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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Program by Invited Events: Monday, May 31, 2010

Manage My Personal Schedule


Invited Paper Session #346
Behavioral Economics: Bridge Between Behavior Analysis and Government Policy
Monday, May 31, 2010
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Ballroom A (CC)
Area: EAB; Domain: Theory
Chair: Timothy D. Hackenberg (Reed College)
STEVEN R. HURSH (Institutes of Behavior Resources)
Dr. Steven R. Hursh (Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1972) is the President of the Institutes for Behavior Resources and Professor of Behavioral Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Hursh has over thirty-five years experience as a researcher, is author of over 65 articles, book chapters and books and is a former associate editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.
Abstract: A fundamental tenet of behavior analysis is that operant behavior is strengthened by its consequences and that the strength of a reinforcer determines the strength of the behavior it supports. Behavioral economics provides a framework for understanding and measuring reinforcer strength, and by implication, the strength of the behavior it supports. The demand curve is a standard tool used in economics to define how reinforcer consumption varies as a function of the requirements to obtain the reinforcer (price). A model is now available that describes the shape of such curves and provides a single parameter that scales the sensitivity of consumption to cost. Coupled with this model is a related model that effectively categorizes and quantifies interactions between reinforcers—an economic foundation for choice. Together these tools provide an economic framework for translating the findings from laboratory and clinical research to governmental policy. Government policy is often concerned with how to increase or decrease behavior—be it the use of illegal drugs, over-eating, excessive use of alcohol or tobacco, unsafe operation of motor vehicles, inadequate use of preventive health care resources, or risky sexual behavior. Government policy is often about arranging various conditions that affect the cost and benefits of these behaviors, through penalties, taxes, refunds, tax deductions, or opportunity costs. Furthermore, government agencies are required to do an economic analysis of new regulatory requirements, so the framework relating economics to policy already exists. What is missing often is hard data defining the relationship between those costs and the changes in behavior sought by the regulation. Behavior analysis provides the empirical tools to define these relationships and behavioral economics provides the bridge between those data and the economic implications of regulatory initiatives.
Invited Symposium #355
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
A Range of Disciplines, a Range of Evidence, and Can We Nurture Our Enviroment Through Behavioral Science
Monday, May 31, 2010
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
103AB (CC)
Area: CSE/OBM; Domain: Theory
Chair: Michael Weinberg (Orlando Behavior Health Services, LLC)
Discussant: Michael Weinberg (Orlando Behavior Health Services, LLC)
CE Instructor: Patrick McGreevy, Ph.D.
Abstract: This is an 80-minute symposiusm for a group of two separate invited events.
A Range of Disciplines, a Range of Evidence: Behavioral Practices in Multiple Disciplines
PHILIP N. CHASE (Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies)
Abstract: Many opportunities are afforded behaviorists today because people respond positively to our science. Managers and workers recognize the importance of behavioral safety. Parents, pediatricians, and teachers opt for behavioral treatment plans for people with autism and developmental disabilities. Zoos and pet owners hire behaviorists to solve problems related to human interaction with other animals. But as Neuringer (1991) warned, we need to be humble about what we know and do not know, and part of this humility involves being as skeptical of our own work as we are of others (Chase, 1991). Behaviorists’ skepticism comes naturally from our research traditions: we are skeptical of practices that are not evidence-based. But evidence is not sufficient, we need to collect evidence on outcomes the culture values. After all, behaviorists are pragmatists, seeking practices that work successfully. This pragmatism extends to the kinds of evidence we collect, and if our evidence is not valued by the culture, the practices they support will not survive. Because the evidence that is valued varies from discipline to discipline (e.g., what works in autism may not work in health), we need to prepare ourselves with the tools of evidence used by the variety of disciplines we hope to influence. The integration of these tools is critical to our success in the world at large.
Dr. Chase has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts -Amherst, where he studied with Beth Sulzer-Azaroff, and John Donahoe, and was influenced by a host of UMASS behavior analysts. He has conducted research on the basic environmental processes that facilitate problem solving and conceptual behavior. He has applied behavioral findings to the design of curricula for learning mathematics and other problem-solving repertoires. He has served as an editor, associate editor, and reviewer for many journals, including a three-year stint as Editor of The Behavior Analyst. He has co-organized a number of international scientific conferences, and reviewed grants for four US federal agencies. Dr. Chase received a Fulbright Scholarship to study rule governance in Italy and a Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award from West Virginia University. He is currently employed as the Executive Director of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.
Nurturing Environments: A Framework for Comprehensive Cultural Change
ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute)
Abstract: Epidemiological and prevention research has helped to pinpoint a small number of basic conditions that are essential in ensuring young people’s successful development and preventing diverse psychological and behavioral problems. It is useful to label these conditions "nurturing environments," both for the purpose of further research and in enhancing efforts to improve human wellbeing. Nurturing environments (a) minimize toxic biological and psychological conditions, (b) richly reinforce prosocial behavior, (c) teach and promote prosocial skills and values, (d) limit prompts and opportunities for problem behavior, and (e) promote psychological flexibility. I will briefly review the prevention and epidemiological research that supports these assertions. The analysis will provide a framework for focusing further behavioral science research on increasing the prevalence of nurturing family, school, workplace, and neighborhood environments. I will describe how a concerted public health effort can achieve this type of cultural evolution. I will use the Promise Neighborhood Consortium as an example. The goal of this recently funded consortium is to assist the nation’s high-poverty communities in establishing effective prevention practices.
Dr. Biglan has conducted numerous experimental evaluations of interventions to prevent tobacco use both through school-based programs and community-wide interventions. He has also done experimental evaluations of school- and family-focused interventions to prevent aggressive social behavior and reading failure, as well as clinical interventions to prevent high-risk sexual behavior. During the 2000-2001 school year, Dr. Biglan led a team of scholars in a review of current knowledge about the development and prevention of multiple problem behaviors of adolescence (Biglan, Brennan, Foster, & Holder, 2004). He is the author of the 1995 book, Changing Cultural Practices: A contextualist framework for intervention research, published by Context Press. His current work focuses on fostering the beneficial evolution of societal practices using behavioral science knowledge.
Invited Paper Session #401
CE Offered: BACB
Drug Reinforcing Effects: Establishment and Measurement
Monday, May 31, 2010
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Ballroom A (CC)
Area: BPH; Domain: Experimental Analysis
CE Instructor: Linda LeBlanc, Ph.D.
Chair: Karen G. Anderson (West Virginia University)
RICHARD A. MEISCH (University Of Texas HSC-H)
Richard A. Meisch published his first drug self-administration paper in 1967, and has continued to conduct drug self-administration studies to the present. In 1970 he completed an M.D.-Ph.D. program (Ph.D. in Pharmacology and M.D.) at the University of Minnesota, and subsequently a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral pharmacology and a residency in Psychiatry at the same institution. Since 1988 he has been a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. His research has remained focused on drug self-administration studies in humans, rhesus monkeys, rats, and mice. A number of routes of administration have been explored. In addition to the IV route he has used the oral, subcutaneous, and intraperitoneal routes. Research interests include procedures to establish drug reinforcing effects and to measure the magnitude of the effects. Methodological interests include the interpretation of drug self-administration data and development of novel experimental designs and procedures. In studying these topics his research has crossed into areas such as polydrug abuse, behavioral economics, food restriction, behavioral genetics, and the generality of findings across humans, monkeys, and rodents.
Abstract: Orally delivered drugs are more difficult to establish as reinforcers than intravenously delivered drugs for at least three reasons: (1) aversive taste, (2) low volume consumed including low drug intake (mg of drug/kg of body weight), and (3) long delay between drinking and onset of central nervous system effects. Nevertheless , a broad range of orally delivered drugs can be established as effective reinforcers for rhesus monkeys. Moreover, some of these drugs will also serve as reinforcers for rats and mice. Strategies for establishing drugs as reinforcer via the oral route will be discussed as well as an explanation for the marked effectiveness of these drugs when taken by mouth. New methods have been developed for measuring the magnitude of reinforcing effects will be described. The findings with these new methods are consistent with findings from choice studies. Although choice procedures are the “gold standard” for evaluating relative reinforcing effects, counter-intuitive findings emerge under some choice parameters. These findings will be shown to be instances of a larger analytic perspective.
Invited Paper Session #412
The Evolution of Behavioral Consulting: Shaping Comprehensive Applications of Organizational Behavior Management Technologies
Monday, May 31, 2010
1:30 PM–2:20 PM
103AB (CC)
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Alicia M. Alvero (Queens College, The City University of New York)
JUDY L. AGNEW (Aubrey Daniels International)
Dr. Agnew is a Vice President and Senior Consultant with Aubrey Daniels International. For eighteen years she has specialized in designing behavior based business solutions. Her Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis combined with a myriad of consulting experiences enables her to develop customized behavior based interventions that are well grounded in the science of behavior. Dr. Agnew has worked in industries as diverse as oil and gas, food and non-food manufacturing, mining, forest products, distribution, assembly, and retail. This range of industries has provided her with experience dealing with diverse employee populations and a wide range of organizational issues. Some of her clients include: PECO Energy, Shell Oil, Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Assurant Health, The Orange County Register, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Potlatch, Toro, and M&T Bank.
Abstract: In the early days of organizational behavior management (OBM)—and the early days of Aubrey Daniels International (ADI)—client interventions were relatively simple. The focus was on identifying important behaviors that drove business improvement, measuring those behaviors and results, and implementing rather rudimentary feedback and reinforcement systems. The positive reinforcement was often in the form of supervisory praise and small tangibles. This simple model was and remains extremely powerful. Through the years, this basic approach has been the foundation of many of our interventions and has produced some remarkable successes. Some of ADI’s early client data will be presented as representative of this approach. As with any good system, this basic approach has evolved. At ADI (as with all those implementing OBM) we have gone beyond the basics to apply more advanced behavioral principles to our client work. Some of these attempts have been successful and some have not. Most of these changes and improvements occur as a result of the gradual tweaking of processes and tools over several years. This talk will highlight some of the changes in interventions over the past 30 years at ADI. Some of the changes to be discussed include: helping performers tap into natural reinforcers for their behavior, helping clients become better observers of the impact of their own behavior, coaching for rapid and sustained change, fluency training for critical skills, better systems analyses, a focus on the verbal community in the workplace, better understanding the cultural context, and transferring ADI technology fully to our clients as part of our core mission. Brief case studies and sample client data will be presented.
Invited Paper Session #461
A Behavioral Contingency Analysis of Deception, Property, Financial Bubbles, and Ponzi Schemes
Monday, May 31, 2010
3:30 PM–4:20 PM
103AB (CC)
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: David A. Eckerman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
FRANCIS MECHNER (The Mechner Foundation)
Dr. Mechner received his doctorate in 1957 from the Columbia University psychology department. He remained a member of the department’s teaching faculty until 1960, and continued to conduct basic and applied research in the fields of learning and educational technology until the present time. In 1959 he developed a formal language for codifying simple behavioral contingencies, a language he has since upgraded and applied in a diverse range of fields. Dr. Mechner developed various implementations of self-paced individualized instruction for grades K-12, medical education, and industrial training. As a consultant to UNESCO he led projects for the modernization of science teaching in South America and Asia. In 1969-70 he worked on the original design and prototyping of the Sesame Street television programs, and later developed innovative early childhood development programs for Pennsylvania, Georgia, Alabama, and Nebraska. Dr. Mechner’s experience in economics and finance stems from his having founded and built, since 1960, a dozen business enterprises, each based on some innovative technology. The financial proceeds of these have funded the Mechner Foundation, which conducts research in learning and behavioral technology. Some of Dr. Mechner’s publications and accomplishments in music, art, languages, and chess are cited in the website
Abstract: By slicing economic and financial concepts along a different plane than does mainstream economic analysis, behavioral contingency analysis reveals different features, among them the behavioral dynamics that were involved in the financial upheaval of 2008. This approach is based on applying a formal language for the codification of behavioral contingencies to an analysis of the concepts of property, property transfer, value, risk, deception, and consensus. Property is seen to be a set of behavioral contingencies related to some entity, rather than the entity itself. These contingencies include the actions available to “owners” and “non-owners,” the consequences of those actions, and the effective values of those consequences (taking into account probabilities and time delays). Property transfers, such as securitization, the creation of derivatives, the bundling of asset-backed obligations, money laundering, and Ponzi schemes—all instances of broader categories like aggregation, partitioning, and multiple-stage transfers—involve alteration of the behavioral contingencies that define the transferred property. Such alteration usually entails an associated clouding and blurring of those contingencies, making the often-touted goal of “transparency” unachievable. The usually intentional result of such property transfers is deception—the deceived party misperceiving or mispredicting the value attribute of a consequence, usually to its detriment.



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