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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #157
CE Offered: BACB
EAHB Distinguished Contributions Award: Celebrating the Contributions of Dr. Timothy D. Hackenberg
Saturday, May 23, 2020
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M2, Marquis Ballroom 1/2
Area: EAB; Domain: Theory
Chair: Stephanie Jimenez (University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown)
Discussant: Adam E. Fox (St. Lawrence University)
CE Instructor: Kathryn M. Kestner, Ph.D.

The Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Special Interest Group invites you to formally recognize the contributions of Dr. Timothy Hackenberg, whose extensive research career has shed much light on the complexities of human behavior. A colleague of Dr. Hackenberg will reflect on his many contributions toward advancing our understanding of complex human behavior and Dr. Hackenberg will subsequently deliver an address on a topic of his choosing. Please join us to celebrate the contributions of Dr. Timothy Hackenberg.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Animal Behavior, EAB, EAHB, Human Operant
Target Audience:

Graduate students and professionals

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to (1) explain the importance of species continuity to a science of behavior, (2) identify procedural differences which may be responsible for our inability to generalize important findings from non-human animals to humans, and (3) define and describe the importance of functional calibration.

Of Pigeons and People: Some Thoughts on Cross-Species Comparisons of Behavior


A starting point for the experimental analysis of human behavior is that of species continuity, of core principles that apply broadly across the animal kingdom, including humans. This continuity assumption has paid off handsomely, revealing impressive generalities across species. But important differences between humans and other animals have been reported as well. What to make of such differences? Are they best regarded as qualitative (differences in kind) or quantitative (differences in degree)? Unfortunately, due to procedural differences, it has proven difficult to compare humans and other animals on a level playing field. A level playing field requires some means of functional calibration, evaluating the procedures against known behavioral yardsticks (e.g., reinforcer immediacy, probability, amount, and so on). I will illustrate this approach with some research from my lab on cross-species analysis of choice in pigeons and humans. We have found that reducing procedural differences brings the choice patterns of the two species into greater accord, suggesting that at least some of the human-animal differences reported in the literature may reflect procedural differences rather than more fundamental differences in behavioral process. With procedures matched on important functional characteristics, genuine species differences can be separated from procedural differences.

Celebrating the Continued Contributions to EAHB of Dr. Timothy Hackenberg
KATHRYN M. KESTNER (West Virginia University), J. Adam Bennett (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Please join us as we present the Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior SIG Distinguished Contributions Award to Dr. Timothy Hackenberg. Dr. Hackenberg’s intellectual ancestry includes two previous recipients of the award. Dr. Hackenberg received his Ph.D. from Temple University in 1987 under the mentorship of Dr. Philip Hineline, and he then continued his training with Dr. Travis Thompson as a postdoctoral trainee at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Hackenberg spent almost 20 years at the University of Florida and is now a Professor of Psychology at Reed College. He has contributed greatly to the advancement of the science of behavior; for instance, his work on choice and conditioned reinforcement in humans and other animals laid the groundwork for countless research ideas, theses, dissertations, and research programs. This symposium will provide an opportunity to reflect on Dr. Hackenberg’s contributions to the field, focusing on the case that reducing procedural differences may bring cross-species continuities into sharper focus.



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