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

Previous Page


Symposium #265
A Contingency Analytic Account of Emotions and Emotional Behavior: Teaching Discrimination in Tacting Emotion Words
Sunday, May 30, 2021
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Area: AUT/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Paul Thomas Andronis (Northern Michigan University)
Abstract: At ABAI 2020, we described why the reliance on facial expressions for teaching learners to tact emotions is not empirically validated. We reviewed evidence that refuted claims of a neural “fingerprint” that is consistently associated with the expression of emotions (Feldman-Barrett, 2017). Many programs for teaching children with autism to tact emotions train learners to recognize facial features (Baron-Cohen et. al, 2009). These programs sometimes result in learners successfully labeling a picture of a face with a common expression, such as a smile as happy. This represents simple paired associate learning and is not an indication that learners understand the contingencies related to emotions. The challenge is to bring learners into contact with the consequential contingencies responsible for what is felt and described by emotion words (e.g. anger) (Layng, 2017). We will provide an update on current efforts to demonstrate the efficacy of procedures derived from the Goldiamond-Layng theory.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
The Goldiamond-Layng Theory - A Purely Contingency Analytic Approach to Emotions
NOLAN WILLIAMS (Emeritus Institute of Management)
Abstract: In this talk, we reintroduce a purely contingency analytic account of emotions and emotional behavior. This account, the Goldiamond-Layng Theory, rejects the notion that emotions are either causes of or caused by behavior. Rather, emotions are conceptualized as tacts that describe consequential contingency arrangements (Layng, 2017). This account is also consistent with recent neuroscience findings that suggest the absence of a neurological fingerprint for what is felt (Feldman-Barrett, 2017). Finally, implications of the Goldiamond-Layng Theory are described, including a new role for emotions in the self-management of human behavior.
Teaching Emotions: An Instruction Design Component Analysis Approach
ANNA LINNEHAN (Endicott College)
Abstract: Given the complexity in identification of a succinct definition of the various emotion terms and their related contingencies, an instructional design component analysis was utilized to identify attributes and rational sets of teaching examples and non-examples (Layng, 2019; Markle & Tiemann, 1969) of the contingencies described by certain emotions. Using a concept analysis, emotion words and the contexts they describe were analyzed to identify critical and variable attributes of the emotion concept. Critical attributes are features that if absent would produce a non-example, and variable attributes are features that vary across the range of examples of the concept. A contingency analysis was used to reveal the critical features that occasion the use of a particular emotion word and the emotions reported to be felt. For example, contingencies in which creating distance from a harmful stimulus is the reinforcer are tacted as “fear”. Methods for teaching contingency tacting will be reviewed.
Conceptualization of an Emotional Curriculum
ANNE CAROLINE COSTA CARNEIRO (Universidade Federal de São Carlos)
Abstract: The Goldiamond-Layng Theory conceptualizes emotions as a type of tact that describes different arrangements of consequential contingencies. The differences in emotions felt reflect differences in contingencies. Irritation describes a different contingency than annoyance. Future efforts will focus on what might be called emotional nuances and will be concept analyzed accordingly. Through developmental testing, programs will be developed that will provide an emotional curriculum for use by teachers and therapists. This presentation will describe how this control-analysis research (after Goldiamond and Thompson, 1967/2002; Layng, Stikeleather, and Twyman, 2006; Markle, 1967) is to be conducted and how the data will be used to refine procedures as they are developed.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh