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 #267
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Derived Relational Responding is Pervasive in Addressing Disability, Autonomy, and Stigma
Sunday, May 30, 2021
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Area: CBM/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Lindsey Audrey Marie Dennis (Missouri State University)
CE Instructor: Lindsey Audrey Marie Dennis, Ph.D.

Disabilities are pervasive within the broader life context of impacted individuals, including challenges associated with stigmatization, disability progression, autonomy, and self-advocacy. This symposium will address these topics representing a next frontier in the evolution of behavior analytic service within person-centered care. The first talk will review stigmatization of persons with disabilities from within a derived relational responding framework, as well as how to predict and influence stigmatizing verbal relations. The second talk will describe a systematic intervention to address cognitive decline in the progression of dementia within the life-course of aging populations. The third talk will provide a translational model exploring the use of equivalence-based instruction to teach facts about medications that are necessary for ensuring autonomy and consent. Together, these talks go beyond addressing behavior challenges – to addressing skills that participate within the broader context of living with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities from a behavior analytic framework.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Autonomy, Disability, Relational Frames, Self-advocacy
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: (1) assess and influence stigma related to disabilities; (2) understand the relationship between dementia and relational responding; (3) evaluate medication knowledge from an equivalence model
Diversity submission 

Frames of Error: Three Behavioral Approaches to Reducing Stigma and Increasing Positive Perceptions Towards People With Disabilities

ROCCO G CATRONE (SIU-Carbondale), Darwin S Koch (Southern Illinois University)

What makes a person disabled is a much-debated topic with some focusing on the individual’s impairments (putting the onus of disability on the individual) while others focus on how the environment (both architectural and social) exacerbates an individual’s impairments and creates the conceptualization of disability (putting the onus of disability on society). No matter how a person with a disability (PWD) is categorized, they are met with healthcare, education, and work disparities that are perpetuated both unintentionally and intentionally. This paper examines the various ways disability and subsequently stigma arises from a variety of viewpoints both within and outside the tradition of behaviorism. Given an overview of behavioral research, much of which is line with non-behavioral conceptualizations track well on to, the author points to how Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and Contextual Behavioral Science (CBS) may offer potential applications for the reduction of stigma towards PWDs. Three studies were detailed across relevant relational frames and their potential roles in the formation and defusion of stigma thereby extending the prior behavioral research on utility for potential, computer-based societal interventions.

Diversity submission 

Evaluating the Relationship Between Dementia Symptomology, Memory, and Derived Relational Responding in Older Adults

AYLA SCHMICK (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago)

With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation there will be an influx of older adults in the years to come that has never been witnessed before. While a longer life brings with it many opportunities, they are dependent on one thing: the individual’s health. Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias are of most concern since they are defined by decline in cognitive functions that lead to loss of independence. Interventions are needed to help aid in the wide-ranging impact dementia will have. One area of promise is the use of language training procedures such as Relational Frame Theory (RFT), a contemporary behavior-analytic account of complex human language and cognition. The current study examined the relationship between dementia symptomology, memory, and derived relational responding in 42 older adults, ages ranging 65-97. Moderate to strong correlations were found between the Mini-Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Exam, Wechsler Memory Scale, and the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment- Transformation. Results of this study suggest that participants with higher scores of dementia symptomology showed lower scores of memory and derived relational responding. The results of expand the current literature by evaluating all relational frame families and their relationship to memory and dementia symptomology. Implications, limitations, and future research will be discussed.

Diversity submission Derived Stimulus Relations in Training Medication Knowledge
Erin Walker (Brock University), Albert Malkin (Southern Illinois University / Western University), KARL GUNNARSSON (University of Iceland), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University), Ryan C. Speelman (Pittsburg State University)
Abstract: This study made use instructional methods based on derived stimulus relations to train foundational medication knowledge to 7 graduate students, in a multiple baseline across participants research design. Baseline accuracy was assessed on target relations; participants were subsequently taught coordination relations between generic names, brand names, typical uses, and vignettes. Test trials of transformations of stimulus function entailed vignettes in accordance with frames of comparison, distinction, and opposition. Participants all demonstrated the ability to obtain novel relations and stimulus functions amongst the targets aforementioned. These results demonstrate the pedagogical utility of derived stimulus relations in training skills of social importance and the efficiency of these methods; given that only coordination relations were directly trained, and many novel relations were derived.



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