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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #19
CE Offered: BACB
Prosocial: Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy at the Group Level
Saturday, May 28, 2022
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156B
Area: CSS/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Adryon Ketcham (GOALS For Autism)
Discussant: Yukie Kurumiya (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
CE Instructor: Yukie Kurumiya, Ph.D.

Behavior analysis is a science of the behavior of individual organisms interacting with their environment, and yet the intention of the science has always been to create knowledge of great generality, applicable to larger groups of humans (Skinner, 1953). Relatively little research in behavior analysis has been dedicated to group behavior. Prosocial is a recently developed intervention approach combining evolutionary science with applied behavior analysis (ABA) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), for producing positive behavior change in groups, ranging from small groups (e.g., classrooms), to very large groups (e.g., counties or states). Although the principles and procedures that form the components of the Prosocial model are strongly supported by basic and applied research, relatively little research has evaluated the Prosocial approach as a whole. This symposium brings together two presentations and a discussion on the topic of Prosocial. The first presentation, by Dr. Scott Herbst, will describe the Prosocial model, review existing research, and discuss directions for future research and practice. The second presentation, by Tiffany Hamilton, describes a multiple baseline evaluation of the Prosocial model for increasing equity in vocal participation in university classroom instruction. The symposium concludes with a discussion by Dr. Yukie Kurumiya.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ACT, Evolutionary Science, Prosocial
Target Audience:

The target audience should have a beginner's knowledge of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the core design principles of the Prosocial model of group behavior change; (2) describe existing research on the Prosocial model; (3) describe how the Prosocial model can be used to increase equity in participation in university classes.
An Overview of Prosocial: The Method, Results, and Practical Considerations
SCOTT HERBST (SixFlex Training & Consulting), Adryon Ketcham (GOALS For Autism), Mariah Harnish (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Prosocial (Atkins,. Sloan-Wilson & Hayes, 2019) is model of managing group performance that is derived from the Nobel Prize winning work of Elinor Ostrom (1990) as well as practices from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy applied to team behavior. In this presentation, we cover three main points. We will spend the majority of the presentation discussing the design principles of the model including the intention of each along with some practices for use. Second, we will review some of the research conducted from within the model. Finally, we will make some practical recommendations for applying the model with teams and organizations, with an emphasis on behavior change and organizational outcomes that may be indicative of success.

Increasing Equity of Active Student Engagement: An Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Training Prosocial in Online University Classes

Thomas G. Szabo (Touro University), TIFFANY HAMILTON (University of Southern California), Gabriela Carrillo Naquira (USC), Mariah Harnish (Florida Institute of Technology), Adryon Ketcham (GOALS for Autism), David Legaspi (Center For Applied Behavior Analysis), Megan Ritchey Mayo (Antioch University New England), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)

This study aimed to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for improving equity of student engagement in an online graduate school level course. Equity was defined as contingencies that favor balanced duration of vocal responding and participation from all group members during non-proctored, small-group InterTeaching (IT) sessions. Little previous research has evaluated procedures for increasing equity in university instruction. Prosocial is an evolutionary, behavior analytic group-level intervention that, in part, is designed to increase equity in the performance of small groups. However, no previous research has evaluated the effects of Prosocial on university instruction. Therefore, we investigated the use of repeated exposures to brief ACT Prosocial exercises in conjunction with interdependent group contingencies for group performance. We evaluated the effects of Prosocial in increasing equitable participation in discussion, thereby contributing to a more equitable university instruction environment. Results suggested that the prosocial model was effective and that additional treatment components from the OBM literature may also contribute. Results are discussed in terms of implications for university instruction, as well as group-level behavioral interventions aimed at increased equity and social justice.




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