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

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSE: Community Interventions, Social and Ethical Issues

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EDC: Education

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    TPC: Theoretical, Philosophical, and Conceptual Issues

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Monday, May 31, 2010

Manage My Personal Schedule


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #372
Reversing Brewing Behavior Problems in Dogs and Cats
Monday, May 31, 2010
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Ballroom A (CC)
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Kennon A. Lattal (West Virginia University)
SOPHIA YIN (San Francisco Veterinary Specialists)
Dr. Sophia Yin, a 1993 graduate of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, is the award-winning pet columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of The Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook®, and How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves. She earned her Master's in Animal Science in 2001 from UC Davis where she studied vocal communication in dogs and worked with behavior modification in horses, giraffes, ostriches, and chickens. She currently teaches three upper division undergraduate courses in domestic animal behavior in the UC Davis Animal Science Department and supervises students in various animal training and behavior research projects. She and the Sharper Image are co-developers of the first remote-controlled, automated food reward device ever and professional dog training system marketed on a large scale.
Abstract: Veterinarians, shelter staff, and other pet handlers see unmanageable and aggressive companion animals daily. Such professionals do what they can to provide the best services, but the unfortunate fact is that if fear and unruly behaviors aren’t recognized and addressed within the context in which they are exhibited, pets may exit with worse behavior than when they entered. In addition, although early intervention might ameliorate a problem, ignoring the signs may lead to inability to handle the animal in the future and could even result in euthanasia as the animal becomes increasingly difficult to manage and even dangerous on repeated visits. While the common assumption is that such problems are beyond the scope of general practice, a few simple modifications in how animals are handled in clinical environments, plus the use of a basic counter-conditioning technique can dramatically improve the pet’s behavior and experience. Brewing behavioral issues in dogs and cats are best treated before they develop into recognizable problems. This presentation will highlight how body language and action affect the behavior of resident companion animals, and how behavior analysis teamed with an understanding of ethology can be used to prevent or treat a myriad of behavior problems.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #390
Behaviorism and the United Ivory Archipelago
Monday, May 31, 2010
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
103AB (CC)
Area: DEV; Domain: Theory
Chair: Gary D. Novak (California State University, Stanislaus)
DAVID SLOAN WILSON (Binghamton University)
David Sloan Wilson is Distinguished Professor of Biology with a joint appointment in Anthropology at Binghamton University. He is best known for championing the theory of multilevel selection, which shows how adaptations can evolve at all levels of the biological hierarchy, with implications ranging from the origin of life to the nature of religion. He is author of nearly 200 scientific articles published in biology, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy journals. His academic books include The Natural Selection of Populations and Communities (1980), Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (with Elliott Sober; 1998), Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society (2002), and the The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (co-edited with Jonathan Gottschall, 2005). His first book for a general audience, Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives (Delacorte, 2007), which Natalie Angier described as "a minor miracle, the near complete emulsifying of science and the real world." His next book will be published by Little, Brown and is titled Evolving the City: An Evolutionist Contemplates Changing the World—One City at a Time. In addition to his own research and writing, Dr. Wilson is director of EvoS, a campus-wide program that strives to use evolutionary theory as a common language to create a single intellectual community, spanning all human related subjects in addition to the natural world.
Abstract: The Ivory Tower is more aptly called the Ivory Archipelago—many islands of thought with little communication among them. Each field (island) within psychology has its own history and special assumptions. One island's commonplace is another's heresy. The fields of evolutionary psychology and behavior analysis provide an especially strong contrast. The ideas associated with Skinner are central to behavior analysis, but rejected by evolutionary psychology as part of the "standard social science model." There is an urgent need to achieve a more consilient theoretical framework for psychology—to turn the Ivory Archipelago into the United Ivory Archipelago. I will argue that evolutionary theory provides the consilient framework for psychology, as it does for the biological sciences, but that it must go beyond the current field of evolutionary psychology and include a healthy measure of behaviorism. The consilient theory must do justice to both elaborate genetic innateness and impressive open-ended behavioral and cultural flexibility.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #440
Evolutionary Bedfellows: Skinner and Darwin
Monday, May 31, 2010
2:30 PM–3:20 PM
103AB (CC)
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Ted G. Schoneberger (Stanislaus County Office of Education)
STUART SILVERS (Clemson University)
Dr. Silvers received his M.A. from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He specializes in philosophy of cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. He has been a Senior Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Research Professor at the University of the Basque Country, Spain, and Visiting Scholar at the University of Arizona. He has authored more than forty articles in scholarly journals (including Philosophy of Science, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Inquiry, Philosophical Psychology, and Metaphilosophy) and anthologies, edited a book on mental representation, and lectured widely in Europe, Canada, and the US. Before joining the Clemson faculty in 1989, he held the Professorial Chair in Theory of Knowledge and Philosophy of Science at Tilburg University, The Netherlands and prior to that he has been a member of the faculty in the Philosophy Departments at The University of Leiden, The Netherlands, California State University Fullerton, the University of Florida, and the University of Pittsburgh.
Abstract: In 1975 the philosopher Dan Dennett explained, in an article similarly titled, “Why the Law of Effect Will Not Go Away.” Thorndike’s learning principle he notes “assumed centrality in Hull’s behaviorism as the ‘law of primary reinforcement’ and in Skinner’s as the ‘principle of operant conditioning’ (footnoting that “Skinner explicitly identifies his principle with the Law of Effect in Science and Human Behavior (1953), p. 87”). The spotty history of getting the law “to do enough work” in explaining learning, however, has not led behaviorists to abandon or replace it because, Dennett says, “There is something right in their conviction… that the Law of Effect is not just a good idea but the only possible good idea for this job.” Naturally, Dennett rectifies the errant ad hoc efforts to rescue the law from countless counterexamples. Here I use Dennett’s view as a scaffold to examine a recent alternative to evolutionary psychology’s nativist massive modularity of mind hypothesis (the “Swiss-Army knife” model) and philosopher of biology Kim Sterelny’s theory of ecological and epistemic engineering and “scaffolded learning” in his book, Thought in a Hostile World. The law finds its explanatory niche in evolutionary psychology emphasizing the hominid brain’s developmental plasticity in explaining our distinctive learning capacity. I think Fred Skinner might approve. I start with the MM thesis, then the alternative.



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