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 #205
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Discrimination in Behavior Analysis and Beyond: False Dichotomies, Disparagement Humor, Implicit Bias, and #MeToo Cusp
Sunday, May 24, 2020
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty N-P
Area: CSS/PCH; Domain: Theory
Chair: Diana J. Walker (Visions, LLC; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Christine E. Hughes (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CE Instructor: Diana J. Walker, Ph.D.

This symposium will address diversity, inclusion, and social justice issues within the field of behavior analysis and in society at large. Some of the topics addressed are controversial and may be uncomfortable for some behavior analysts to hear and discuss. Topics include the differential treatment of applied practitioners vs. basic researchers/academicians and the negative effects on individuals, the field, and society. A second topic is the apparent acceptability of disparaging group members online, even by social media groups who pride themselves on being inclusive and respectful. A third presentation will discuss the role of implicit bias in issues of social justice, specifically, attitudes toward racial issues and gun violence and whether a focus on implicit bias is the answer. The final presenter will describe how the #MeToo movement has changed contingencies for accusers and the accused, in both adaptive and maladaptive ways; it will argue that this movement is a cultural cusp that behavior scientists should be ready to help steer in the right direction. Dr. Christine Hughes, a basic and translational researcher and radical behaviorist, will serve as our discussant.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): discrimination, diversity, inclusion, social issues
Target Audience:

Anyone in behavior analysis in included in the target audience for this symposium. Behavior analysts in graduate school, professional practice, academia, experimental and applied research, and all other aspects of behavior analysis, from beginning levels to seasoned professors and professionals, would benefit from this symposium.

Learning Objectives: 1. Attendees will be able to describe various ways in which behavior analysts exclude those they consider to be "others" and how that exclusion is harmful. 2. Attendees will be able to describe ways to remedy exclusive practices to benefit individuals, behavior analysis, and society. 3. Attendees will be able to state the definition of implicit bias and how it might influence attitudes and behavior regarding social injustice. 4. Attendees will be able to state the definition of cultural cusp and describe how behavior analysts might contribute to positive influences of the #MeToo movement.
Diversity submission False Dichotomies in Behavior Analysis: How They Hurt Us and What to Do About It
DIANA J. WALKER (Visions, LLC; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Categorizing phenomena helps us to respond to our world in effective ways. It also can create false dichotomies that limit our experience and hurt people and society. The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has recently intensified efforts to promote inclusion and discourage social inequality in behavior analysis and in society in general. Within the organization, though, there are false dichotomies that result in segregation of people and differential treatment, some of which is harmful to individual members and to the field of behavior analysis and society as a whole. Potentially harmful dichotomies include basic vs. applied, academician vs. practitioner, behavior analysis vs. other psychological/social sciences, etc. This presentation will focus on the harmful effects of segregating basic from applied behavior analysts and other false dichotomies, from the perspective of a basic researcher turned applied practitioner. The presentation will also provide suggestions for how better to integrate members of various communities within and outside behavior analysis and the benefits of doing so for the field, for individual behavior analysts, and for society in general.
Diversity submission 

Just Keep Scrolling: The Persistence of Prejudice and Discrimination in Politically CorrectSocial Media Groups

JENNIFER KLAPATCH TOTSCH (National Louis University)

For better or worse, social media has fostered interpersonal connections in previously unimaginable ways. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of social media groups comprised of behavior analysts committed to fostering a community of humility, inclusion, and respect. Many of these groups have stipulated rules of conduct (e.g., requiring civil discourse, prohibiting discriminatory content) and group administrators who leverage consequences for violating those rules (e.g., reprimands, removing violators from the group). However, even within these social justice-oriented groups, it seems that not all populations are valued equally, as evidenced by the persistent use of posts containing disparaging humor about specific groups of people. Even with explicit consequences outlined for posting discriminatory content, for posts containing disparaging humor, there is often either an explicit or implicit rule to “keep scrolling.” (In other words, ignore the content instead of posting a negative reaction.) So, what jokes will get you banned versus ignored? It depends on who you’re targeting… This presentation will analyze the variables that contribute to the persistence of discriminatory, disparaging humor in otherwise “politically correct” social media groups and the detrimental effects it has on the individual members of the group and the group as a whole.

Diversity submission Explicit and Implicit Attitudes and Their Relation to Social Issues
MARIE-MICHELE TRUCHON (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Recently, explicit and implicit attitudes on various social issues (e.g., racism, gun violence) have increasingly been subjects of conversation within and outside of behavior analysis. For example, reporters from various newspaper and broadcasting companies such as The Washington Post and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news have penned editorials on the topic. Additionally, scholars in our field and related disciplines have researched and published many articles concerning the subject. Nonetheless, there seem to be many questions regarding explicit and implicit attitudes and social issues that remain without definite responses and clear explanations. This presentation will operationally define key words and review measures commonly employed to assess explicit and implicit attitudes, including self-report questionnaires, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), and the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). Then, these concepts will be discussed in the context of social issues, and the relationship between explicit attitudes, implicit attitudes/bias, and overt discriminatory behavior will be considered.
Diversity submission 

The Endurance and Power of Women: Making it Matter through #MeToo

GABRIELA ARIAS (University of North Texas), Michaela Smith (University of North Texas), Traci Cihon (University of North Texas), Kyosuke Kazaoka (University of North Texas), Aecio De Borba Vasconcelos Neto (Universidade Federal do Para; University of North Texas)

The #MeToo Movement (initially coined by Tarana Burke in 2006) achieved notoriety in 2017 following Alyssa Milano’s call to women who have been victims of sexual harassment or assault to tweet back or change their social media status to #MeToo. Since Milano’s blog, numerous women have come forward, sharing their experiences with assault and harassment; some have even named their attackers. In many cases, these reports have garnered societal support, and actions were taken against those accused and convicted. Many of the accused and/or convicted have suffered tremendous losses concerning their careers and/or reputation. The #MeToo Movement has, in some cases, altered the contingencies in effect and the available response options for the victims and offenders. From a behavioral standpoint, this may suggest a Cultural Cusp, with changes in the contingencies that may lead to significant social changes. This presentation discusses the role behavior scientists could have in increasing the longevity and significance of the movement’s impact through applications of culturo-behavior science. These options include educational programs and measures of societal, cultural, and organizational change that help to further, sustain, and assure such change.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh