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.

  • AAB: Applied Animal Behavior

    AUT: Autism

    BPN: Behavioral Pharmacology and Neuroscience

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSS: Community, Social, and Sustainability Issues

    DDA: Developmental Disabilities

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    PRA: Practice

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

    DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    SCI: Science

49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Sunday, May 28, 2023


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #123
CE Offered: BACB
Why Animals Fight? Using Principles From Behavioral Ecology to Understand Aggression
Sunday, May 28, 2023
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 2/3
Area: AAB; Domain: Theory
Chair: Erica N. Feuerbacher (Virginia Tech)
CE Instructor: Gareth Arnott, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: GARETH ARNOTT (Queen’s University Belfast)

Contest behaviour is a feature throughout the animal kingdom. Animals compete for access to resources including food, territories and mates. These resources impact fitness in terms of survival and reproduction. As such, contests are important drivers of natural selection. Given the fundamental role of animal contests, behavioural ecologists are interested in the factors that drive and shape these aggressive encounters. Game theory has provided a useful framework to model these interactions and develop predictions and theory to explain them. This presentation will explore the dynamics of animal contest behaviour including the information gathering and decision making strategies used to resolve aggressive encounters. It will examine the assessment strategies used by animals in contests, including recent research detailing how this is linked to cognitive ability and affective state. It will also discuss the role of early life factors in shaping the development of aggression, including the role of play behaviour. Finally, it will illustrate how this understanding can be used in an applied animal welfare context to address issues of aggression in managed animals.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Gain an understanding of the reasons why animals engage in contests; (2) Develop knowledge and understanding of contest theory; (3) Gain knowledge of how contest theory can be used to understand aggression from an animal welfare perspective.
GARETH ARNOTT (Queen’s University Belfast)

Dr Gareth Arnott is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Animal Behaviour and Welfare within the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. He is a behavioural biologist, with research interests spanning a number of topics in a range of animal species. He has a research track record studying animal contest behaviour and the strategies animals use to resolve aggressive encounters. He has studied contest behaviour from a fundamental behavioural ecology perspective, while also translating these principles to applied settings to address animal welfare issues related to aggression. In addition, he conducts animal welfare research in both farmed and companion animals. Gareth is also passionate about science communication and has previously written a feature article on animal contests for Scientific American magazine. He currently serves as an editor for Animal Behaviour and is the academic lead of the Animal Welfare Research Network ( Gareth is also the Director of Postgraduate Research for his school and joint Programme Director for an MSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare.  

B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #145
CE Offered: BACB
Pairing with Medical Service Providers: Getting on the Same Page, Speaking the Same ABC’s
Sunday, May 28, 2023
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 1-3
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Michele R. Traub (St. Cloud State University)
CE Instructor: Takahiro Soda, M.D.
Presenting Author: TAKAHIRO SODA (University of Florida)

Psychopharmacological agents are prescribed in a high proportion of individuals with ASD/IDD, with several agents with formal FDA-approved indications; many are used off-label. The data-based approach that ABA providers/ RBTs who are supervised by BCBA’s is ideal for contextualizing and measuring the behaviors (e.g., self-injury) for which medications are often considered. As a result, their involvement can tremendously aid in the decision-making process about initiating, adjusting, and discontinuing medications. On the other hand, medical providers (e.g., psychiatrist) can guide the recognition of potential conditions, psychiatric and otherwise that may be leading to sudden changes in target behaviors that have been identified for behavioral intervention. Given these goals and contributions, coordinating care is beneficial and critical. Several examples of achieving such coordination of care will be presented at multiple levels of care with thoughts on how such coordination can be achieved where no ongoing relationships currently exist.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Anyone who will have patients/ clients comanaged with psychopharmacology providers, anyone that has had medical concerns for their clients

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify commonly prescribed medication classes and the onset of effects as well as side effects; (2) Understand common context and information typically provided to medical providers when being asked to prescribe various interventions to address behaviors; (3) Identify suggested strategies to interface with medication prescribers to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship
TAKAHIRO SODA (University of Florida)
Takahiro Soda, MD, PhD is the Medical Director for the UF Health Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine. His research focuses on bridging the quality gap between the standard of care in the treatment of patients with neuropsychiatric developmental disorders and the quality of care provided in the real world and nudging clinical practice towards the use of patient-specific factors (genetics, environmental/ socioeconomic) to aid in the provision of optimal care of patients and to do so in an equitable and ethical manner. His work has been funded by the NIH, Foundation of Hope for Treatment of Mental Illness, and the UNC Quality Improvement Fellowship. He serves on the ethics as well as the autism/ intellectual developmental disorder committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and on the Ethics/ Policy Committee of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. He is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #157A
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
A Paradigm Shift in This Moment of Invisible Symptoms: What the Adolescent Brain Tells Us About How to Conceptualize Addiction and its Treatment
Sunday, May 28, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 1
Area: SCI; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Liz Kyonka (California State University - East Bay)
CE Instructor: Liz Kyonka, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: SARAH FELDSTEIN EWING (University of Rhode Island)

There has been a global surge in adolescents’ use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)/vaping, cannabis (vaped, edible), and use of prescription opioids (POs) not-asprescribed. The nature of these substances often renders them “difficult-to-detect” due to limited physical and behavioral signs, along with subtle, but often, hazardous longer-term effects. Here, Dr. Feldstein Ewing will address the nature of substance use presentation in the adolescent age group, including challenges in detection and related complications that impact screening and prevention. Further, in terms of intervention, many of the existing addiction treatments that we use with adolescents were originally designed for adults; however, the adolescent brain is increasingly being recognized as substantively different than the adult brain. And, likely for related reasons, adolescents engage with substances in different ways than adults. Dr. Feldstein Ewing will begin by reviewing empirical data on “difficult-to-detect” effects, including acute effects at neural levels and longer-term neurocognitive and developmental changes that precede outward physical symptoms. Dr. Feldstein Ewing will also present translational approaches, integrating brain (developmental human neuroscience; fMRI) and behavior (clinical intervention programs) to begin to inform timely updates in how we approach defining addiction in this age group, along with how we update our approaches to behavioral treatment in this age group.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Clinicians, scientists, mental health faculty

