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 #79
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Toward an Inclusive and Diverse Behavior Analysis: Advantages and Barriers to International Collaboration
Saturday, May 29, 2021
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Area: CSS/TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Elana Keissa Sickman (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Tom G. Szabo (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Zhihui Yi, M.S.

Behavior analysis is expanding and diversifying to include analysts from multiple and diverse backgrounds, from Western and non-Western countries, and who speak many different languages. Fostering internationalization and diversity in our field is not only necessary to achieve optimal growth as a field but represents a strategy of turning science inward to improve the way that we operate behavior analysis as a unified and diverse field. The first talk will explore potential advantages that bilingual behavior analysts may have in areas of derived relational responding and psychological flexibility that can translate to work with clients. The second talk will discuss several barriers that international students face when completing graduate training and work within the United States. Addressing these barriers may ultimately confer several advantages not only to practitioners, but this work can also serve to improve the overall quality and scope of our evolving field.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Bilingual, Diversity, International students, Relational Frames
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: (1) Identify strengths in derived relational responding that are related to biligualism; (2) Identify the relationship between diversity and psychological flexibility; (3) Identify barriers for international students in US behavior analysis programs
Diversity submission The Effect of Bilingual Experience on Derived Relational Responding and Psychological Flexibility
ZHIHUI YI (Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Abstract: The behavior of translation is conceptualized by Skinner as a special case of intraverbal behavior where the stimuli are in one language, and the response is in another. However, as Skinner pointed out, it is somewhat difficult to account for the interchangeability in responses among bilingual speakers where they may produce two different languages or use them in the same sentence when presented with the same stimuli. Stimulus equivalence, and subsequently, Relational Frame Theory (RFT), seems to account for this phenomenon where two different languages can be viewed as two relational networks connected by the same stimuli or constructs they are related to. By repeatedly engaging in relational framing and the derivation of equivalent and non-equivalent relationships between two different verbal operants, bilingual speakers are able to produce novel verbal behavior in a new language. To test this hypothesis, the current study compared the differences in derived relational responding between bilingual and English-only speakers. Forty participants participated in the study. Preliminary evidence suggests that bilingual speakers were able to engage in derived relational responding more fluently than English-only speakers. We also examined the differences in psychological flexibility after controlling for anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Diversity submission 

Barriers and Considerations for International Students in Behavior Analytic Graduate Programs

Sidhant Sehgal (The Chicago School), Rocco G Catrone (SIU-Carbondale), Manish K. Goyal (Southern Illinois University), Sebastian Garcia-Zambrano (Southern Illinois University), Danielle Wilhelmina Kennedy (The Chicago School), SOMCHART SAKULKOO (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

There are over 38 thousand BCBAs worldwide with roughly 2 thousand residing outside of North America (BACB, n.d.). With behavior analytic work being highly sought after and needed (Carr and Nosik, 2017), the 103 institutions outside of north America that have a verified course sequences (VCS; ABAI, n.d.) serve as the educational hubs abroad before the BACB decisions to pull back certification to only USA and Canadian certificants. Many students, however, come from around the world to the USA in order to complete these courses sequences in hopes of becoming a BCBA. There is a surprising lack of data regarding international students engaged in this coursework in addition to outcomes of individuals who have graduated from USA-based institutions. International students also experience more barriers and hurdles to overcome during their time than local students (Mallinckrodt, et al. 1992; Sawir, 2005; Lian & Wallace, 2020) making the education/learning experience received, as well as future job prospects, inequitable. Given this lack of data and concerns regarding access to resources, this manuscript will be addressing the various barriers that inhibit the training experience and overall comfort of these students while completing their graduate education in behavior analytic programs. These barriers will be broken down into administrative, structural, and cultural barriers being behaviorally defined, identification of what is included within that barrier, and author lived experiences with each. Suggestions for policy change as well as future research will be suggested in order to create a more equitable model of support for international students.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh