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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #96
CE Offered: BACB — 
Guidance or Compliance: What Makes an Ethical Behavior Analyst?
Saturday, May 26, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Marina Ballroom F
Area: PCH/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Nancy Rosenberg (University of Washington)
Discussant: Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University)
CE Instructor: Nancy Rosenberg, Ph.D.

In 2016, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board released a new revised ethical code for the field: The Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts. In this revised code, the board has shifted the language of the code from that of a set of guidelines to that of a set of enforceable rules. This important shift has not been well discussed in the field. In this symposium, we explore the potential implications and perhaps inadvertent consequences of such a shift and propose that a focus on a process of ethical decision making, rather than on an increasing set of rules, may be a better way to promote ethical behavior within the field. We propose a possible ethical decision making process and give a case example of how the process would be used in confronting an ethical dilemma.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): compliance code, ethics
Target Audience:

Practicing BCBAs

Learning Objectives: 1) Learners will understand the ethical approach taken by the current ethical code and the implications of that approach 2) Learners will understand other approaches to ethical decision making 3) Learners will be learn of a possible ethical decision making process and how to use it.
Ethical Decision Making
NANCY ROSENBERG (University of Washington), Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)
Abstract: Abstract: This presentation will discuss the rule-based ethical approach currently being taken by the BACB and the potential implications of that approach. It will provide an overview of other historical approaches to ethical decision making and their strengths and weaknesses and will propose that a focus on an ethical decision making process rather than a focus on compliance with a set of rules might better promote ethical decision making within the field of behavior analysis.
An Ethical Decision Making Process for Behavior Analysts
ILENE S. SCHWARTZ (University of Washington), Nancy Rosenberg (University of Washington)
Abstract: Abstract: This talk will outline a possible ethical decision making process developed to help behavior analysts carefully and methodically analyze ethical dilemmas encountered in their practice. The talk will outline the steps of the process and then present a case study example of how the process would be used to help resolve an ethical dilemma.



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