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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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  • 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

    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 Invited Events: Sunday, May 27, 2018


Invited Panel #201
Is Evolution Science the Umbrella? Creating an Integrated Framework for Understanding, Predicting, and Influencing Human Behavior
Sunday, May 27, 2018
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: SCI
CE Instructor: Michael J. Dougher, Ph.D.
Chair: Michael J. Dougher (University of New Mexico)
ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute)
STEVEN C. HAYES (University of Nevada, Reno)
DAVID SLOAN WILSON (Binghamton University)
Dr. Barnes-Holmes is a professor in the department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology at Ghent University. Her interests include relational frame theory, contextual behavior science, and acceptance and commitment therapy.
Anthony Biglan, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at Oregon Research Institute. He is the author of The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve our Lives and Our World. Dr. Biglan has been conducting research on the development and prevention of child and adolescent problem behavior for the past 30 years. His work has included studies of the risk and protective factors associated with tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; high-risk sexual behavior; and antisocial behavior. He has conducted numerous experimental evaluations of interventions to prevent tobacco use both through school-based programs and community-wide interventions. And, he has evaluated interventions to prevent high-risk sexual behavior, antisocial behavior, and reading failure. In recent years, his work has shifted to more comprehensive interventions that have the potential to prevent the entire range of child and adolescent problems. He and colleagues at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences published a book summarizing the epidemiology, cost, etiology, prevention, and treatment of youth with multiple problems (Biglan et al., 2004). He is a former president of the Society for Prevention Research. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention, which released its report in 2009 documenting numerous evidence-based preventive interventions that can prevent multiple problems. As a member of Oregon’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, he is helping to develop a strategic plan for implementing comprehensive evidence-based interventions throughout Oregon. Information about Dr. Biglan’s publications can be found at
Dr. Hayes received his Ph.D. from West Virginia University and currently serves as professor in the behavior analysis program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Hayes has a record of voluminous research and substantial impact, within behavior analysis and beyond, with 43 books and more than 600 publications. He is one of only three behavior analysts in the world with an h-index above 100 in Google Scholar ( He is the principal developer of relational frame theory and acceptance and commitment therapy, highly influential behavior analytic approaches to language and cognition, and evidence-based intervention, respectively, that have generated considerable research and achieved widespread adoption. Dr. Hayes’s contributions to teaching and service have also been exemplary. He served as department chair at UNR, and with Linda Hayes launched the behavior analysis program there. Dr. Hayes has held many influential service (e.g., president of Division 25, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science [ACBS], and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies [ABCT]) and editorial (e.g., AE of JABA) positions, and has received numerous awards for his work (e.g., the SABA Awards for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis and the Impact of Science on Application, the APA Don Hake Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from ABCT). His contributions span philosophical, methodological, basic, and applied domains with remarkable breadth and depth.
David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University and President of the Evolution Institute, a nonprofit organization that formulates public policy from an evolutionary perspective. He has made foundational contributions to evolutionary theory and is widely credited for helping to revive Multilevel Selection Theory, which explains how adaptations can evolve (or fail to evolve) at any level of a multi-tier hierarchy of biological or human social units. He has also been influential in expanding the study of evolution beyond the biological sciences to include all aspects of humanity, both inside and outside the Ivory Tower. His books include Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society (2002), Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives (2007), The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve my City, One Block at a Time (2011), and Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others (2015). His next book, titled This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution and Evolving the Future, will be published in 2019.
Abstract: Since before Skinner’s “Selection by consequences,” behavior analysts have acknowledged the natural alliance among the sciences that commonly rely on selection as a fundamental cause and sufficient explanation of behavior. In that vein, several behavior analysts have explicitly called for a closer integration of evolution and behavior science, and some have incorporated evolutionary principles in proposed expansions and modifications of behavior theory. However, it is only recently that a fully integrated, data-driven, evolution-based science of behavior has emerged with both conceptual and empirical implications for behavior scientists. A fundamental assumption of this approach is the reciprocal influence of evolution on behavioral processes at multiple levels of analysis, individual, symbolic and cultural. The participants in this panel are the principal architects of this integration, and each will discuss their specific conceptual and empirical contributions. A panel discussion format was selected specifically to allow audience participation in the discussion.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.
Learning Objectives: PENDING
Invited Paper Session #206
On the Search for Verbal Mediation in Delayed-Matching-To-Sample Arrangements and Emergent Relations
Sunday, May 27, 2018
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom DE
Area: VRB
CE Instructor: Erik Arntzen, Ph.D.
