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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #219
CE Offered: BACB
SQAB Tutorial: The Organization of Behavior in Bouts of Responses
Saturday, May 27, 2023
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 4
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Federico Sanabria, Ph.D.
Chair: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Presenting Authors: : FEDERICO SANABRIA (Arizona State University)

Behavior analysts often rely on aggregate measures of behavior to conduct functional analyses and assess the efficacy of their treatments. These aggregate measures, nonetheless, obscure informative features of behavior. A more fine-grained analysis of how motivated behavior unfolds over time, for instance, suggests that, even in a relatively constant environment, motivated behavior is organized in bouts of engagement. Although this is likely in part an artifact of how behavior is measured, it reveals that (a) motivational, cognitive, and sensorimotor processes that underlie observable actions are, in principle, separable, and (b) the most important functional impact of reinforcement is not on conditioned responses or operants, but on behavioral states that give rise to those responses. This tutorial will discuss key insights on behavior that emerge from its temporal organization, the relation of this organization to theories of motivated behavior, and the analytical and procedural approaches to the estimation of organizational parameters.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts and graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to (1) indicate the importance and implications of the organization of behavior in bouts of engagement, (2) formulate the link between the organization of behavior and other theories of behavior, (3) estimate parameters of the organization of behavioral data
FEDERICO SANABRIA (Arizona State University)
Prof. Sanabria obtained his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University under the mentorship of the late Howard Rachlin, and was a postdoctoral researcher in Arizona State University (ASU) under the supervision of Peter Killeen and Janet Neisewander. He is the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at the Department of Psychology at ASU. Prof. Sanabria was Associate Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and of Learning & Behavior. He was the Program Board Coordinator for the Annual Meeting of ABAI and currently serves in its Science Board. Prof. Sanabria also serves as Program Chair and President-Elect of the Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior (SQAB), in the Executive Boards of SEAB and APA Division 25, in the Editorial Board of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition; Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics; Behavioral Neuroscience; among others. He has published over 70 empirical and theoretical papers and chapters on basic behavioral processes, as well as the entry on Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology and a textbook on learning and conditioning. Dr. Sanabria’s research has been funded by NIH and NSF.



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