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.

  • AUT: Autism

    BPH: Behavioral Pharmacology

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSE: Community Interventions, Social and Ethical Issues

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    OTH: Other

Fourth International Conference; Australia, 2007

Program by Invited Events: Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Manage My Personal Schedule


Invited Paper Session #49
CE Offered: BACB

Why Tolerance to Cocaine's Effects on Fixed-Interval Performance is Different from That on Fixed-Ratio Performance

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Area: BPH; Domain: Experimental Analysis
CE Instructor: Marc N. Branch, Ph.D.
Chair: Kennon A. Lattal (West Virginia University)
MARC N. BRANCH (University of Florida)
Dr. Marc Branch has conducted impressive and definitive research in a number of areas related to basic operant conditioning, including memory, observing behavior, and reinforcement schedules. He is best known for directing one of the country's leading programs in behavioral pharmacology. He and his students have conducted a long line of research on agents such as pentobarbital, d-amphetamine, and cocaine, and on environmental factors that influence drug tolerance. This work has been funded continuously for 30 years by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and has been published in the flagship journals in both behavior analysis and pharmacology. In recognition of this consistent track record of excellence, he has been the recipient of a coveted research career award from NIMH. Dr. Branch has held a number of leadership positions in our field, including president of ABA International and Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, editor of Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and The Behavior Analyst, and either member or chair of study sections for the past 25 years. He is a Fellow in both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society.

Previous research has revealed that tolerance to cocaine's effects on behavior under fixed-ratio (FR) schedules depends on the FR parameter. In contrast, tolerance to the drug's effects on behavior under fixed-interval schedules has been unrelated to FI parameter. Although FI and FR schedules with equivalent inter-reinforcement times result in roughly equivalent average post-reinforcement pause times, the distributions of pauses differ. Specifically, the conditional probability of ending the pause grows with time on FI schedules, but remains constant on FR schedules, a difference that may be related to the fact that longer pauses on FI schedules are associated with shorter delays to reinforcement, whereas that relation does not exist for FR schedules. To test whether that difference plays a role in the FI-FR difference in drug effects, pigeons were trained under a response-initiated FI schedule, wherein the FI starts timing when the pause ends. Under those conditions, tolerance was related to FI parameter.

Invited Paper Session #56
CE Offered: BACB

Behavioral Contingency Analysis and Human Affairs: A New Discipline?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: DEV; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Francis Mechner, Ph.D.
Chair: David C. Palmer (Smith College)
FRANCIS MECHNER (The Mechner Foundation)
Dr. Francis Mechner Born in Vienna, Mechner received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1957 under Keller and Schoenfeld, and then continued in the department as lecturer in experimental psychology until 1960. He developed the “counting schedule” and schedules for time estimation, and built a computerized psychopharmacology laboratory at Schering Corporation that featured the use of “rat rotors.” In 1959, he published a notation system for behavioral contingencies, the ancestor of his present system for the analysis of behavioral contingencies in human affairs. Mechner has also published numerous papers and chapters on his extensive research in the field of learning, some of it related to his avocational accomplishments as a pianist of concert caliber, linguist, chess and go master, and painter. Mechner has been funding his research activity personally through companies that he founded. The first, in 1960, was Basic Systems, Inc., which pioneered programmed learning, followed by ten more companies, each based on some innovative technology. From 1963-65, Mechner worked with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in upgrading science teaching in South America and Asia. In 1970 he participated in the development of Sesame Street. In the 1970s, he implemented early childhood development programs for state governments, and large-scale manpower development programs for the Brazilian government. He is currently a Trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

A detailed understanding of the prevailing behavioral contingencies is a precondition for the management of most human affairs. This paper presents a language for analyzing and diagramming any system of behavioral contingencies, including the complex ones encountered in the fields of law, business, public affairs, sociology, education, and economics. The language for such analysis, and its associated notation system, specifies the if, then relationships between acts, their consequences, and the termination of time periods. Analyses and diagrams of wide-ranging examples like fraud, betting, blackmail, various games, theft, contracts, racing, competition, mutual deterrence, feuding, bargaining, deception, loan transactions, insurance, elections, global warming, personal tipping, vigilance, sexual overtures, decision making, mistaken identity, etc. are presented as illustrations of the ability of the languages three-term vocabulary (acts, consequences, and time period terminations) and the associated simple syntax to generate the myriad nuances of meaning needed to provide the required generality and reach. A process is outlined for using the system as a tool for addressing practical problems in the above areas. One approach is to develop computer software for simulating and modeling the ways in which various possible assumptions and contingency designs would play out, and the behavioral dynamics that would ensue.

Invited Paper Session #63
CE Offered: BACB

Why Humans Are So Cruel, and What Can We Do About It?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Area: EAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
CE Instructor: Joseph Ciarrochi, Ph.D.
Chair: JoAnne Dahl (Uppsala University, Sweden)
JOSEPH CIARROCHI (University of Wollongong)
Dr. Joseph Ciarrochi Joseph Ciarrochi has published several books, numerous book chapters, and over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles. His research focuses on understanding how to reduce suffering, promote vitality, and promote social effectiveness. One line of research seeks to identify the skills people need to optimally adapt to difficult life situations. Dr. Ciarrochi is currently collecting the fifth year of data for a large longitudinal study that examines how adolescent resilience develops and changes. A second line of research focuses on evaluating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) interventions amongst a variety of populations (e.g., police force, people diagnosed with cancer).Recently, my colleagues and I are developing an internet-based system for delivering ACT.

Why do humans behave so badly towards one another, in the absence on any obvious deprivation or threat? Most importantly, what can practitioners do about it? My talk will look at the pervasiveness of cruelty and aversive interpersonal behavior, which ranges from the common and mundane (A husband trying to "hurt" his wife with words) to the extraordinary (e.g., the holocaust). Situationist, evolutionary, and cognitive theories provide valuable insights into the problem, but fall short in two ways. First, they explain a relatively limited range of aversive interpersonal behavior, and/or second, they provide limited accounts of how to reduce such behavior. I then illustrate how a behavioral model (ACT/RFT) provides a more comprehensive account of how to predict-and-reduce aversive interpersonal behavior. Finally, I will provide some concrete examples of how an ACT practitioner might go about reducing cruelty and promoting kindness.




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