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify the nature of substance use and related risk behaviors during the teen years; (2) Identify existing prevention and intervention approaches for adolescent health risk behaviors; (3) Describe translational approaches to inform improvements in adolescent prevention and intervention approaches
SARAH FELDSTEIN EWING (University of Rhode Island)
Dr. Feldstein Ewing is the Prochaska Endowed Professor of Psychology, Director of the Adolescent Neuroscience Center for Health Resilience (ANCHoR) at URI, and Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (DPHB) and Advance CTR at Brown University. She currently serves as Associate Editor at Transla'onal Psychiatry (Nature). With over 147 peer-reviewed publicaQons and 4 books, she has published widely regarding the developmental fit, neurocogniQve mechanisms, gender differences, and cross-cultural adaptaQon of intervenQon approaches for this developmental stage. She has also developed a highly innovaQve NIH-funded line of translaQonal research to evaluate the connecQon between basic brain mechanisms (e.g., brain structure, funcQon, connecQvity) and youth health risk behavior (e.g., clinical symptoms, prevenQon and intervenQon outcomes). She has conducted this work primarily with underserved and underrepresented youth [e.g., low SES youth, young people of color (POC), young females, sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth), and in the context of youth cannabis use, alcohol use, prescripQon opioids (POs used not-as-prescribed], HIV/STI risk, and high body mass (BMI). Dr. Feldstein Ewing has served as a key member of the NaQonal Academy of Sciences Workgroup for the Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids (2017), and naQonal and internaQonal panels addressing youth brain:behavior translaQonal research and its implicaQons for intervenQon approaches for this age group (e.g., Novavi Symposium on AddicQon Research and Treatment, Denmark: 2022; NIH Science of Behavior Change Capstone Conference, 2021; MacArthur FoundaQon Law and the Brain, 2016).
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #212
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Use of Rodent Behavioral Models to Investigate the Effects and Mechanism of Action of Classical Psychedelic Drugs and Related Molecules
Sunday, May 28, 2023
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom D
Area: BPN; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jonathan W. Pinkston (Western New England University)
CE Instructor: Adam Halberstadt, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: ADAM HALBERSTADT (University of California San Diego)
Abstract: Classical psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin induce profound alterations of consciousness via 5-HT2A receptor activation. Over the last twenty years, considerable clinical evidence has emerged indicating that psychedelic drugs may have therapeutic efficacy against a range of disorders, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and chronic pain. The therapeutic use of psychedelics has a number of potential limitations, including off-target interactions and the intense hallucinogenic effects produced by these substances, which necessitates close clinical supervision for several hours and can cause anxiety and confusion in some patients. However, the degree to which the clinical efficacy of psilocybin and related substances are linked to their psychedelic effects is not entirely clear. It may be possible to decouple the psychedelic and therapeutic effects produced by this drug class, potentially permitting the development of analogs of existing psychedelics that retain therapeutic activity but with less potential to produce hallucinogenic effects and undesirable side-effects. Developing and evaluating new agents from this class has historically been difficult due to the complexities associated with the preclinical assessment of psychedelic potential. The presentation will review work conducted over the last decade to develop and optimize preclinical behavioral models that can be used to characterize psychedelic-like molecules. In addition to helping to answer fundamental questions about the mechanism-of-action and structure-activity relationships of psychedelic drugs, the availability of these models has facilitated the identification of new members of this drug class with unique pharmacological properties. These second-generation molecules are starting to move through the drug development pipeline and are being investigated as novel therapeutics.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Basic and clinical researchers and mental health professionals.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to: (1) Describe potential therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs on depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and chronic pain, (2) Discuss the potential limitations of the therapeutic use of psychedelics, including off-target interactions and the hallucinogenic effects produced by these substances, and (3) Describe work conducted over the last decade to develop and optimize preclinical behavioral models that can be used to characterize psychedelic-like molecules.
ADAM HALBERSTADT (University of California San Diego)
Dr. Adam L. Halberstadt is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). He received a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Delaware in 1998 and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. Dr. Halberstadt’s research focuses on the neurobiology of serotonin and the pharmacology and effects of psychedelic drugs (serotonergic hallucinogens). He is currently the co-director of the Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative (, which coordinates novel basic and clinical research with psychedelics at UCSD. His laboratory at UCSD studies psychedelic drugs using a cross-species translational approach and includes both preclinical and clinical research programs. Dr. Halberstadt is currently conducting a clinical trial at UCSD to investigate whether psilocybin can relieve the symptoms of intractable phantom limb pain in amputees. His preclinical research program focuses on the pharmacology and mechanism-ofaction of existing and novel psychedelic molecules. Dr. Halberstadt was also the primary editor of “Behavioral Neurobiology of Psychedelic Drugs”, a volume that was published by Springer in 2018 as part of their Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences (CTBN) series.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #237
CE Offered: BACB
Early Class Start Times are Bad for Sleep, Attendance, and Grades
Sunday, May 28, 2023
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom D
Area: SCI; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jeanne M. Donaldson (Louisiana State University)
CE Instructor: Joshua Gooley, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: JOSHUA GOOLEY (Duke NUS Medical School)
Abstract: Healthy sleep and attending classes are important for college students’ academic success. We tested whether early morning classes are associated with shorter sleep, lower attendance, and poorer academic performance by analysing digital traces of more than 35,000 students at a large university. Daily patterns of login activity on the Learning Management System (LMS) and wrist-worn activity trackers showed that nocturnal sleep was an hour shorter for early morning classes because students woke up earlier than usual. Internet Wi-Fi connection logs revealed that lecture attendance was the lowest for early morning classes, and this was partly explained by students sleeping past the start of class. Analyses of grades showed that the number of days per week that students had morning classes was negatively associated with grade point average. These findings suggest that universities should avoid scheduling mandatory early morning classes in order to improve students’ sleep health and ability to learn.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

general audience; educational practitioners; school leaders; researchers working on the following topics: learning analytics, student lifestyle behaviours, psychology, or neuroscience, cognition and performance

Learning Objectives: (1) To understand the associations of class start times with sleep and class attendance (2) To understand the relevance of ‘chronotype’ for students’ sleep and learning (3) To understand how students’ interactions with university digital platforms can be used to estimate their sleep behaviour and class attendance
JOSHUA GOOLEY (Duke NUS Medical School)
Dr Joshua Gooley is an Associate Professor in the Neuroscience & Behavioural Disorders Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. He is Principal Investigator of the Chronobiology and Sleep Laboratory and Director of Research of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Sleep Center. He is Neuroscience Theme Lead of the Institute for Applied Learning Sciences and Educational Technology at the National University of Singapore, and past president of the Singapore Sleep Society. He received his PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard Medical School, where he studied neural pathways that regulate sleep and circadian rhythms. His research program at Duke-NUS focuses on understanding the role of sleep and circadian rhythms in regulating human performance and health outcomes.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #238
CE Offered: BACB
Developmental Variability and Developmental Cascades: Lessons from Infants with an Older Sibling with Autism
Sunday, May 28, 2023
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 1
Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Alice Shillingsburg (Munroe-Meyer Institute, UNMC)
CE Instructor: Jana Iverson, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: JANA IVERSON (Boston University)
Abstract: The onset of sitting and walking are among the most transformational events of infancy. In this talk, I will present findings from research designed to examine ways in which advances in these two motor skills afford infants foundational opportunities and experiences that benefit communicative and language development. More generally, these results reveal how the achievement of new motor skills exerts far-reaching, cascading effects on development that extend beyond the individual to impact the behavior of social partners and the broader communicative environment. Much of the data come from longitudinal studies of an exceptionally interesting group of infants, those with an older sibling with autism. Some of these infants will themselves eventually receive an autism diagnosis, and many exhibit developmental delays, especially in language and communication. Finally, I will argue that improving our understanding of the links between early motor, communicative, and language development in a way that focuses on the constant, dynamic, and complex interplay between developing infants and their environments is critical for the development of effective intervention for infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental delays.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts, BCBAs, clinicians and practitioners, and researchers

Learning Objectives: Upon conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: a) describe the concept of developmental cascades; b) identify ways in which advances in early appearing foundational skills can influence change in other domains of development, in caregiver behavior, and in the learning environment; and c) describe ways in which small, subtle delays in foundational behaviors may impact the emergence and later development of interrelated skills and the learning environment.
JANA IVERSON (Boston University)
Jana M. Iverson, Ph.D. is Associate Dean for Research for the College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College and Professor of Physical Therapy at Boston University. Her research, funded by NICHD, NIDCD, and Autism Speaks, focuses primarily on the interface between the development of early motor skills and the emergence of communication and language in neurotypical development and in children with or at risk for developmental disorders. Dr. Iverson has published a co-edited book and more than 100 articles and book chapters. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Child Language and Language Learning and Development. Since 1991, she has served as an international investigator at the CNR in Rome, Italy. Dr. Iverson was awarded the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in 2007 and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2018. She is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #260
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing
Sunday, May 28, 2023
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 2/3
Area: CSS; Domain: Theory
Chair: Sarah M. Richling (Auburn University)
CE Instructor: Douglas McKenzie-Mohr, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: DOUGLAS MCKENZIE-MOHR (McKenzie-Mohr & Associates)
Abstract: This presentation provides a comprehensive introduction to community-based social marketing and how it is being applied worldwide to foster sustainable behaviors. Those who attend the workshop will learn the five steps of community-based social marketing (selecting behaviors, identifying barriers, developing strategies, conducting pilots, and broad-scale implementation) and be exposed to case studies illustrating its use.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Behavioral scientists with an interest in applying knowledge from the field to the fostering of sustainable behaviors

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) understand the contribution behavioral sciences can make to sustainability; (2) Understand the community-based social marketing framework; (3) understand how to select which behaviors to target
DOUGLAS MCKENZIE-MOHR (McKenzie-Mohr & Associates)
For over three decades Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr has been working to incorporate scientific knowledge on behavior change into the design and delivery of community programs. He is the founder of community-based social marketing and the author/co-author of three books on the topic. One of these books, “Fostering Sustainable Behavior,” has been recommended by Time Magazine and become requisite reading for those who deliver programs to promote behaviors that protect the environment and foster public health and safety. His work has been featured in the New York Times and he is the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s inaugural award for innovation in environmental psychology and the World Social Marketing conference’s inaugural award for contributions to the field of social marketing. More than 75,000 program managers have attended workshops on community-based social marketing that he has delivered internationally.



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