited Paper Session #323
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

What Counts as Behavior?

Monday, May 26, 2014
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
W178a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: EAB; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: William M. Baum, Ph.D.
Chair: Federico Sanabria (Arizona State University)
WILLIAM M. BAUM (University of California, Davis)
Dr. William Baum received his BA in psychology from Harvard College in 1961. Originally a biology major, he switched to psychology after taking courses from B. F. Skinner and R. J. Herrnstein in his freshman and sophomore years. He attended Harvard University for graduate study in 1962, where he was supervised by Herrnstein and received his Ph.D. in 1966. He spent the year 1965-66 at Cambridge University, studying ethology at the Sub-Department of Animal Behavior. From 1966 to 1975, he held appointments as post-doctoral fellow, research associate, and assistant professor at Harvard University. He spent two years at the National Institutes of Health Laboratory for Brain, Evolution, and Behavior and then accepted an appointment in psychology at the University of New Hampshire in 1977. He retired from there in 1999. He currently has an appointment as associate researcher at the University of California, Davis, and lives in San Francisco. His research concerns choice, molar behavior/environment relations, foraging, and behaviorism. He is the author of a book, Understanding Behaviorism: Behavior, Culture, and Evolution.

A final definition is impossible, but we can rule out some possibilities and propose others based on what we currently know. Behavior is not simply movement, but must be defined by its function. Also, our understanding of behavior must agree with evolutionary theory.Dr. Baum willsuggest four basic principles: (1) Only whole organisms behave; (2) Behavior is purposive; (3) Behavior takes time; and (4) Behavior is choice. Saying that parts of an organism behave is nonsense, and, moreover, evolutionary theory explains the existence of organisms mainly through their adaptive behavior. Behavior is purposive because it is shaped by its consequences, through an organism’s lifetime or through interactions with the environment across many generations of natural selection. Behavior takes time in that behavior is interaction with the environment which cannot take place at a moment. Moreover, identifying an activity requires a span of time. Behavior is choice in the sense that a suitable span of time always includes time spent in more than one activity. Activities include parts that are themselves activities on a smaller time scale and compete for time. Thus, behavior constitutes time allocation. An accounting problem arises whenever behavior is attributed to multiple consequences. It remains to be solved.

Target Audience:

Experimental and applied behavior analysts interested in how to measure and define behavior.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event, participants should be able to: -Explain why behavior must be extended in time. -Explain why time allocation is the measure of behavior. -Explain why only whole living organisms behave.
Keyword(s): choice, evolutionary theory, time allocation
Invited Symposium #356
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Contributions of Behavior Analysis to the Study of Obesity
Monday, May 26, 2014
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
W178a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: SCI/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Erin B. Rasmussen (Idaho State University)
Discussant: Kelly M. Banna (Millersville University)
CE Instructor: Erin B. Rasmussen, Ph.D.

Researchers in the field of behavior analysis have contributed both applied and basic science internationally to the study of obesity. By focusing on the most critical behaviors--eating and physical activity--and the conditions under which they occur, treatment of this health risk becomes possible. Dr. Richard Fleming will begin by reviewing the role of behavior analysis in the obesity literature. Dr. Fergus Lowe and Dr. Pauline Horne will discuss the Food Dudes program, which has enhanced healthy food choices and physical activity with children in the United Kingdom and beyond. Dr. Matthew Normand will describe his programmatic work with measurement and change of physical activity in children. Finally, Dr. Erin Rasmussen will discuss the role of impulsive food choice in obesity in humans and using animal models.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): obesity, eating
Target Audience:

Basic and applied behavior analysts, parents, teachers, and anyone interested in behavior analysis, health, or obesity.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants should be able to (1) Describe some examples of behavior analytic contributions to the study of obesity; (2) Describe behavior analytic techniques that enhance healthy food choices with children and adults; and (3) Describe how to increase physical activity with obese populations.

Contributions of Behavior Analysis to Childhood Obesity Research: A Review and Example

RICHARD K. FLEMING (University of Massachusetts Boston)

Behavior analysis has influenced how researchers conceptualize, analyze, prevent, treat, and drive policy around childhood obesity. These contributions have appeared not only in traditional behavior analysis outlets, but also in (1) mainstream pediatrics and obesity journals, often in the form of randomized controlled trial (RCT) between-groups research; (2) the work of centers devoted to affecting food policy, notably the Rudd Center for Food Policy& Obesity); and (3) mass media publications, such as Scientific American. This paper reviews some of these contributions as a means of discussing a promising context for increasing the influence of behavior analysis. It also presents an example of the author's behavioral research on family-based weight loss and weight maintenance intervention with adolescents and young adults with intellectual disabilities (see Figure). Recommendations are made for future contributions of behavior analysis in the area of childhood obesity.

Richard Fleming received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1990. He then joined the Department of Psychology at Auburn University, where he was promoted to associate professor and received tenure. In 2000, Dr. Fleming returned to his native New England, where he was an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 2012, he accepted his current position as associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Exercise and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Fleming's research addresses the translation and application of psychological principles to problems of social importance. Specializing in behavioral psychology, he has conducted numerous National Institutes of Health-funded studies that address the prevention and treatment of child and adolescent obesity, the promotion of physical activity and exercise, and media-driven online education, with particular emphasis on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Get Up and Go: How ABA Can Help Increase Exercise

RAYMOND G. MILTENBERGER (University of South Florida)

This presentation will discuss Dr. Miltenberger's recent research on promoting exercise and physical activity in children and adults. The talk will start with a discussion of accurate measurement of physical activity and then review studies evaluating behavioral procedures to increase physical activity. The research with children evaluated goal setting, contracting, daily rewards, and exergaming to increase physical activity. Research with adults evaluated an Internet-based program with and without behavioral coaching, goal setting and feedback, and daily action planning. Discussion will center on issues of measurement, treatment effectiveness, and treatment fidelity.

Dr. Raymond G. Miltenberger received his Ph.D. from Western Michigan University and currently is professor of psychology and director of the Applied Behavior Analysis Master's Program at the University of South Florida. He is the author of a highly regarded textbook on behavior modification, which is used at many universities across the country in both undergraduate and graduate courses. Dr. Miltenberger is most well known for having conducted a longstanding and systematic series of studies on clinical (habit) disorders, prevention of abduction, and firearms safety. In particular, his research in the latter two areas has been characterized by the highly creative use of simulations and generalization testing, and by the careful development of task-analysis-based instruction described as "behavioral skills training." In recognition of this work, he has received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Applied Research from the American Psychological Association (Division 25), and he has served as president of ABAI.  

Toward a Functional Analysis of Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity in Children

MATTHEW P. NORMAND (University of the Pacific)

Physical activity, particularly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), is an important class of health-related behavior for children and adults. Insufficient physical activity is risk factor associated with a host of medical problems, including hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and, more generally, obesity. To mitigate these risks, current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization state that children should engage in at least 60 minutes of MVPA per day. Unfortunately, recent estimates suggest that few children are this active. Various behavioral interventions have been developed to increase physical activity in children, but with mixed results. Many such studies involve indirect measures of behavior change and, even when change seems evident, suffer from relatively poor long-term intervention effects. More systematic research involving direct measures of behavior is warranted. Moreover, the kinds of pre-intervention functional analyses common in the behavior analysis literature are notably absent from the physical activity literature, perhaps explaining, at least in part, the less than robust intervention effects sometimes reported. This talk will describe a programmatic line of research that begins with the validation of direct measurement strategies for MVPA, progresses to pre-intervention experimental analyses of the environmental variables functionally related to MVPA, and currently involves intervention evaluations based on the outcomes of the pre-intervention analyses. The results of these studies suggest that physical activity can be accurately measured, pre-intervention experimental analyses can be used to identify specific variables that promote MVPA, and that this information can be used to develop interventions to increase MVPA.

Dr. Matthew Normand is an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of the Pacific and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). His primary scientific interests, broadly defined, are the application of basic behavioral principles to problems of social significance (including obesity and community health issues), verbal behavior, and the philosophy of science. He has authored about three dozen scientific papers and book chapters and more than 100 conference presentations. He is the current editor of The Behavior Analyst, an associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and serves on the editorial board of Behavioral Interventions. He is a former associate editor for the journals The Behavior Analyst, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, and Behavior Analysis in Practice. Dr. Normand is the 2011 recipient of the B. F. Skinner New Researcher Award from the American Psychological Association (Division 25).

Obesity, Impulsive Choice for Food, and the Role of Dopamine

ERIN B. RASMUSSEN (Idaho State University)

A pattern of choosing smaller, sooner rewards over larger, later rewards is known as impulsive choice and is an established behavioral mechanism in a variety of putative "addictive" behaviors, including substance abuse and gambling. This model has been applied to understanding food-choice patterns involved in obesity with humans and with rodent models. The talk will present some human and animal data that suggest that dopaminergic processes, particularly those at the D2 receptor subtype, may underlie impulsive food choices. These data suggest, one, that impulsive choice patterns as a behavioral mechanism of addictive behaviors can be extended to obesity, and two, that dopamine may be involved in these processes.

Erin Rasmussen received her Ph.D. from Auburn University in experimental analysis of behavior with an emphasis in behavioral toxicology and pharmacology. She is currently a professor of psychology at Idaho State University, where, in her 9.5 years there helped build a new Ph.D. program in experimental psychology. She conducts research on the behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology of food and exercise reinforcement using animal models of obesity and humans, with special emphasis on the endocannabinoid, opioid, and dopaminergic neurotransmitter systems. Her recent work has been published in journals including the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Physiology and Behavior, Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, Behavioral Brain Research, Behavioral Pharmacology, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, Behavioural Processes, and Behaviour Research & Therapy. She currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and the ABAI Science Board. She also served as president of Four Corners Association for Behavior Analysis and as the program chair for the Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis.
Invited Paper Session #375
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Clinical and Statistical Applications of Contingency Space Analysis

Monday, May 26, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W183a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Brian K. Martens, Ph.D.
Chair: Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
BRIAN K. MARTENS (Syracuse University)
Brian K. Martens, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Syracuse University. He received an M.S. degree in combined school/experimental psychology from Colorado State University (behavior analysis focus) and a Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Martens served as director of training for the Syracuse University Psychology Program from 1998-2007 and as associate chair and chair of the Psychology Department from 2007-2009. He was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Behavioral Education from 2009-2012 and is a past associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Martens is a fellow in Division 16 of American Psychological Association, a member of the Society for the Study of School Psychology, and previously served on the board of directors of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. He has published more than 110 articles, books, and chapters concerned with translating findings from basic operant research into effective school-based interventions, functional assessment and treatment of children's classroom behavior problems, and the instructional hierarchy as a sequenced approach to skill training.

Sequential recording of behavior and its consequences is a common strategy for identifying potential maintaining variables in the natural environment. Disagreement remains over a standard approach to detecting contingent relations in the resulting data as well as a suitable association metric. One approach reported in the literature involves comparing the conditional probability of a consequence given the occurrence of problem behavior to its conditional probability given the absence of problem behavior. This approach, known as contingency space analysis (CSA) can be used to identify the direction and magnitude of potential reinforcement effects from descriptive assessment data. Moreover, joint occurrences of behavior and its consequences can be summarized in a 2 by 2 contingency table for which an operant contingency value (OCV) can be computed. In this presentation, procedures for conducting and interpreting a CSA are described, and data are presented showing various applications of CSA to clinical decision making. The presentation concludes by comparing the OCV to other measures of association using simulated and empirical data. These analyses suggest that CSA as a general analytical approach and the OCV as an index of contingency are useful tools for helping behavior analysts identify contingent relations during a functional behavior assessment.

Target Audience:

ABA practitioners and applied researchers.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this event, participants will be able to; (a) conduct observations of problem behavior and its consequences using modified partial-interval recording, (b) graph and interpret behavior-consequence data in a contingency space analysis (CSA), (c) describe the relationship between CSA, functional analysis, and treatment outcome data, and (d) describe why the operant contingency value (OCV) is a more robust measure than either the phi coefficient or Yule's Q as a measure of association for 2 by 2 contingency tables.
Invited Paper Session #401
CE Offered: BACB

A Behavior Analyst Goes to the Dogs

Monday, May 26, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W178a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: Carol Pilgrim, Ph.D.
Chair: Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CLIVE WYNNE (Arizona State University)
Dr. Clive Wynne is currently a professor of psychology at the Arizona State University, where he directs the Canine Science Collaboratory, and is director of research at Wolf Park in Indiana. He was educated at University College London and Edinburgh University in Scotland and has studied animal behavior in Britain, Germany, the U.S., and Australia in species ranging from pigeons to dunnarts (a mouse-sized marsupial). Several years ago, he founded the Canine Cognition and Behavior Lab at the University of Florida, dedicated to the study of dogs and their wild relatives. As well as numerous scientific papers, he also has written for American Scientist, The New York Times, and other outlets. He is often quoted in print media and radio, and his science has been featured on several TV shows such as National Geographic and Nova ScienceNow. He is the author of a textbook Animal Cognition (now in its second edition, with co-author Monique Udell) and Do Animals Think? (Princeton University Press, 2004). He is editor in chief of the journal Behavioural Processes.

Although the scientific analysis of behavior started with dogs in Pavlov's laboratory more than a century ago, the use of behavior analytic tools to understand dog behavior, and the relationship between dogs and people, has lagged behind other approaches to canine behavior. In the past two decades, wide currency has been given to the view that dogs co-evolved human-like social cognition alongside people in human domiciles more than 10,000 years ago. The evolution of novel cognitive instincts, it is claimed, has given dogs unique abilities to understand human actions and intentions. Dr. Wynne will review findings from his laboratory indicating that the person-reading skills people perceive in their dogs are real but they are not unique to dogs: Hand-reared wolves are just as successful in responding to human actions. Furthermore, these skills are the outcome of familiar processes of operant and Pavlovian conditioning and social imprinting. This is shown in the poor performance of dog pups, in the consistent improvement in pet dogs subject to repeated testing, and in the initially poor but easily redeemed performance of dogs at a county shelter. He also will present novel approaches to dog behavioral problems such as thunder phobia and stereotypic behaviors derived from applied behavior analysis.

Keyword(s): animal cognition, canine behavior, canine stereotypy, wolves
Invited Paper Session #423
CE Offered: BACB

Determinants of Drug Preference in Humans

Monday, May 26, 2014
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
W178a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: Harriet de Wit, Ph.D.
Chair: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
HARRIET DE WIT (University of Chicago)
Dr. Harriet de Wit is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. She has conducted research in human psychopharmacology of drug abuse for more than 30 years. Dr. de Wit serves as field editor for the journal Psychopharmacology and deputy editor for Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. She is a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration, serves on several scientific advisory boards and is a member of an National Institutes of Health study section. In 2009, she received the Marian W. Fischman Memorial Lectureship Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Dr. de Wit's research focuses on the physiological, subjective (i.e., mood-altering) and behavioral effects of drugs in healthy human volunteers. She investigates individual differences in responses to drugs, including differences related to genetics. She also studies relations among stress, impulsivity, and drugs of abuse. The overarching goal of the research is to understand how drugs alter behavior and to identify both the determinants and consequences of drug use.

Drugs of abuse produce an array of subjective, behavioral, and physiological effects, some of which contribute to their attractiveness to users. However, individuals also vary widely in their responses to drugs, and certain responses may increase their likelihood for using the drugs repeatedly. We have studied variables that predict greater rewarding effects from drugs, including both trait-like variables, such as personality or genetic makeup, and contextual variables, such as the social setting in which the drugs are used. This presentation will review studies from Dr. de Wit's laboratory in which healthy adults received single doses of drugs, under placebo-controlled, double-blind conditions. The studies are designed to identify factors associated with greater rewarding effects of acute doses of drugs, with the ultimate goal of developing strategies for minimizing risk in at-risk populations.

Keyword(s): Drug discrimination, drug reinforcement, subjective effects



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