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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #64
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Culture, Race, and Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 29, 2021
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Area: CSS/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Mychal Machado (University of Alaska Anchorage)
Discussant: Shahla Susan Ala'i (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Shahla Susan Ala'i, Ph.D.

This symposium will address three questions through four presentations related to race, culture, and behavior analysis. The first presentation will address the question of how preferences for behavior-analytic treatment strategies align across caregivers and providers of different races, and then address the implications misalignments across racial groups might have for best practice. The second and third presentations will conceptually address the question of how behavior analysts can assess for and build multicultural and antiracist education, practice, and research. Examples of an assessment tool for research and recommendations for graduate training programs in behavior analysis will be provided. The final presentation will conceptually address the question of how behavior analysis can be applied to larger cultural and race-based issues by reviewing police use-of-force reform. A discussion of these presentations will follow and focus on how behavior analysts can contribute to improvements in cultural humility and competence.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Culture, Education, Policing, Race
Target Audience:

The target audience for this workshop includes college students, early-career researchers, BACB certificants in-training (e.g., RBTs), behavior analysts (BCaBAs, BCBAs, BCBA-Ds), and behavioral health aides or direct care workers with a working knowledge of the principles of behavior and basic behavior analytic procedures (e.g., antecedent strategies, differential reinforcement, etc.).

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to (1) identify at least one implication misalignments across racial groups might have for best practice; (2) describe one possible tool for assessing cultural sensitivity in behavior analytic research; (3) identify at least one recommendation to promote antiracist and multicultural graduate training programs in behavior analysis; and (4) identify at least one way behavior analysts might improve the assessment and efficacy of police use-of-force reform.
Diversity submission Assessing Correspondence Between Caregiver and Provider Treatment Preference in Alaska
(Applied Research)
KRISTIN RIALL (University of Alaska Anchorage), Katelynn Marie Mobley (University of Alaska Anchorage), Mychal Machado (University of Alaska Anchorage)
Abstract: Research shows that social validity is a key component of effective behavior analytic treatment and that treatment fidelity is crucial to success. This study expands upon Kawari et al.’s 2017 research on caregiver preferences by conducting a between-groups analysis to determine preferences for behavioral treatments, and how these preferences aligned between BCBAs and Alaska Native and non-indigenous caregivers in Alaska. Participants completed a web-based questionnaire including four scenarios describing problem behavior and selected how they would prefer to respond. Responses were compared across groups to identify potential differences. Results showed discrepancies in treatment preference across groups. These differences could have implications for treatment fidelity in the absence of additional strategies by providers working with Alaska Native caregivers. This research lays the groundwork for community-based research and improved theory centering on the needs of indigenous caregivers in Alaska who support an individual with Autism.
Diversity submission 

A Look at Using Culturally Responsive Research Practices in the Field of Behavior Analysis

SHERI KINGSDORF (Masaryk University ), Karel Pancocha (Masaryk University)

Culturally competent practices are materializing in the clinical work of behavior analysts. This growth may be the result of added components to coursework, continuing education training, and client-focused curricular materials. However, applied behavior analysis (ABA) research has been slower to see these changes. With ABA research guiding the work of new and seasoned practitioners, it is imperative that it strongly reinforces components of cultural responsiveness. Researchers outside the field of ABA, Dr. Bal and Dr. Trainor, have recognized the importance of research demonstrating cultural competence. Resultantly, they developed the Culturally Responsive Research Rubric for evaluating studies. The 15-item rubric is built upon existing tools for assessing research quality, but is not aimed at commonly accepted indicators (e.g., experimental design). Rather, the focus is on a set of culturally responsive criteria (e.g., how culture guided design). To bridge gaps in ABA research and cultural competence, two behavior analysts aim to introduce the rubric, discuss its applicability to the field of ABA, give examples of rubric components that align with the work of behavior analysts, and present a review of the behavioral research on pyramidal parent training through the lens of the rubric.

Diversity submission 

Towards the Development of Antiracist and Multicultural Graduate Training Programs in Behavior Analysis

Adel Najdowski (Pepperdine University), LUSINEH GHARAPETIAN (Pepperdine University), Victorya Jewett (Pepperdine University)

Racist policies and inequity are prevalent in society; this includes higher education institutions. Many behavior analytic training programs have been complicit in omitting cultural humility and antiracist ideas in their curricula and institutional practices. As societal demands for allyship and transformational change increase, programs must rise to the challenge and act as agents of change in our clinical, professional, and personal communities. The current paper offers a multitude of strategies for institutions to develop an antiracist and multicultural approach. These recommendations encompass policies that may be promoted on the following levels: (a) organizational infrastructure and leadership, (b) curriculum and pedagogy, (c) research, and (d) with faculty, students, and staff.

Diversity submission 

A Behavioral Analysis of Two Strategies to Eliminate Racial Bias in Police Use-of-Force

ASHLEY MARIE LUGO (Florida Institute of Technology), Mychal Machado (University of Alaska Anchorage)

Structural racism is rooted in American social systems that were supposedly designed to promote our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Social systems like policing, for example, are built on a foundation of discriminatory practices designed to disenfranchise Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). One of the most recent visible examples of racially-biased policing is the excessive use-of-force by officers toward BIPOC. In response, advocates, policy makers, and researchers have sought solutions. Police use-of-force reforms such as Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) and Implicit Bias Training (IBT) have become popular and are currently being applied in many police departments across the country. However, evidence supporting the effectiveness of these reform strategies to reduce use-of-force is mixed, and further evaluations are needed to understand why these strategies are purported to be an effective solution. The purpose of the current review is to ignite future empirical evaluations of use-of-force reform. Following a summary of the research conducted to date on BWCs and IBT, we will conclude with a brief discussion of how behavior analysts might improve and foster strategies that are efficacious.




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