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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #89
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Psychopathology as Adaptation to Aversive Control: Experimental Analyses
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Scene AB, Niveau 0
Area: CBM
CE Instructor: Robert C. Mellon, Ph.D.
Chair: Michael J. Dougher (University of New Mexico)
ROBERT C. MELLON (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences)
Robert C. Mellon, Ph.D, BCBA, is professor of the Department of Psychology at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens, Greece, where he established a seven-semester undergraduate course of studies in behavioral philosophy and science, and directs the Laboratory of Experimental and Applied Behavior Analysis. He received his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1987, where he trained in both the clinical psychology and experimental analysis of behavior programs. He completed the Clinical Psychology Internship Program at New York University-Bellevue Hospital Center. Mellon was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Developmental Psychobiology at the State University of New York at Binghamton, and an NIMH National Research Service Award fellow at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University. For four years he travelled Asia, the Middle East and Europe teaching in the Overseas Programs of the University of Maryland. Since 1995 he has lived and worked in Greece, initially at the Hellenic Republic University of Crete. Mellon�s empirical and theoretical work, principally in behavioral variability, resistance to change and aversive control, and the implications of these processes in understanding the provenance and treatment of problematic patterns of behavior, has been published in both behavior-analytic and mainstream psychology journals. He is also author of numerous behavior-analytic texts in the Hellenic language, and has collaborated on translations of canonical works of B.F. Skinner, including Walden Two and About Behaviorism. Mellon currently serves as past president on the Board of Directors of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis, and is founding president of the Hellenic Community for Behavior Analysis. He is an associate editor of the European Journal of Behavior Analysis.
Abstract: Pernicious patterns of behavior termed thought, anxiety, mood and personality "disorders" have long been recognized to be related to social punishment, but the relationship remains poorly specified, limiting the effectiveness of preventative and therapeutic interventions. This presentation reviews findings of a series of experiments supporting a view that seemingly maladaptive patterns of behavior such as stereotypic repetition, self-denigration, and idiosyncratic perception serve to terminate stimuli produced in the inchoate emission of socially-punished response forms, a process in which aspects of effective avoidance are reinforced adventitiously.
Target Audience: Licensed behavior analysts, psychologists, graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the mechanism of differential and adventitious punishment and reinforcement in establishing the negative and positive reinforcing potency of stimuli automatically produced in the subsequent emission of punished and non-punished response forms, including stimuli issuing from privately-observable acts such as thinking or fantasizing; (2) describe how timely self-exposure to such warning signals for punishment can reduce the probability of emission of punished response forms by evoking non-punished acts; and (3) apply this analysis in interpreting the provenance of “dysfunctional” thought and perceptual processes such as obsessive, catastrophic and paranoid ideation, distorted body- or self-image, as well as in the determination of more fruitful adjustments to ubiquitous social punishment.
 

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