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.

Scholarly Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Paper Competition

The Scholarly Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Paper Competition was designed to encourage, promote, and reward behavior analytic scholarship on topics and issues in DEI, both in the field of behavior analysis and more broadly. Students (graduate or undergraduate) and post-graduate professionals who have completed empirical or conceptual papers relevant to DEI that are informed, at least in part, by a behavior analytic perspective are invited to submit.

2023 Winners

The winning papers for 2023 (two in the student category and one in the professional category) are listed below.


Student Category

“Diversity Term Accuracy: A comparison of SAFMEDS and Computer-Based Instruction Training Models”

Candace Fay (Florida Institute of Technology)


Abstract: Promoting diversity and inclusion can impact a variety of different groups. Many organizations rely on various training methods to help ensure diversity in the workplace. However, little research has compared the effects of different training approaches on increasing recall of specific cultural terms. Thus, the present study employed an adapted alternating treatment design to explore the effectiveness of two different training approaches. A SAFMEDS training model was compared to a traditionally-applied. Computer-Based Instruction, to determine which is more efficient at promoting cultural fluency. The number of correct definitions for diversity terms across various demographic categories, served as the dependent variable. Participants mastered a higher number of diversity terms when trained with SAFMEDS, compared to the computer- based instruction procedures. During maintenance sessions, participants exhibited sustained performance. SAFMEDS may be ideal for improving precision when training terms to be used in conversations about diversity, and culturally-related topics. These skills will aid in building more culturally-relevant social skills that include more complex response requirements. 


“Cultural Responsiveness in Behavior Analysis: Provider and Recipient Perceptions in Ontario”

Paige O'Neill (University of Nebraska Medical Center - Munroe-Meyer Institute)


Abstract: Cultural responsiveness is critical in behavior analytic services, particularly when providers and recipients have different cultural backgrounds. The purpose of this study was to systematically replicate and extend Beaulieu et al. (2019) by investigating the diversity among applied behavior analysis (ABA) service providers and service recipients in Ontario, service providers’ training and experiences in working with diverse families, and service providers’ and recipients’ perceptions of behavior analysts’ cultural responsiveness in practice. Results from 428 participants suggest that service providers and recipients in Ontario differ in demographic characteristics; service providers report having little training in how to serve diverse families; and although service recipients rate providers’ skills relatively positive, there is room for improvement. Results suggest a path forward for behavior analysis that includes education and training in cultural responsiveness as well as encouraging and fostering a bidirectional relationship between behavior analysts and the families they serve. 


Professional Category

“Evaluation of Instructive Feedback and Multiple-Exemplar Training as Strategies for Generalizing Tacts Across English and Spanish Responses”

Patricio Erhard and Terry Falcomata (University of Texas at Austin)


Abstract: Research has indicated that bilingual learners with autism have difficulty accessing culturally responsive interventions. Emerging research has shown that people with ASD have benefited from the use of instructive feedback and serial multiple-exemplar training for promoting the generalization of tacts. However, to date no study has examined the effects these combined strategies have on the emergence and generalization of tacts across multiple languages. We used a nonconcurrent multiple baseline design across participants to teach children from heritage language homes tacts in English and Spanish. The results demonstrated that instructive feedback and serial multiple-exemplar training were effective at producing generalization across novel stimuli exemplars in primary and secondary languages for two of the four participants. Additional training components (i.e., rehearsals and no-no prompts) were effective in producing the same generalization outcomes with the remaining two participants.



2022 Winners

The winning papers for 2022 (one in the student category and one in the professional category) are listed below.


Student Category

“Cultural Responsiveness in Assessment, Implementer Training, and Intervention: A Systematic Review”

Daniel Kwak and Kwang-Sun Blair (University of South Florida)


Abstract: This systematic review consists of 22 peer-reviewed single subject and group design studies that used culturally responsive assessment, implementer training, and intervention to yield positive outcomes for children and adolescents from diverse cultural backgrounds. The studies were published across 15 journals (2010-2021) and included at least 281 implementers and 536 service recipients. The review identified culturally responsive interventions targeting behavioral, social skills, academic, and social-emotional outcomes. Results indicated that most studies considered race, ethnicity, nationality, or language for cultural adaptations in assessment, implementer training, and intervention and addressed the specific culturally sensitive elements suggested by the Ecological Validity Model to some degree. The studies addressed cultural responsiveness in conducting research suggested in the literature, mostly in the area of problem formulation; scant research adequately addressed cultural responsiveness in the area of dissemination. Recommendations, implications, and directions for future research and behavior-analytic practices are discussed. 


Professional Category

“Understanding the Role of Cultural Values in Applied Behavior Analysis Service Delivery from Latinx Families”

Mariela Castro-Hostetler and Bethany P. Contreras (University of Nevada, Reno)


Abstract: The aim of this study was to identify and learn about the cultural values and beliefs held by Latinx families in Nevada. In addition, we also examined barriers faced by Latinx families when accessing ABA services. In Study 1, we distributed the Participant Demographic and Experience Survey to Latinx families who were currently receiving ABA services or had received services in the past. The survey included questions about the family’s cultural identity, their primary language spoken in the home, and parent educational level. The second part of the questionnaire asked the parents to share their experiences in receiving ABA services and the extent to which those services were received. In Study 2, we conducted structured interviews and focus groups with some of the families who participated in Study 1. From the structured interviews and focus groups, we identified four main themes: (1) family and cultural values; (2) reaction of receiving a diagnosis; (3) impact of ABA services (4) future recommendations for the field of ABA. From these themes, we found what aspects were meaningful in receiving ABA services, as well as barriers that families faced when seeking services.


2021 Winners

The 2021 inaugural year of the competition received 11 applications. The three winning papers (one in the student category and two in the professional category) are listed below.


Student Category

“A Behavioral Approach to Analyzing Bias-Based Behaviors in Public Schools”

Nicole Hollins, Daphne Snyder, and Sydney Harmon (Western Michigan University)


Abstract: Students of color are more likely to receive negative teacher-student interactions compared to their peers. Some have attributed the inequalities of teacher-student interactions to implicit bias or bias-based behaviors. Given the impact of bias-based behaviors on student academic and social outcomes, it is critical for school-based practitioners to objectively measure bias-based behaviors to assist in providing culturally relevant and socially significant treatments. The most commonly cited procedure for assessing bias is the Implicit Bias Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). While the IRAP assessment has produced socially significant results, the utility and acceptability of the IRAP in school-based settings may be limited due to several factors. Moreover, there is limited research that extends the assessment of bias-based behaviors to treatment in primary educational settings. Practitioners must have an efficient data collection system to measure interactions and use the data collection system when providing feedback to school personnel. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to discuss considerations to current procedures being used to assess bias-based behaviors and propose the Teacher Student Interaction Tool (T-SIT) for school-based practitioners. The utility and considerations of the T-SIT will be discussed. 


Professional Category

“Cultural Competence in Behavior Analysis: Current Status and Future Directions”

Lauren Beaulieu (Newton, MA, Public Schools) and Corina Jimenez-Gomez (University of Auburn)


Abstract: The need for those in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to incorporate culturally competent research and practice is underscored by the increased diversity found in the US census report and the prediction that the US will continue to become more diverse over the coming decade (Frey, 2019; Vespa et al., 2018). In addition, the recent update to the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requires certificants obtain training in the area of cultural diversity (BACB, 2020). Considering the field of behavior analysis relies on evidence-based practice, it is important for researchers and practitioners to evaluate best practices for working with diverse populations. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: a) to describe the relevant research and current practices in and outside of the field of behavior analysis regarding culturally responsive assessment and treatment procedures and b) to inspire research in the area of cultural competence in ABA by identifying current research questions in behavioral assessment and treatment to address to ensure culturally responsive practices are evidence-based.



“One Size Fits One: A Comparison Between Standard and Culturally Adapted Telehealth Caregiver Training in India”

Maithri Sivaraman (Ghent University), Tara Fahmie (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Amanda Garcia (Family Model Behavior Therapy), and Rima Hamawe (Family Model Behavior Therapy)


Abstract: Telehealth is increasingly considered a viable service delivery option for functional assessments and function-based treatment for problem behavior. However, few applications have occurred with participants outside the United States and little research exists evaluating the role that culture plays in service delivery. In the current study, we compared standard and culturally-adapted functional analyses and functional communication training delivered via telehealth to six participants in India. We measured the effectiveness using a multiple baseline design and also collected supplemental measures of sessions to criterion, cancellations, treatment fidelity, and social validity. We directly assessed preference for each training modality using a concurrent chains arrangement. Both modalities were effective in reducing problem behavior and increasing functional verbal requests for participating children, and treatment fidelity was high across training modalities. There were no major differences in sessions-to-criterion or social validity across training modalities. However, all six caregivers demonstrated fewer cancellations and greater preference for culturally-adapted training compared to standard training. The implications of our findings and avenues for future research are discussed.

Modifed by Eddie Soh