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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #470
CE Offered: BACB
Implications for Application: How Basic Research Can Inform and Advance Applied Behavior Analysis
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
St. Gallen, Swissotel
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Zachary H. Morford (University of Vermont)
Discussant: Peter R. Killeen (Arizona State University)
CE Instructor: Zachary H. Morford, Ph.D.

Applied behavior analysis and the experimental analysis of behavior are not disparate. Although seemingly divergent in their analytic goals, these two branches of behavior analysis are in many ways interdependent. This symposium will offer two examples of how current theoretical and basic research can help inform and advance not only applied behavior analysis, but also the field of behavior analysis as a reticulated whole. Work developed out of the laboratory has implications for practitioners, and can only benefit from a practitioners insights regarding application in a more natural setting. General laws and principles revealed in the laboratory can be leveraged as behavior change technologies. The presenters will bring new light to the Premack principle, disequilibrium models, and the behavior analytic study of time as it relates to both basic and applied domains. There are unique predictions to be tested and controls to be studied in both the laboratory and field. Behavior analysis is not a house divided, as its various branches could not prosper, one without the other.

Keyword(s): delay discounting, Premack principle, response deprivation, RFT

Reviewing the Concept of Time as a Feature of Behavior Analysis Research and Applications

CAROLYN BRAYKO (University of Nevada, Reno), Kenneth Burleigh (University of Nevada, Reno), Rita Olla (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)

While behavior analysts have historically recognized the importance of time and verbal behavior, it is still unclear how we account for these interrelated factors when studying complex human behavior. Many research areas, such as delay discounting (DD; Madden & Johnson, 2010) and time horizons (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999) aim to measure and evaluate an individuals relationship to time. Other areas (Hayes, 2004) highlight the role of verbal behavior as it influences our relationship to temporally-related issues (e.g., PTSD, anxiety). Hayes and Hayes (1992) discuss the differences in how verbal and nonverbal organisms behave with respect to time-based schedules. Dixon and Delaney (2006) address the importance of verbal behavior as it pertains to gambling addiction, traditionally studied through DD procedures. A better understanding of time, as it relates to verbal humans interacting with their environment, may inform researchers and practitioners on a vast array of applied issues such as: substance abuse, financial management, and performance management. The current paper will discuss how well, and to what degree, behavior analysts have investigated and understood how verbal organisms behave with respect to time. By synthesizing and advancing what we know about time via basic research, there is potential to enhance the breadth and depth of interventions in the applied realm.

Rules for Forecasting Behavior Change in Applied Settings
KENNETH W. JACOBS (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The Premack principle, or probability-differential hypothesis, is a rule of operation that takes actions to be reinforcing: Higher probability behavior will reinforce lower probability behavior. Although effective as a general rule of thumb, the Premack principle has yet to be systematically formalized and fully integrated into applied behavior analytic vernacular. Formalization began with Timberlake’s (1980) disequilibrium approach—better known as the response deprivation hypothesis (Timberlake & Allison, 1974)—while integration into application stopped short with the advent of functional analyses. Functional analyses reduced practitioner guesswork, but did not provide rules of operation regarding the arrangement of contingencies. The disequilibrium approach, presumably overlooked with the success of functional analyses, provides rules for how to arrange contingencies that can be affirmed or denied as effective prior to intervention implementation (Timberlake & Farmer-Dougan, 1991). Behavior change trajectories can be predicted so long as the necessary requisite information is derived from functional analyses and baseline data. In the footsteps of Premack and Timberlake, the authors endeavor to formalize the Premack principle in the form of quantitative models that increase the precision of practitioner predictions. Such models will not only inform treatment decisions, but will also guide future inquiry in the realm of application science.



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