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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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #29
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

A Functional-Cognitive Framework for Cooperation Between Functional and Cognitive Researchers and Practitioners

Sunday, May 29, 2016
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Grand Ballroom AB, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: VRB; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Barbara E. Esch, Ph.D.
Chair: Barbara E. Esch (Esch Behavior Consultants, LLC)
JAN DE HOUWER (Ghent University), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University), Sean Hughes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
After receiving his PhD from the University of Leuven (Belgium) in 1997, Jan De Houwer was a Lecturer at the University of Southampton (UK) from 1998 to 2001. Since 2001, he works at Ghent University (Belgium) where he heads the Learning and Implicit Processes Laboratory. His research is related to the manner in which spontaneous (automatic) preferences are learned and can be measured. Regarding the learning of preferences, he focuses on the role of stimulus pairings (associative learning). With regard to the measurement of preferences, he developed new reaction time measures and examined the processes underlying various measures. Jan De Houwer (co-)authored more than 250 publications in international journals including Psychological Bulletin and Behavioral and Brain Sciences. He was co-editor of the journal Cognition and Emotion and is a member of the editorial board of several journals including Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Psychological Bulletin, and Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Functional (e.g., Skinnerian) and cognitive approaches in psychology are often seen as competing and mutually exclusive. We argue that although both types of approaches have fundamentally different aims, they are situated at different levels of explanation and can therefore be mutually supportive. More specifically, whereas functional research on the environmental determinants of behavior can help constrain cognitive theories about the mental processes that mediate environment-behavior relations, cognitive research can highlight new empirical phenomena that could help functional researchers to refine behavioral principles and their conceptual or theoretical analyses. We then highlight two implications of our framework for psychotherapy and research on human cognition. First, the framework clarifies the relation between behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. Second, it sheds new light on the study of rule-governed behavior.

Target Audience:

Licensed psychologists, certified behavior analysts, graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to: (1) understand cognitive and functional psychology as fundamentally different but not mutually exclusive approaches in psychology; (2) understand the functional-cognitive framework for psychological research as a framework for interactions between cognitive and functional psychology; (3) identify potential benefits of a possible cooperation between cognitive and functional psychology.



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