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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.

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  • AAB: Applied Animal Behavior

    AUT: Autism

    BPN: Behavioral Pharmacology and Neuroscience

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    DDA: Developmental Disabilities

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    PCH: Philosophical, Conceptual, and Historical Issues

    PRA: Practice

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

    SCI: Science

    OTH: Other

44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Monday, May 28, 2018


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #419
ABA Training in China: Issues and Challenges Through the Lens of Special Education
Monday, May 28, 2018
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: TBA
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Gabrielle T. Lee, Ph.D.
Chair: Gabrielle T. Lee (Chongqing Normal University)
MIAN WANG (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Dr. Wang is a Professor in Special Education, Disability and Risk Studies (SPEDR) program in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He is currently the Emphasis Leader of the SPEDR program. He is also the founding director of the Pacific Rim Center for Research on Special Education and Disability as well as the director of the McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic at UCSB. Dr. Wang received his first Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Patras in Greece and thereafter obtained another Ph.D. in Special Education with an emphasis on family and disability policy from the University of Kansas in USA. His research interests concern: atypical child development, child and family outcomes of early intervention and early childhood services, family-professional partnership, family support, positive behavior support in cultural context, teacher education for inclusive education, international inclusion policy and practices, and disability policy. He has published over 60 journal articles, book chapters and books regarding the above topics. Dr. Wang is the recipient of the 2009 Early Career Award from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). He has served as the co-editor of the Journal of International Special Needs Education and the guest associate editor of the Journal of Positive Behavioral Interventions. He is currently serving as the associate editor of Remedial and Special Education, and Journal of Policy and Practice for Intellectual Disabilities, and is also serving in the editorial board of multiple journals.
Abstract: Despite growing interests in the applied behavioral analysis (ABA) training from different constituents, China is still in a great demand for training more qualified behavioral analysts and other clinical professionals who can deliver effective ABA based interventions to Chinese children with special needs. Applications of ABA to children with ASD were first introduced to China in 1990s primarily through Chinese parents and parent-run organizations. Not until the dawn of 21st century had the first ABA delegation to China from ABAI taken place. Interests from the different constituent groups (e.g., professionals in the medical field, parents of children with ASD, professionals in various clinical or rehabilitation settings for children with ASD, and special education school teachers etc.), towards ABA kept permeating since. Yet the status quo and outcomes of ABA training in China are unsatisfactory and of most concern. In this presentation, I will provide a historical review of the trends and issues surrounding the ABA training in China through the lens of special education. Based on my interactions with a few Chinese universities over the last decade regarding ABA training to university faculty and students, I will discuss the key issues and challenges. Suggestions for improvement of ABA training in China will also be discussed.
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss China as a �land of opportunity� for behavior analysis; (2) understand issues and challenges regarding ABA training in China; (3) have tips for working with Chinese trainees in a culturally appropriate manner; (4) discuss system change needed in China for the improvement of ABA training and practice.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #449
Leveraging Olfaction to Study Innate Behavior in the Mouse
Monday, May 28, 2018
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: SCI
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: William Stoops, Ph.D.
Chair: William Stoops (University of Kentucky)
LISA STOWERS (The Scripps Research Institute )
Dr. Lisa Stowers is a professor of neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute. She studies the ligands, neurons, and brain nuclei that initiate social behavior using molecular genetics and genomics; her work is determining the rules that generate the information coding of neuronal networks.
Abstract: The neural code and mechanisms that underlie the generation of behavior has been difficult to crack. Innate behaviors such as aggression, fear, and mating may pose a tractable model because they are highly conserved across evolution, their proper regulation and display is essential for fitness, and some of the essential circuit, amygdala and hypothalamus, are known. However, the identity of the precise neurons and logic of the circuits that generate these innate behaviors remains largely unknown and therefore unstudied. In the mouse, all of these essential behaviors can be robustly initiated by olfactory cues. We have identified specific sensory ligands that now enable us to precisely stimulate and identify the neural mechanisms that generate behavior. We are creating and assessing novel tools to be able to identify and manipulate the circuits that generate behavior. In addition, we are studying how the sensory information elicits variable responses depending on state, gender, or the complexity of the environment.
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to:(1) describe how the use of a strong behavioral paradigm facilitates identification and study of underlying circuits and mechanisms; (2) discuss the extent to which olfactory-promoted innate behavior is robust and reliable between individuals and analyze the extent to which this suggests common neural coding; (3) assess how an individuals internal state (stress, dominance, recent experiences) can alter a behavioral response to a fixed environment.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #473
Angry Love and Ruthless Compassion: Repairing Attachments in Early Childhood
Monday, May 28, 2018
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom DE
Area: PRA
CE Instructor: John M. Guercio, Ph.D.
Chair: John M. Guercio (Benchmark Human Services)
Stephen P. Zwolak is the founder and CEO of LUME Institute and Executive Director of University City Children’s Center (UCCC), LUME’s lab school. Steve has more than 45 years experience working in the field of early childhood. He is recognized for leading the conversation on the impact and future of early childhood education in St. Louis and beyond. His years as a classroom teacher, a leader in various educational arenas, and a student of children, drove him to develop the LUME Approach, for which there is growing evidence of closing the racial and socioeconomic achievement gap. The LUME Approach brings together theoretical, observational, and neuroscientific research that affirms that the emotional development of children is critical to academic success and lifelong positive outcomes. As a young teacher, Steve studied at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, an educational center for which he now periodically serves as an instructor for others in child- and family-serving professions. In 2015, he received the American Psychoanalytic Association Educational Achievement Award. Today, Steve is recognized for his visionary thinking and entrepreneurial ability to create, enhance, and expand programs and develop infrastructure. He develops curricula which includes understanding the importance of children’s sexual development and addressing angry love with ruthless compassion in the classroom and home. As a speaker and educator known for his warm demeanor, Steve skillfully challenges and motivates teachers to develop reflective practices in their daily relationships with children and families and to be prepared to administer therapeutic triage using a multi-disciplinary approach.
Abstract: What can you do to support children who are aggressive and disruptive? Through an interactive Prezi presentation, paired with case studies, research, and a group discussion, participants will explore Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), attachment, temperament, emotional milestones, expulsion, and early childhood mental health consultation.
Target Audience: Mental health professionals, school psychologists, and educators who work with young children.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) analyze the roots of challenging behavior (ACEs, attachment, temperament) and why isolation and expulsion are harmful to children; (2) identify strategies to reduce power struggles with children; (3) examine ways to foster the emotional development of children.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #490
The Bidirectional Operant as Behavioral Metamorphosis
Monday, May 28, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: DEV
Instruction Level: Advanced
CE Instructor: R. Douglas Greer, Ph.D.
Chair: R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
PETER POHL (Child Psychology Practice Garmisch, Germany)
Born in post-war Germany, Peter Pohl spent ten very formative years (from 5 to 15) growing up in Long Beach, CA, then returned to Germany and received his Ph.D. in clinical child psychology from the University of Munich. Subsequent clinical research (acquired aphasia in children) at the Children’s Center in Munich and comparative experimental research (functional asymmetry of the auditory system in baboons) at the University of Washington’s Regional Primate Research Center in Seattle followed. A position as assistant professor of clinical neuropsychology was carried out at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. Experimental and clinical publications on various aspects of language acquisition in international journals document a longstanding professional interest in this field. A combination of child psychology practitioner and English teacher in a gymnasium in bicultural Brixen (South Tyrol), Italy were followed by a business occupation in organizational psychology for international corporations in Vienna, Austria. Peter founded the Child Psychology Practice Garmisch in the Bavarian Alps in 1997, and maintains collaborative R&D primarily in the field of verbal behavior development with various universities and enterprises in Europe, China, and the US.
Abstract: Despite the excellent work carried out on the subject, from an outsider’s perspective one could argue that the bidirectional operant has not been explicitly appreciated for what would seem to be its most valuable asset, namely as a manifestation of a new class of operant behavior. What distinguishes this higher-order operant, as it is called, from simple operant behavior and what constitutes its bi-directionality? These questions are addressed in an attempt to understand verbal behavior acquisition from a developmental and evolutionary perspective. Comparative data are reported which support the view that the bidirectional operant is an exemplar of extreme life-stage modularity during acquisition of verbal behavior and may be functionally homologous to the biological phenomenon of complete metamorphosis. The presentation concludes with a consideration of the potential relevance of operant bi-directionality as a behavioral phenotype which underlies the accelerated transformation of learning in a world unhinged.
Target Audience: Both researchers and practitioners.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) comprehend the distinction between simple and bidirectional operants; (2) understand the difference between morphological and functional metamorphosis; (3) envision automatized real-time measurement of the bidirectional operants for experimental and applied verbal behavior analysis; (4) discern the interdisciplinary synergies between verbal behavior analysis and developmental evolutionary biology.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #520
Towards Prevention of Chronic Challenging Behaviors in Neurodevelopmental Conditions
Monday, May 28, 2018
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom B
Area: SCI
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Jennifer R. Zarcone, Ph.D.
Chair: Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
JAMES W. BODFISH (Vanderbilt University School of Medicine)
