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 #406
Behavior Perspectives to Learning and Organization in Educational Settings and Policies
Monday, May 31, 2021
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Area: EDC/OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Kalliu Carvalho Couto (Oslo Metropolitan University)
Discussant: Jonathan Krispin (Valdosta State University)

This symposium offers a behavior-analytic perspective to learning and organization in educational settings. The four presentations highlight the complex system character of educational settings and the importance of school-wide interventions focusing on interactions rather than purely individual approaches. The consolidation of educational conditions that help pupils to thrive can be the aggregate product of coordinated nurturing practices, favored and selected by engineered cultural consequences. The presentations will discuss possible interfaces between a complex system perspective and selection processes at the level of culturants and operants. Concerning the latter, the use of nudging in educational institutions is explored to enhance the support of positive developmental paths, adaptive to contextual changes. We suggest multidisciplinary behavioral insights as conceptual tools to explain behavior from individual to multiple policy-level responses in order to identify innovative and cost-effective interventions. Moreover, the need for adaptation in response to changes in contingencies of reinforcement brought by the Covid-19 provides the opportunity to discuss resilience at the system level.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): complex systems, cultural selection, education, interlocking behavior

A Cultural Level Approach Embedded in the Good Behavior Game for Institutional Change

FLORA MOURA LORENZO (University of Brasília), Laércia Abreu Vasconcelos (Universidade de Brasília (UnB)), Ingunn Sandaker (Oslo Metropolitan University/ OsloMet)

The Good Behavior Game is a school-based intervention with evidence of promoting positive change in pupils’ interactions through nurturing group contingencies. Whilst the rate of prosocial and on-task behavior increases, aggressive and disruptive episodes become less frequent. In the long-term, the program is linked with preventing individual and societal losses, as high incidences of substance abuse. Although extensively replicated, pathways for the intervention’s sustainability remain to be elucidated. Advancements into the study of the third level of behavior selection allow for putting a framework to integrate the Good Behavior Game into a scalable public policy design. From a system perspective, the target audience should be extended from pupils to school staff. Instead of individual mentoring, arrangements that require coordination between practitioners and decision-makers are more promising in terms of promoting institutional change. Shifts in favor of nurturing patterns at the school level would be achieved as an aggregate product of interlocking behavioral contingencies, which in turn, can be selected by designed cultural consequences. By embedding metacontingencies to the Good Behavior Game, parallel operant and culturant selection processes can pave the way to lasting institutional change. For dissemination, the webs of interaction under selection should integrate cross-sector policymakers.


The Cooperative Classroom: Nudging and Reinforcing Good Behavior to Enhance Learning and Social Skills

MARCO TAGLIABUE (OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University), Borge Stromgren (OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University)

The present conceptual work puts forward a model drawn from both traditions for enhancing classroom learning and interactions. It aims to achieve and sustaining enhanced learning and teaching practices from individual to school system level of analysis. First, school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SWPBIS) are described and contextualized at the level of at the primary level of intervention, which concerns all pupils’ behavior with one another rand their teachers. Specifically, the focus is on posting values, character traits, expected behavior. Second, nudging principles are presented for improving the implementation and use of SWPBIS in concert with programming the availability of timely reinforcement. The nudging approach can be effective at assisting the creation of cooperative classrooms and even reach out beyond the classroom: to the system level. Taken together, this work argues for arranging cooperative educational environments. The expected outcomes of this enhanced model include enhancing learning and teaching within classroom settings and enhancing social skills beyond the classroom. It is argued that attaining the latter is possible only by addressing and nurturing the larger cultural milieu of which pupils, teachers and schools are part of.


Resilience in Higher Education: A Complex Perspective to Adaptive Changes in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

(Applied Research)
FABIO BENTO (Oslo Metropolitan University), Andréa Bottino (Faculdade Professor Miguel Ângelo da Silva Santos), Felipe Cerchiareto (Faculdade Professor Miguel Ângelo da Silva Santos), Janimayri Forastieri (Faculdade Professor Miguel Ângelo da Silva Santos), Fabiana Rodrigues (Faculdade Professor Miguel Ângelo da Silva Santos)

The coronavirus pandemic has brought changes in contingencies of reinforcement affecting the acquisition, change and extinction of behavioral patterns. From the complex systems perspective, it is important to look at the emergence of different practices and behaviors at the community and organizational level. The present article discusses the dynamics of system resilience by empirically investigating the case of lecturers in a university college in Brazil. Our analytical framework applies the concept of resilience in socio-ecological systems to discuss emergent behavioral changes. Resilience in socio-ecological systems highlights adaptation processes characterized by an interplay of previous experience and emerging new patterns of behavior. We integrate elements of a descriptive analysis and an exploratory basic qualitative study to understand how the university college may have self-organized in this period. We observe variation in behavioral repertoire, changes in interactions among lecturers and students, and the emergence of innovative practices in the context of rapid and unexpected environmental changes brought the pandemic. However, we raise questions related to the integration and endurance of such new behaviors in a post-pandemic future.

Multidisciplinary Behavioral Insights
INGUNN SANDAKER (Oslo Metropolitan University/ OsloMet)
Abstract: On all levels, from agent interaction to policy makers, the multidisciplinary behavioral insight offers tools that more effectively and more efficiently meet intended goals and address the real needs of citizens and end-users. Government interventions are often based on deductive method, which applies what is assumed to be rational behavior to policy problems to arrive at solutions that are implemented at full scale. By using the growing body of behavioral insights, one might debias this process by moving away from sometimes unrealistic assumptions of rationality to discover the actual behavior of individuals through problem identification, behavior analysis, experimentation and trialing that tests multiple policy responses at a smaller scale to determine the best course of action in a cost-effective manner. Contingencies of reinforcement must be different on the level of individual analysis from that of the systems level. As cultural phenomenon is part of the cultural environment the unit of analysis are not individual behavior. Interlocking behavior contingencies, aggregate products or the systems interacting with the environment calls for new methods of investigations. One might be systems analysis.



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