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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #510
CE Offered: BACB
Aging and the Future: Developmental and Conceptual Analyses
Monday, May 27, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, Montreux 1-3
Area: DEV/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Genevieve M. DeBernardis (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Frances K. McSweeney (Washington State University)
CE Instructor: Mitch Fryling, Ph.D.

The present symposium considers two socially important topics pertinent to behavioral development; aging and planning for the future. The first presentation will focus on aging specifically. In doing so the presentation especially describes the various aspects of aging, both biological and psychological, as well as how cultural factors impact the aging process. The second presentation will focus on planning for the future, highlighting both conceptual and practical implications of this. Moreover, planning for the future will be considered in developmental perspective, and the difficulty associated with planning for the future across the lifespan is considered. This analysis will consider a number of topics, including time, distinguishing the future from the past, rule-governed behavior, and the vast contextual circumstances that impact all behavior. Given all of this, strengths and limitations of common strategies in planning for the future will be considered, and implications for understanding behavior development over time are highlighted.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Practicing behavior analysts, researchers, graduate students, those interested in behavioral development and conceptual analysis.

The Unbecoming of Age
LINDA J. PARROTT HAYES (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Along with changes of a biological sort, and in keeping with them, an individual’s psychological repertoire deteriorates with advancing age. Some changes of the biological sort, such as failing eyesight or hearing loss, may be remediated by eyeglasses or a hearing aid. Bones and joints may be fortified or replaced, and so on. So valuable is the property of youth in culture that the deterioration of biological characteristics is resisted, an intention facilitated by the partially implicit character of perception. And the tendency to resist aging becomes even more pronounced for women who, by virtue of the additional value attached to beauty, aspire to maintain this property in themselves beyond the natural course of its demise. By contrast, the deterioration of the psychological repertoire, as observed in memorial and intellectual difficulties, is not so readily corrected. For the most part, these changes are failures of responding with respect to verbally attributed and substitutive properties of stimuli, coupled with the disruptions to other activities produced by them. This presentation is focused on the psychological aspects of aging including the nature and implications of the repertorial decline, as well as the reasons and means by which it resisted and disguised.

Planning for the Future: The Good and the Bad

MITCH FRYLING (California State University, Los Angeles)

As verbal organisms, humans spend a great deal of their time planning for the future. Common sense tells us that this is a good thing, as we may be more prepared for that future when it inevitably arrives. Indeed, developing a general repertoire of planning behavior may be considered a good developmental target during childhood. Of course, the future individuals plan for may or may not ever happen. “Things change”, as the saying goes. One’s behavior is functionally related to number of dynamic factors, it is context dependent. While this is always the case, behavior is increasingly contextual over the course of one’s lifetime. Stimulus functions continue to evolve, and an increasingly large set of setting factors may be present or absent in any given circumstance; planning for the future can become difficult over time. Moreover, such planning may even result in less adaptation to an evolving context. This presentation considers all of this in developmental perspective, while discussing the subject-matter of behavior analysis, the constructs of time and the future, and implications from the literature on rule-governed behavior.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh