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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Saturday, May 25, 2019


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #20

Pain Willingness and Commitment to Valued Living in Chronic Pain

Saturday, May 25, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Jeannie A. Golden, Ph.D.
Chair: Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
KEVIN VOWLES (University of New Mexico)
Kevin completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at West Virginia University in 2004 and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia the following year. From 2005 to 2012, he held joint positions in academia and with the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. He has been on faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico since 2012, where he is currently an Associate Professor. His clinical and academic activities have focused on the assessment and effective rehabilitation of individuals with chronic pain. He has published over 80 scientific articles in these areas since 2002, with recent work concentrating on identifying the characteristics of effective treatment and differentiating problematic from non-problematic opioid and alcohol use in those with chronic pain.

Behavioral treatments for chronic pain have amassed an impressive and progressive record of success. As with any area of clinical science, challenges and shortcomings have also been identified. These include difficulties in maintaining clinical effectiveness from clinical trials into large scale implementation efforts, unclear identification of specific intervention components that are clearly linked to improved adaptive outcomes, and lack of clarity with regard to the necessary and active ingredients of effective treatment. Overall, these problems highlight the practical difficulty of translating research into practice. They also helpfully illuminate several potential avenues for improvement, including the need for: (1) a precise delineation of what constitutes treatment success and differentiates it from treatment failure, (2) lucidity in the specification of processes by which treatment is hypothesized to work followed by explicit tests of these hypotheses, and (3) methods to promote the generalization and continuance of within-treatment adaptive behavioral changes to the non-treatment environment. This presentation will describe Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as one potential model that can aid in helpfully progressing down these avenues. In particular, the potential for augmenting patient behavior that displays an open, accepting, and non-struggling response to pain will be highlighted, as this area perhaps differs most markedly from other approaches where a primary focus may be on better management of pain and distress. Furthermore, the importance of identifying important and meaningful areas of living to pursue with pain present will be evaluated, as this has the potential to naturally promote generalization and longevity of treatment gains. Based on the data presented, it seems feasible for individuals with complex and potentially disabling pain to respond to that pain with acceptance and willingness, choose important areas of living that are of personal relevance, and take effective action to improve quality of life. Importantly, these responses are possible when pain is low, but crucially also when pain is elevated or even at its maximum.

Target Audience:

Clinicians and researchers working with chronic physical health conditions or who are interested in such conditions.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the relevance of behavioral approaches to the treatment of chronic pain; (2) identify key strengths of this literature and some of the key shortcomings; (3) explain the key treatment processes of the ACT model, the data supporting them, and their applicability to chronic pain treatments; (4) describe treatment outcomes for ACT in relation to both single-subject and within-group data.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #67

Translating Behavioral Observation Research to Intervention for Couples With Pain

Saturday, May 25, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Gabrielle T. Lee, Ph.D.
Chair: Gabrielle T. Lee (Western University)
ANNMARIE CANO (Wayne State University)
Annmarie Cano, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit (Michigan, USA). Dr. Cano conducts research on emotion regulation and intimacy processes in couples facing physical and mental health problems. Building on her basic research findings on empathic interaction, she has developed a mindfulness and acceptance intervention aimed at helping both partners improve their own emotion regulation and quality of life while also supporting their partners to do the same. As a first-generation college student and Latina, Dr. Cano is committed to supporting access, diversity, and inclusion in higher education and is conducting research in this domain as well. Dr. Cano has over 70 publications and has served as PI on grants from the National Institutes of Health. In 2016, she was elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association in two divisions (Society for Health Psychology and Society for Couple and Family Psychology). Dr. Cano has served the field as Associate Editor at Health Psychology and Journal of Family Psychology and currently sits on the editorial boards of American Psychologist and Journal of Pain. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from Stony Brook University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Princeton University.

Behavioral interventions for pain typically target individuals and when loved ones are involved, their roles are often conceptualized as information providers or reinforcers of pain behaviors. At the same time, a growing literature on supportive behaviors such as partner responsiveness, emotional validation, and empathy has suggested that interventions may be more effective if these types of behaviors are incorporated into treatment. Dr. Cano will provide an overview of correlational and experimental research on empathic behaviors in pain and describe a new intervention for couples that is based on this research. Evidence of intervention feasibility and acceptability will also be presented to describe the challenges of intervention development. Finally, Dr. Cano will share a set of lessons learned to inform work aimed at bridging the gap between basic behavioral and clinical intervention research.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: Pending.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #92

Understanding, Measuring, and Changing Bystander Behavior in Bullying

Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Robin Codding, Ph.D.
Chair: Robin Codding (University of Minnesota)
AMANDA NICKERSON (University at Buffalo, The State University of New York)
Amanda Nickerson is a professor of school psychology and director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. Her research focuses on school violence and bullying, and the critical role of family, peers, and schools in preventing violence and building social-emotional strengths of youth. Dr. Nickerson has published more than 90 journal articles and book chapters, and written or edited 5 books (including the PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Model and the Handbook of School Violence and School Safety: International Research and Practice, 2nd ed). Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Educational Research Association, the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, and the Committee for Children. Dr. Nickerson served as associate editor of the Journal of School Violence and is on the editorial boards of several other journals in school psychology. She is a licensed psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist, fellow of the American Psychological Association, and Coordinator of Research for the National Association of School Psychologists’ School Safety and Crisis Prevention Committee.

Bullying has received unprecedented attention from legislators, media, and the general public. Studies of the phenomenon have widened the lens from focusing solely on perpetrators and victims to examining the role of peers who are almost always present when bullying occurs. These “bystanders” often remain passive or even join in, which can maintain or increase the bullying behaviors. To inform prevention and intervention efforts, it is important to understand the factors associated with bystanders’ attitudes and actions. In this presentation, findings from a program of research examining the behavior of peers in bullying situations and the factors that predict the likelihood of actively defending (directly or indirectly) in bullying will be highlighted. The measurement, validation, and application of a five-step model of bystander intervention in bullying will be shared. Implications for practice, including the importance of shaping prosocial norms and explicitly teaching the 5-step bystander intervention model and offering multiple intervention options according to individual and situational variables, will be suggested.

Target Audience:

Researchers, educators, mental health professionals (focus on children and adolescents in schools)

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify roles of youth in bullying interactions; (2) describe the five-step bystander intervention model as applied to bullying; (3) discuss the individual and situational variables that predict bystander intervention; (4) identify the implications of the role of bystanders in bullying prevention and intervention.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #114
CE Offered: BACB

Fighting Fake News and Post-Truth Politics With Behavioral Science: The Pro-Truth Pledge

Saturday, May 25, 2019
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Todd A. Ward, Ph.D.
Chair: Todd A. Ward (bSci21 Media, LLC)
GLEB TSIPURSKY (Pro-Truth Pledge)

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is passionate about promoting truth-oriented behavior, rational thinking, and wise decision-making. He currently serves as the President of Intentional Insights, a nonprofit devoted to popularizing these topics. Its main current focus is the Pro-Truth Pledge, a project that aims to reverse the tide of lies and promote truth in public discourse through combining behavioral science and crowd-sourcing. He is also the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts, Inc, a boutique consulting firm that uses behavioral analysis to improve organizational performance. He has a strong research background with over 15 years in academia, including 7 years as a professor at Ohio State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He published dozens of peer-reviewed publications in academic publications such as Journal of Political and Social Psychology and Behavior and Social Issues, and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the ABAI journal Behavior and Social Issues. He writes frequently for a broad audience, most notably his national bestseller on truth-seeking The Truth Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide, and is currently writing From Post-Truth to Pro-Truth: Fighting Misinformation with Behavioral Science. Pieces by or about him regularly come out in prominent venues such as Time, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Newsweek, The Conversation, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, and elsewhere. He has appeared as a guest on network TV in the US, including CBS News and affiliates of Fox and ABC, and internationally, such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and on US and international radio stations such as NPR, WBAI (New York City), KGO (San Francisco), 700WLW (Cincinnati), KRLD (Dallas), AM980 (Canada).


We have witnessed an alarming deterioration of truth in democracies around the globe, especially in the political arena. This presentation describes a behavioral analysis-based intervention, the Pro-Truth Pledge, which combines behavioral science research with crowd-sourcing to help address this problem. The pledge asks signers – private citizens and public figures – to commit to 12 behaviors that behavioral science has shown to be correlated with an orientation toward truthfulness. Pledge mechanisms have been shown in other contexts to lead private citizens to engage in more pro-social behavior. For public figures, the pledge offers specific incentives to behave in concordance with the pledge, with rewards in the form of positive reputation for honesty and truth-telling, and accountability through crowd-sourced evaluation and potential aversive consequences contingent upon deception. A study conducted on the pledge and published in the journal, Behavior and Social Issues, has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing the sharing of misinformation on social media. These preliminary findings suggest that the pledge offers an important behavioral analysis-based intervention for addressing at least some of the problems caused by fake news and post-truth politics.

Target Audience:

Any attendees interested in how to use behavioral analysis to address the current global problem of misinformation in democracies

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss what behavioral factors cause people to believe in and spread misinformation; (2) discuss why our current cultural, political, and technological environment facilitate post-truth politics and fake news; (3) review what behavioral analysis and other behavioral science fields have found about how to prevent people from spreading misinformation; (4) understand the research behind the effectiveness of the Pro-Truth Pledge as a behavioral analysis-based intervention against misinformation and post-truth politics; (5) discuss how behavioral analysts can take pragmatic steps to help turn back the tide of misinformation and post-truth politics in democracies around the globe.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh