Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalĀ® (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; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Panel #425
CE Offered: BACB
Training Moral Reasoning: A Behavior Analytic Approach
Monday, May 25, 2020
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: PCH/DEV; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Luisa F. Canon, Psy.D.
Chair: MaKensey Sanders (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
LUISA F. CANON (Institute for Effective Behavioral Interventions (IEBI))
MEGAN MICHELLE ST. CLAIR (Halo Behavioral Health)
MATT WILLIAMS (Autism Center of North Mississippi)

Most people encounter moral dilemmas, or situations in which multiple courses of action seem to be indicated as “moral,” throughout their lives beginning in early childhood. Moral reasoning involves consideration of consequences of possible responses to a moral dilemmas. Without training in moral reasoning, many faced with moral dilemmas fall victim to applying a solution based on generalized, universal principles called moral heuristics to a difficult and unique problem. In this way, moral heuristics often involve faulty judgement and action due to insensitivity to direct contingencies. Considering moral heuristics from a behavioral perspective (e.g., in terms of maladaptive, rule-governed behavior) may foster improved understanding of the manipulable conditions under which maladaptive choices are made. This panel will discuss what specific behaviors are involved in moral reasoning independent of moral heuristics, how ABA currently addresses moral reasoning, and the barriers we face in doing so.

Target Audience:

Service providers, behavior analysts, clinicians, higher education instructors, school professionals, teachers, people interested in philosophical issues

Learning Objectives: 1. Define moral reasoning in terms of behavior analysis 2. Identify behaviors relevant to training moral reasoning 2. Identify barriers practitioners face in training moral reasoning and how to approach them



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