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 #230
Functional Analyses Without Boundaries: Methodological Adjustments to Increase Acceptability Across Cultures and Settings
Sunday, May 24, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 202B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Caitlin Fulton (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Discussant: Jessica Foster Juanico (University of Kansas)

Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs), including experimental functional analysis (FA), are the gold standard of analysis to help in creating a function-based treatment plan. Unfortunately, there may be barriers which make completing an FBA, particularly the FA component, difficult; if not impossible. These barriers may include cultural practices and beliefs, time constraints, etc. These presentations will present approaches to current methods of training and completing FBAs which address some of these concerns. First, Japanese cultural beliefs make conducting an FA very difficult due to differences in problem behavior definitions and staunch opposition to evoking problem behavior. Therefore, our first presentation will present research evaluating a procedure for training Japanese teachers to identify precursor behavior via a functional analysis instead of the target problem behavior. Second, oftentimes there are time constraints or concerns voiced by school administrators regarding functional analyses. Therefore, our second presentation will include a potential alternative to current functional analysis procedures will be presented which is substantially faster than an FA and evaluates a replacement behavior throughout the analysis as well as the problem behavior. These studies extend the current research and aim to make the science of functional analysis more available to educators and clinicians.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): functional analysis, precursor behavior, response allocation
An Evaluation of Behavior Skills Training for the Identification of Precursor Behaviors and Implementation of Precursor-Based Functional Analyses by Japanese Teachers
KOZUE MATSUDA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Susan D. Flynn (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Neil Timothy Martin (Behavior Analyst Certification Board)
Abstract: Despite the importance of identifying the function of a problem behavior, not all teachers have the necessary skills to evaluate severe behavior. For example, in countries such as Japan, there are few trained and certified behavior analysts and there are cultural mores strongly averse to the occurrence, and particularly evocation, of problem behavior; therefore, standard functional analysis (SFA) methods are often deemed unacceptable. For this study, seven Japanese teachers of students with ASD participated in two studies. In Study 1, the teachers were trained to identify precursors to problem behaviors using behavior skills training. In Study 2, the teachers were trained to conduct an FA of precursor behaviors. At the end of the study, the social validity of precursor FA methods was evaluated. The results showed that the training was successful in teaching participants to identify precursor behaviors and conduct precursor FAs. Additionally, the teachers reported high levels of social validity for the precursor FAs.
An Evaluation of a Response Allocation Assessment as a Possible Alternative to Traditional Functional Analysis
JENNIFER QUIGLEY (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Joslyn Mintz (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jessica Foster Juanico (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The “standard” functional analysis (SFA) is an empirical demonstration of a cause and effect relationship between a target behavior and environmental variables using a set of test and control conditions (Iwata & Dozier, 2008). Criticisms have arisen of the SFA over the last 15 years, including the issue of time constraints or setting acceptability. The purpose of the current study was to replicate and extend previous research by proposing a possible alternative to the SFA, a response allocation assessment (RAA). The RAA measures the participant’s allocation of challenging behavior and a replacement behavior in a concurrent schedule using a latency measure. This enables the clinician to identify the function of challenging behavior while also assessing the likelihood the participant will engage in the replacement behavior under similar contexts. The current study evaluated effectiveness of the RAA in assessing functions as compared to the SFA, evaluated the efficiency of both analyses, and discussed the social acceptance and validity of the RAA.



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