Dr. Bodfish is a Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He has devoted his career exclusively to research, teaching, and clinical activities in the field of autism and developmental disabilities. His research has focused on the pathogenesis and treatment of autism and related conditions and has been published in a variety of journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Science, PLoS One, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Autism Research, the American Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, the Journal of Pediatrics, Brain Behavior Research, and Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience. His research has been continuously funded by NIH since 1992. His service activities have included: standing member of the NIH Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities Study Section; Associate Editor of the American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Editor of Autism: The International Journal; of Research and Practice, Co-Chair of the NC Institute of Medicine Developmental Disabilities Task Force, Governor-appointed member of the Council on Developmental Disabilities; NC Senate Appointee of the Legislative Study Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders; expert consultant for the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and faculty member of the International Congress on Movement Disorders.
Abstract: A subset of children with autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions develop persistent and clinically significant challenging behaviors like aggression and self-injury. Addressing this significant public health concern in an effective, practical, and scale-able manner has been one of the clear success stories of applied behavior analysis. Evidenced-based behavioral assessments and interventions effectively manage and treat a variety of challenging behaviors once they develop. However, this approach typically requires continued application of the intervention across a significant portion of the lifespan and as a result can be costly and resource-intensive. These potential limitations have motivated the start of a paradigm shift away from intervention and towards prevention. The search is on for malleable risk factors that occur early and that are associated with the persistence of challenging behaviors. In my talk I will describe our on-going program of research-to-practice activities in this area. First, I will discuss what is often taken as an overly simplistic “biology versus environment” dichotomy in this area. Instead of some form of subtyping, one could explore how behavior and underlying biology may change over time if the aberrant behavior persists. I will describe findings from our research that indicate that the persistence of challenging behaviors into adulthood can engender both behavioral and physiological changes - suggesting a potential interplay of biology and behavior that could conceivably drive treatment resistance over time. Next, I will describe on-going research focusing on isolating a set of pivotal child behaviors and parent-child interaction patterns early in development that are associated with emerging challenging behaviors in children with autism. These studies have focused on how language develops and interacts with early forms of aberrant behavior. Finally, I will describe our on-going research-to-practice work in this area that is focusing on developing and testing both home-based and a preschool-based approaches for preventing the development of challenging behaviors.
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to: (1) list some limitations of evidenced-based approaches for treating challenging behaviors once they have developed and become persistent; (2) identify observable characteristics of play and social-communication that occur early in development and are associated with an increased risk for the emergence of challenging behaviors in children with neurodevelopmental conditions; 3) describe how early risk markers for the development of challenging behaviors can be targeted in home and preschool based approaches designed to prevent the occurrence of persistent challenging behaviors.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #534
The Dragons of Inaction: Psychological Barriers that Limit Pro-Environmental Behavior
Monday, May 28, 2018
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom B
Area: SCI
CE Instructor: Cynthia J. Pietras, Ph.D.
Chair: Cynthia J. Pietras (Western Michigan University)
ROBERT GIFFORD (University of Victoria)
Robert Gifford is an environmental psychologist who is Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science, and is the recipient of career awards from the Environmental Design Research Association and Division 34 of APA, and for the International Advancement of Psychology from CPA. Professor Gifford is the author of over 140 refereed publications and book chapters, five editions of Environmental Psychology: Principles and Practice (5th edition 2014), and edited Research Methods for Environmental Psychology (2016). He was chief editor of the Journal of Environmental Psychology for 13 years and served as President of the Environmental Psychology division of the International Association of Applied Psychology, APA’s Population and Environment Division, and CPA’s environmental section. He is the Founding Director of the University of Victoria’s Interdisciplinary Program in the Human Dimensions of Climate Change, and the Lead author, British Columbia, for the forthcoming national report: Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action.
Abstract: Most people think climate change and sustainability as important problems, but too few individuals engage in mitigating behavior to stem destruction of the natural environment. Why is that? Structural barriers are part of the answer, but psychological barriers also impede behavioral choices that would facilitate climate change mitigation, adaptation, and environmental sustainability. Many individuals are engaged in some ameliorative action, but most could do more. They are hindered by seven categories of psychological barriers that include 40 particular barriers, known as the “dragons of inaction.” These include limited cognition, ideological worldviews, social constraints, sunk costs, discredence, perceived risks of change, tokenism, and rebound effects. Structural barriers must be removed wherever possible, but this is unlikely to be sufficient. Psychologists must work with other scientists, technical experts, and policymakers to help citizens overcome these psychological barriers.
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, particpants will be able to: (1) describe the Dragons of Inaction; (2) define the metaphoric mules and honeybees; (3) describe seven ways to slay the dragons.



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