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 #315
CE Offered: BACB
Expanding Horizons: Addressing Conceptual and Methodological Limitations in Analyses of Complex Behavior
Sunday, May 27, 2018
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 10-13
Area: PCH/VRB; Domain: Theory
Chair: Madison Gamble (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Discussant: Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
CE Instructor: Jonathan J. Tarbox, Ph.D.

Behavior analysis as a field is growing at a phenomenal rate, with behavior analytic services available to more in need than ever before. The range of applications of behavior analysis, however, in research and practice remain somewhat limited in many ways. In some areas, a lack of variability in experimental and observational methods allow for those methods to become conflated with the observations themselves. In other areas, philosophical and theoretical concerns keep us from consuming and building on non-behavioral findings. In either case, scientific progress is slowed. This symposium will explore two examples where horizons could be pushed to optimize behavior analysis' influence in important domains of social significance. The first paper will review new or uncommonly used approaches to training and testing derived relational responding. The second paper will seek to describe cognitive phenomena in behavioral terms and propose approaches for researching them. The discussion will focus on ways to continue to expand the influence of behavior analysis in meaningful ways.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Derived-Relational-Responding, Relational-Frame-Theory
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts and behavior therapists with an interest in relational frame theory, derived relational responding, cognitivism, and behaviorism.

Learning Objectives: Learning objectives: 1) Describe one new method of training and testing derived relational responding. 2) Describe one cognitive phenomenon in behavioral terms. 3) Describe general variables limiting the expansion of behavior analysis.

Beyond Match-to-Sample: New Methods in Training and Testing Derived Relational Responding

REBECCA NOEL TACKE (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Melissa Morgan Miller (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

Derived relational responding (DRR) is a key concept in Relational Frame Theory that has been applied to exploring and intervening on a range of complex behaviors from literacy to perspective taking. The basic research on DRR has been rather prolific, typically making use of match-to-sample preparations, where participants engage in a series of conditional discrimination tasks. It has, also, however relied almost solely on MTS and closely related methods. To the extent that the basic functional characteristics proposed to define DRR are observed only with MTS, our understanding of this phenomenon is necessarily limited. This presentation will first briefly review the phenomenon of DRR as proposed in Relational Frame Theory, along with an overview of MTS methodologies as they've been applied to basic research in the area. Next, it will provide a review of the strengths and weaknesses of alternative technologies for training and testing DRR. Recommendations for future research will be offered.


Overlapping Perspectives: A Conceptual Talk on the Overlaps Between Cognitive Psychology and Contextual Behavioral Psychology

MELISSA MORGAN MILLER (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Rebecca Noel Tacke (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

Behaviorism has long been committed to exploring all behaviors of social significance from a solid philosophical and theoretical foundation. That foundation is distinct, in part, for its rejection of mentalism—the explanation of behavior by appealing to cognition or other "mental events." With this, however, has come the frequent rejection of certain phenomena as topics for behavior analytic study—particularly those phenomena frequently studied in cognitive psychology. For behavior analysis to continue to grow in both basic and applied domains, we must seek to understand the implications of data collected from a cognitive perspective. Once we are able to look past differences in terminology, theory, and methods, we have the opportunity to do what we do best—to apply behavioral principles and methods to (1) determine the conditions under which certain cognitive phenomena are exhibited and (2) manipulate those conditions to improve cognitive functioning. This presentation will review several key cognitive phenomena of social significance along with how we might define and analyze them from a behavioral perspective.




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