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

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Monday, May 29, 2023


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #321
CE Offered: BACB
How Behavior Evolves, and Why it Matters
Monday, May 29, 2023
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 2/3
Area: DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jo Ann Pereira Delgado (Teachers College, Columbia University)
CE Instructor: Marlene Zuk, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: MARLENE ZUK (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: Why do people continue to obsess over which behaviors are controlled by genes and which by the environment? Advances in genomic technology have only made matters worse, with headlines every day about how our wealth, educational levels and even – I am not kidding – our likelihood of owning a dog depend on our genetic makeup. The truth, of course, is that the interaction of nature and nurture contribute to all traits, including behavioral ones. The real question is not whether genes or the environment are paramount, but how behavior evolves. I will explore this question using examples from across the animal kingdom, showing how similar – and different – human behavior is to that of cockatoos, crayfish and even cockroaches. I’ll also examine whether animals suffer from mental illnesses.
Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Psychologists interested in the basis of statements about genetic vs. environmental causes of behavior.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Understand why behavior evolves the same way that physical characteristics do; (3) See how the gene-environment entanglement explains behavior, rather than nature or nurture. See that the nature-nurture controversy is a zombie idea! (3) Understand the link between human mental illness and cognitive dysfunction in animals.
MARLENE ZUK (University of Minnesota)
Marlene Zuk is Regents Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She studies the evolution of behavior, especially sexual behavior and animal communication, and is also interested in the ways that parasites and disease affect the ecology and evolution of their hosts. Most of her work has been on insects. Dr. Zuk is also the author of several books about animal behavior and evolution for the public, including Paleofantasy, Sex on Six Legs, and Dancing Cockatoos and the Dead Man Test. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2022 received the Distinguished Animal Behaviorist Award from the Animal Behavior Society.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #328
CE Offered: BACB
Developing Inclusive and Culturally Responsive Interventions for Diverse Families Raising Autistic Children
Monday, May 29, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 1
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Corina Jimenez-Gomez (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Sarah Dababnah, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: SARAH DABABNAH (The University of Maryland, Baltimore)
Abstract: Parents and other family caregivers of autistic children have significant strengths, but also face challenges, both on the individual/family-level (e.g., child behavior challenges, parent depression) and on the systems-level (e.g., lack of family-centered services). Furthermore, autism intervention research has historically overrepresented white, highly educated participants from high-income countries, ignoring the concerning racial, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic disparities in autism services. Thus, diverse communities, in both high- and middle/low-income countries, often struggle to access inclusive and culturally relevant interventions to address child, parent, and family concerns. This presentation will focus on intervention research to close these gaps in knowledge and improve service access.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Providers, community advocates, policymakers

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Describe ethnic, racial, geographic, and socioeconomic disparities in autism research and services; (2) Discuss the role of parents and other family caregivers in autism interventions; (3) Detail types of interventions for parents of young autistic children.
SARAH DABABNAH (The University of Maryland, Baltimore)
Sarah Dababnah, PhD, MPH, MSW is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work (United States), a Faculty Affiliate at Yonsei University School of Social Welfare (South Korea), and a recent US Fulbright Scholar at the American University in Cairo (Egypt). She specializes in practice, policy and research related to the health and well-being of families of individuals with intellectual and developmental differences. Dr. Dababnah’s research focuses on family-centered, community-engaged and culturally relevant strategies to address racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in autism services. Dr. Dababnah received specialized training in early childhood and disability practice, research, and policy at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (Chapel Hill, NC), the Kennedy Krieger Institute (Baltimore, MD), the Columbia University National Center for Children in Poverty (New York, NY), and the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health (Washington, DC). She earned advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Johns Hopkins University.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #340
CE Offered: BACB
Decision Neuroscience: Why Bother With the Brain?
Monday, May 29, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 2/3
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
CE Instructor: Scott Huettel, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: SCOTT HUETTEL (Duke University)

Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in applying the methods of neuroscience to problems in decision science. In this talk, I will outline some notable advances in this new interdiscipline of “decision neuroscience”, while also emphasizing some of its theoretical and practical challenges. I will describe recent work from my laboratory that uses evidence from neuroscience to shape thinking about core problems in decision science, drawing examples from diverse phenomena that include economic gain-loss framing, altruistic decisions, and voter choice.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Researchers, practitioners, and students interested in decision making, neuroscience, and/or their intersection.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Understand the key theoretical concepts that underlie decision neuroscience; (2) Describe the challenges raised against the use of neuroscience to study decision making – and identify how current research overcomes those challenges; (3) Explore key brain systems that support decision making; (4) Understand how models inspired by neuroscience provide novel insights into economic and social decision making.
SCOTT HUETTEL (Duke University)
Scott Huettel is Professor of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. His research uses a combination of behavioral, physiological, and neuroscience techniques to discover the neural mechanisms that underlie higher cognition, with a focus on economic and social decision making. Much of his research – which includes collaborations with neuroscientists, psychologists, behavioral economists, and business and medical faculty – falls within the emerging interdiscipline of neuroeconomics, where he is a Past-President of the Society for Neuroeconomics. He is an author of more than 170 scientific publications, including articles in Science, Nature Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Neuron, Psychological Science, and other top journals in several fields. His research has been featured in CNN, Newsweek, Money Magazine, NPR Science Friday, and many other media outlets. He is lead author on a primary textbook in neuroscience, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and is a co-editor of the textbook Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Huettel has won the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the Duke University Graduate School, and has been recognized as one of the top 5% of undergraduate instructors at Duke.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #372A
The Contingencies are Killing Us, Not Drugs
Monday, May 29, 2023
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center 401/402
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Daniel Mark Fienup (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Presenting Author: CARL HART (Columbia University)
Abstract: Join us for a presentation, discussion, and questions with Dr. Hart.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CARL HART (Columbia University)
Carl Hart is the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. He is also the Ziff Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. Professor Hart has published numerous scientific and popular articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology and is co-author of the textbook Drugs, Society and Human Behavior (with Charles Ksir). His most recent book, “High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society,” was the 2014 winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Professor Hart has appeared on multiple podcasts, radio and television shows including Real Time with Bill Maher and The O’Reilly Factor. He has also appeared in several documentary films including the award-winning “The House I Live In.” His essays have been published in several popular publications including The New York Times, Scientific American, The Nation, Ebony, The Root, and O Globo (Brazil’s leading newspaper).



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