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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Symposium #502
Behavior Analysis Involved in Four Psychological Areas
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Texas Ballroom Salon C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CBM/TPC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Donald K. Pumroy (University of Maryland)
Abstract: Behavior Analysis, now over 60 years old, has been increasingly applied to variety of problems that have confronted our society, with some success and some failure. The purpose of this symposium is to review four such problem areas in which Behavior analysis has been applied. A central topic for each of the presenters will be: Clinical Psychology (Leopold Walder), Parenting (Roger McIntire), School Psychology (Donald Pumroy) and Gerontology (Judy Blumenthal). Each presenter has had considerable experience in at least one of these areas and, in some cases, have been involved in helping to advance Behavior Analysis in that area. Each presenter will expand to associated or related topics and will discuss the changes that have taken place over the years and to describe the strategies and efforts followed to bring about such changes. Each will also note where there have been strategies and efforts followed to bring about changes which were ineffective and how the problem might have been approached in a different manner. Also each presenter will make an assessment of the future of Behavior Analysis in each area.
Gerontology and Behavior Analysis: Past Present Future
JUDY G. BLUMENTHAL (Association for Behavior Change)
Abstract: This author has studied gerontology for approximately 20 years, has worked with aging individuals since the 1990s, and has interacted with health care providers to the aging since the early 2000s. The author teaches gerontology undergraduate courses at the University of Maryland and is currently working closely with a few elders to assist them in aging-in-place successfully. This paper will present an historical overview of how behavior analysis was applied to the study of gerontology, how behavior analysis is currently sued, and suggestions for the future. The study of gerontology, itself, began around the 1970s when studies primarily addressed psychiatric issues and studies were performed in institutionalized settings. The 1980s saw the application of behavioral analysis to gerontology, but these studies were primarily stimulus control issues and basic activities of daily life such as eating and social behaviors, and popular psychiatric studies such as Alzheimer's Disease. The 1990s saw the onset of the study of biological issues in gerontology and this was emphasized by the establishment of the American Medical Association Diplomate in Geriatrics. By 2000, the study of gerontology broadened to functional issues and, in the last couple of years, emphasis has been placed on "aging-in-place." But throughout all of this development, the application of behavior principles to the study of aging is largely omitted. Drugs and longevity continue to be very reinforcing in our country, and this reinforcement overrides the development of behavioral programs or behavioral intervention programs for the aging. The application of behavioral principles to healthy longevity is not only cost effective for individual but provides an economic relief to local, state, and federal governments. In addition, the application of behavioral principles to longevity enhances perceptions of the quality of life, thus increasing feelings of competence and control in the aging person. In turn, emotional familial issues becoming lessened, if not resolved. The end result, again, points to a reduction of an economic burden all parties involved, with, most likely, an increase in positive feelings towards self and others.
The Lessons of Keeping the Behavioral Goal on Target
ROGER W. MCINTIRE (University of Maryland)
Abstract: Papers in this symposium have demonstrated that principles in therapeutic intervention, gerontology and school environments have, on occasion, been off target. This presentation will briefly describe some additional disappointments for the list and then propose four specific procedures that could add to our list of successes. A brief history of research concerning the following questions: What should a government prison program do? Court sentences have not been particularly successful in improving behavior and punishment has remained weakly supported by behavior analysts. A positive goal of "career change" has been more effective for behavior analysts. What should a school program do? Tutoring programs have provided effective learning experiences for both tutor and student to be tutored - even at very young ages. Even third graders have benefited from tutoring younger students. What should an environmental program do? Response cost effects deserve more attention in changing the behaviors that contribute to climate change. A review of research of conservation behaviors shows clearly that convenience and response cost measures most often determine success. What parenting skills can be taught? The notion that parenting skills com "naturally" has stunted the growth and distribution of parenting skills that behavior analysts have so effectively demonstrated.
Behavior Analysis and School Psychology
DONALD K. PUMROY (University of Maryland)
Abstract: My topic is the involvement of Behavior Analysis in the field of School Psychology. I served as the Director of the School Psychology Program at the University of Maryland from 1961 to 1991. During that time I was active in Division 16 (School Psychology) in APA and in the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Also during my tenure as Director I was active in the Maryland School Psychologists' Association (I served as president) and spent considerable time in the Maryland schools. While serving as Director I taught Behavior Analysis to my students and teachers. I had gotten my doctorate at the University of Washington and had worked with, and did my dissertation under, Sidney Bijou; he became the Director of campus nursery school and conducted research there. From his early work he showed that teacher's attention served as a powerful reinforcer for the children. This knowledge has lead to much research and is most important in helping teachers. School Psychology has gradually over the years adopted more and more from Behavior Analysis including Function Behavioral Assessment, Response To Intervention (RTI), and a greater focus on positive behavior. These and other developments will be presented as well as a look at the future.
My 59 Years as a Behavioristic Clinical Psychologist: Past Triumphs, Current Challenges, and Future Opportunities
LEOPOLD O. WALDER (Behavior Service Consultants, Inc.)
Abstract: I am a behaviorist who has been studying, researching, teaching and practicing clinical psychology since 1951. Issues over these 59 years have included the triumph of behaviorism and then the resurgence of the mentalists in the guise of "cognitive behavior therapy" (with the mentalists viewing "cognitive" being more than just verbal behaviors, albeit often very important verbal behaviors). We strict behaviorists have shown that with functional analyses of symptomatic behaviors there is no scientific or clinical utility for such concepts as "mental illness" since there is no mind to become sick. The mind as a concept is the biggest distraction for those working to assess and ameliorate behavioral symptoms. This presenter has seen other mentalistic concepts (such as the mind, free will and free choice, intentional behaviors, and hallucinations and other behaviors called "psychotic" all collapse as useful ideas in the face of strict application of functional analyses to these clinical symptoms. However, in spite of its power and utility, behaviorism is not popular among providers. My surveys of self descriptions by providers show that a small minority describe their clinical approach as behavioral. My ongoing surveys indicate that roughly only 3 out of 11 listings include the word "behavior" or its variants in their self descriptions. Current challenges to build a stronger and therefore a more widely accepted behavioristic clinical psychology include continuing to subject symptoms to more behavioral analsyses and to sell this approach to the clinical community of teachers, researchers, providers and consumers.



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