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 #71
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission On the Frontiers of Social Justice in Applied Behavior Analysis: Emerging Discourses
Saturday, May 23, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty N-P
Area: CSS/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Malika Pritchett (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Natalia Baires, M.S.

Social justice can be defined as the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges to promote fair and just relations. Although behavior analysts’ efforts towards social justice can be traced back to the late 1980s, analyses of the movements are still in their infancies. The current symposium will consist of three presentations directed at the promotion of social justice within the field. First, an analysis of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis will be provided to discuss inherent power imbalances between behavior-analytic researchers and human research subjects. Recommendations to diffuse such power will be approached from the perspectives of collaboration and cultural humility. Next, findings will be presented on the presence of Latina professors teaching in educational programs accredited through the Association for Behavior Analysis International. To date, researchers have not examined racial and ethnic identities of professors in the academy, which is necessary if diversity and equity is truly being targeted. Barriers to gathering such data will be discussed, in addition to the proposal of solutions to sustain diversity and equity within the field. Finally, an approach to increase social justice narratives will be described. The approach will discuss the importance of taking perspectives of others experiencing social injustice, which is foundational towards ensuring the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges for all.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): latina professors, power imbalances, social justice, social-justice narratives
Target Audience:

Behavior-analytic researchers, behavior-analytic faculty, students in behavior analysis, behavior analysts

Diversity submission Coloniality of Power and the Science of Applied Behavior Analysis: A Conceptual and Descriptive Analysis of Human Subject Research Practices
MALIKA PRITCHETT (University of North Texas), Shahla Susan Ala'i (University of North Texas), Josef Harris (University of North Texas), Melody Jones (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Humans are research subjects in behavioral sciences. The researcher’s main responsibility is the protection of human research subjects. Power imbalances are inherent within the researcher-subject relationship which establishes the researcher as the dominant knowledge seeking authority and the subject as the subordinate target of research, often times in need of protection. The science of behavior analysis was born in a Western hegemonic context which sustains and perpetuates dichotomous research relationships. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the scientific discipline dedicated to solving problems of utmost human significance. However, inherent tensions between the scientific agenda of the academy and the use of vulnerable human research subjects, establishes competing contingencies which threaten equality and collaboration. An analysis of publication trends in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis provides a platform to discuss the underlying motivating factors and trends through the decades. This analysis provides insight to the degree to which Applied Behavior Analytic research has been reflective of the status quo or a catalyst for social reform. Thoughtful recommendations on research methodologies are presented to promote the progression of the science through the neutralization of power imbalances and diffusion of power. These methods are rooted in collaboration and cultural humility.
Diversity submission 

Missing Identities: Who is Participating in Behavior Analytic Higher Education?

NATALIA BAIRES (Southern Illinois University), Sebastian Garcia-Zambrano (Southern Illinois University), Darwin S Koch (Southern Illinois University)

Increasing diversity and equity has recently gained momentum in behavior analysis. In the previous five years, data have supported significant progress in the presence of women in our discipline (Nosik, Luke, & Carr, 2018; Li, Curiel, Pritchard, & Poling, 2018), including the creation of the Women in Behavior Analysis conference (Sundberg, Zoder-Martell, & Cox, 2019). Despite these accomplishments, there is a lack of information regarding the racial and ethnic identities of behavior analysts, which should be considered when promoting diversity and equity. With Latinxs (a gender-neutral term) growing in the U.S., the number of Latinx behavior analysts is likely to increase. Although there are more women than men at the ranks of assistant and associate professor in programs accredited through the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI; Li, Gravina, Pritchard, & Poling, 2019), it is unknown how many Latina professors there are, which has great implications for the training and mentoring of future behavior analysts who come from similar backgrounds. In addition to presenting data on Latina professors teaching in ABAI-accredited programs, the current presentation will also discuss the barriers encountered when identifying such individuals. Moreover, viable solutions that can create change will be proposed, including the development of networks to provide coherent support to Latinas interested in pursuing higher education and the establishment of outlets for research related to sustaining diversity and equity.

Diversity submission Shifting Perspectives: A Social Justice Program Description
GABRIELLE MORRIS (University of North Texas), Emily Perez (University of North Texas), Shahla Susan Ala'i (University of North Texas), April Bass (University of North Texas), Alicia Re Cruz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: We live in a world of increasingly apparent social disparities. Tensions around these issues can be confusing and uncomfortable. Humans are easily able to see things from their own perspective, but struggle with the perspective of the “other”. If they are able to expand and shift perspective, they may be better able to understand and witness different lived experiences. Media offers a platform for examining social justices and injustice with some degree of detachment and allows exposure to multiple situations and events. Groups that are composed of people with different perspectives and are able to view media together, may increase perspective taking of each individual in the group and build appreciation for the unique insights offered by the individual group members. Such groups can be directed to build narratives that are grounded in social justice. This presentation will describe an approach for increasing social justice narratives through the use of media and a collective shaping process. Two examples of this approach will be described with accompanying media. The first example will focus on equity based intimate partner relationships. Following, the second example will focus on solidarity within hegemonic societal relationships. Both examples will address the varying power dynamics, indicators of relation types, and self-reflective observations.



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