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

Event Details

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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.



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