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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #59
CE Offered: BACB
Learning in Invertebrate Subjects: New Avenues for Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 24, 2014
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
W176c (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: EAB/TBA; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Jacob H. Daar (Southern Illinois University )
Discussant: Jeffrey N. Weatherly (University of North Dakota)
CE Instructor: Jacob H. Daar, M.A.

Animal research has long been a part of behavior analysis, however the vast majority of this research has been conducted with relatively few model organisms, i.e. rats and pigeons. While these organisms have helped to reveal behavioral principles and educate future behavior analysts, their use has become increasingly regulated and financially unfeasible. These obstacles however do not apply to arthropods, as research with invertebrate organisms is relatively unregulated and requires far less maintenance than research with warm-blooded organisms typical in behavioral studies. The current symposium will present two discussions on behavior analysis involving invertebrate subjects. The first will discuss aspects of invertebrate learning from a behavior analytic perspective and address issues in the literature that are the result of researchers having little or no behavior analytic training. The second presentation will discuss the logistical aspects of developing and managing an invertebrate learning lab with an emphasis on in house design of apparatuses, methods, and protocols. Further discussion will be provided on the implications of invertebrate research to the field of behavior analysis and behavioral sciences at large.

Keyword(s): Animal, Basic Research, Experimental Analysis, Invertebrate

Issues in the Study of Invertebrate Learning

CHARLES I. ABRAMSON (Oklahoma State University)

Over the past two decades the study of invertebrate learning has taken on greater importance as aspects of the nervous system have been revealed. Unfortunately, much of this research is conducted by neuroscientists with little or no training in the comparative analysis of behavior. As a result, several issues in the analysis of behavior have either been ignored and/or discounted by the present generation of scientists interested in invertebrate learning. This presentation outlines several of these issues including: 1) the extent of phyletic differences between vertebrate and invertebrate learning investigated, 2) inconsistencies in the definition of learning phenomena, 3) the use of taxonomies of learning, 4) the need to report individual data, and 5) restrictions on the use of cognitive terminology.


How to Bring Animal Labs Back into Behavior Analysis Training Programs: The Promise of Invertebrates

MARK R. DIXON (Southern Illinois University)

Over the past 30 years our field has seen a decline in the number of graduate training programs that offer animal laboratories. Rising costs, reductions in grant funding, and tighter animal welfare regulations all have resulted in once thriving animal research facilities to close their doors. Most if not all of these setbacks can be avoided by using invertebrates. This presentation will showcase how, after 35 years of closed animal facilities within SIU's Behavior Analysis Program, we were able to once again reinstate animal research using the invertebrate species of the African Hissing Cockroach and the Australian Red Claw Lobster. The process of laboratory creation and management from innovative apparatus building, experimental protocol development, and motivating the rising number of applied behavior analysts to find value in basic operant research will be discussed. The utility of training applied behavior analysts to become proficient in animal research will also be discussed.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh