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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Paper Session #91
Behavioral Interpretations: Disabilities, Addictions. and Communities
Sunday, May 29, 2016
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Alpine, Swissotel
Area: TPC
Chair: Michael B. Ehlert (University of Guam)

The Argument From Analogy in Animal Models: A Case Example From an Animal Model of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Domain: Theory
ESPEN SJOBERG (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

This paper aims to address a risk of drawing erroneous conclusions when conducting experiments on animal models, with focus on the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR), an animal model of ADHD. Researchers in this field are susceptible to a fallacy known as argument from analogy, where conclusions are drawn based on assumptions of similarities between animals and humans. Due to the lack of generalizability and predictive validity in animal model experiments, it is argued that animal experiments are reconstructions of human experiments, and not replications. Focus should be increased on mechanistic validity in order to ensure that the underlying mechanisms driving the behavior are the same, as relying on face validity makes the models susceptible to logical fallacies. The issue of drawing rat-human analogies is further addressed in the debate on how useful animal behavior research is in terms of human applications: We cannot - with absolute certainty - establish that a behavior observed in animals will also be found in humans, unless the experiment is reconstructed with human participants. It is argued that animal models primary function is to provide indicative evidence, which can open new fields of research on human behavior, provided both validity and replication is in place.

Logging Out: A Conceptual Analysis of Video Game Addiction
Domain: Theory
KAITLYNN GOKEY (Florida Institute of Technology), Joshua K. Pritchard (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: There is no question that behavioral excesses and addictions, such as alcoholism or gambling, destroy lives. There is now evidence of new, emerging behavioral addictions, including the realm of video game addiction. Over 25 million people have reported having an addiction to video games, to the point of impacting their quality of life. This conceptual, behavioral analysis seeks to explain what makes the virtual environment so competitive with the natural world, and suggests avenues of treatment for this complex behavior.

Examining Petty Corruption Behavior With Behavior Analytic Binoculars

Domain: Theory
TETE KOBLA AGBOTA (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Ingunn Sandaker (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Kalliu Couto (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Lucas Couto de Carvalho (Oslo and Akershus University College)

One of the wicked problems associated with public administration and service delivery in most developing countries is petty corruption. However, a complex human behavior like corruption has received little attention from behavior analysts and corruption research is dominated by other social sciences such political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, religion to mention a few. Each discipline has its language and sometimes even within the same field there are different concepts or vocabularies to explain the same phenomenon, because the scientific community has no common technical language. In contrast to many social sciences, behavior analysis offers a technical, conceptual framework that is generic and it is valid in different contexts and for a variety of organisms. This conceptual paper highlights how behavior analysis provides objective and efficacious conceptual framework to identify, observe and suggest measures to stem petty corruption behavior. It makes clear how operant analysis of corruption in particular and behavior analysis of corruption, in general, differs from other "traditional" analyzes. The paper underscores why an operant analysis or a behavior analytic perspective offers a better scientific way of analyzing and tackling petty corruption.


Sustainability Without Behavior is Unsustainable

Domain: Theory
MICHAEL B. EHLERT (University of Guam)

Human action is what produces anthropogenic effects on climate change (by definition). In the climate change literature, however, sustainability models exclude behavior as a grouping factor. Models focus instead on classification measures in economic, social, and environmental contexts using intervening variables like awareness, beliefs, and values when referencing personal action. Sustainability researchers (e.g., Ehrlich & Kennedy, 2005) suggest we begin to change behavior by understanding values and social norms and, then, report that norms are complicated because they change unexpectedly. The sustainability literature (e.g., Clayton, 2012) frequently includes self-reports and variables with weak relationships to difficult behavior (e.g., attitudes, intentions). Also, the literature repeats common misunderstandings about behavior analysis: focusing on (observable) behavior is too limiting, behavioral interventions are transitory, successful interventions are too costly to maintain. The literature often concludes that values and social norms must change before we can mitigate climate problems. Many climate scientists seem uninformed about the contributions of behavior analysis and its potential. This paper considers possible explanations of psychologys lack of representation within the sustainability literature and presents an argument for behavior analysis, as the science of behavior, to play a central role.




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