Chair: Einar T. Ingvarsson (Virginia Institute of Autism)
ERIK ARNTZEN (Oslo and Akershus University College)
Dr. Erik Arntzen received his Ph.D. from University of Oslo, Norway, in February 2000. Arntzen's dissertation focused on variables that influenced responding in accordance with stimulus equivalence. He also holds a degree in clinical psychology. He is currently a full-time professor in behavior analysis at Oslo and Akershus University College (OAUC). His research contributions include both basic and applied behavior analysis, with an emphasis on research in relational stimulus control and verbal behavior. Lately, he has started research projects with a focus on (1) remembering functions in patients with dementia and (2) conditional discrimination of melanoma detection. He has also been interested in ethical considerations and core values in the field of behavior analysis. Furthermore, he has ongoing research projects within the areas of gambling behavior and consumer behavior. He also runs a behavior analysis lab at OAUC. Dr. Arntzen has published papers in a number of different journals including Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB), Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA), The Psychological Record, Behavioral Interventions, European Journal of Behavior Analysis (EJOBA), Experimental of Analysis of Human Behavior Bulletin, Analysis of Gambling Behavior, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, and Psychopharmacology. Dr. Arntzen has served as the president and past-president of the European ABA (2008–2014). Dr. Arntzen has been a member of the board of the Norwegian Association for Behavior Analysis from 1987–1993 and from 2006 to present, holds the position as the secretary of international affairs. Dr. Arntzen is a trustee of Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He has presented papers at conferences worldwide. Dr. Arntzen has been recognized with awards, including the SABA award for the dissemination of behavior analysis, ABAI award for outstanding mentoring, the research award at Akershus University College, and publication award at OAUC. Dr. Arntzen is one of the founders and the editor of European Journal of Behavior Analysis. He has also served as the editor of Behavior & Philosophy. He has served on the editorials board of several journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, The Psychological Record, International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, The Behavior Analyst, and The Behavior Analyst Today.
Abstract: The presentation will tell a research story about the search for verbal mediation in delayed matching-to-sample arrangements and emergent relations. By telling the story, a series of experiments will be presented. Terms as simultaneous and delayed matching-to-sample (DMTS) and emergent relations will be discussed. Research using DMTS procedures has shown that equivalence class formation has increased as a function of increasing delays between sample and comparison. For example, a 9-s delay enhanced equivalence class formation more than a 0-s delay. So, the question "why" has been asked. Thus, in research on DMTS, it has been argued that the naming the stimuli in the delay might bridge the gap between the sample offset and the comparison presentation. Therefore, we have tried to influence the matching performance by introducing a variety of distracting tasks in the delay between the sample offset and the comparison onset. The main findings from such experiments have shown how the tasks presented in the delay influenced the responding in accordance with stimulus equivalence. Finally, experiments employing "silent dog" and talk-aloud procedures have accumulated valuable information of what participants are talking about in the presence of the sample, in the delay, and when the comparisons are presented.
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 different matching-to-sample procedures; (2) discuss emergent relations as stimulus equivalence; (3) define silent-dog method; (4) define talk-aloud procedures.
Invited Paper Session #221
Developing Reading Skills in Mainstream Education
Sunday, May 27, 2018
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Coronado Ballroom AB
Area: DEV
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Julian C. Leslie, Ph.D.
Chair: R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
JULIAN C. LESLIE (Ulster University)
Julian Leslie obtained his doctorate from Oxford University in 1974 since when he has been in academic posts in Northern Ireland. He published behaviour analysis textbooks in 1979, 1996, 2000, 2002 (the 1996 volume was reprinted until 2008 and remains in print, and the 2002 text also remains in print). As well as teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses, he has successfully supervised 48 Ph.D. students in fields including, experimental analysis of behaviour, applied behaviour analysis, psychopharmacology, behavioural neuroscience, experimental psychology, applied psychology. Three recent Ph.D.'s are concerned with behavioural strategies to address environmental issues. In 1977 he was co-founder of the group, Behaviour Analysis in Ireland which is a chapter of ABAI. In 2004, the group became the Division of Behaviour Analysis of the Psychological Society of Ireland, and he is currently the Division chair. Julian Leslie organised the Third European Meeting for the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour in Dublin, Ireland 1999, and has co-organised 11 annual conferences of the Division of Behaviour Analysis from 2007 to 2017, variously in Dublin, Galway and Athlone. He was a keynote speaker at the European Association for Behaviour Analysis in Milan in 2006, and in Crete, Greece in 2010, and also a keynote speaker on behavioural strategies to address environmental issues at the Brazilian Association for Behaviour Analysis, Salvador 2011. From 1984 to 1994 Julian Leslie was head of the Psychology Department, and from 2008 to 2015 head of the Research Graduate School, Faculty of Life & Health Sciences, Ulster University. In 2014, Julian Leslie was awarded a Doctorate of Science by Ulster University for career research on the experimental analysis of behaviour. From 2014 he has given a series of papers on behavioural accounts of consciousness, including an invited address at BABAT 2017. Much current research involves developing skills of children in the classroom.
Abstract: Many countries, including the US, the UK andNorthern Ireland, face continuing problems in developing literacy and reading skills in primary education with substantial numbers of children missing national literacy targets. Behaviour analysis of human development focusses on the need to specify key skills that comprise any higher-order activity and then train them explicitly in a program that is individualised for every child. In the case of reading, there is widespread agreement that key skills are phonemic awareness, use of phonics, fluency, guided oral reading, and acquisition of new vocabulary words. The Headsprout Early Reading program, developed by behaviour analysts, is an online package which targets each of the skills through intensive systematic phonics training. It thus makes use of computer-based instruction which, when used effectively, promotes higher levels of student engagement and enjoyment. A number of published studies of use of Headsprout have shown efficacy and efficiency in increasing the reading skills of individuals with autism and with typically developing learners within the classroom and home based settings. We have carried out several studies within mainstream schools in Northern Ireland using Headsprout to improve the reading skills of child at risk of failing to achieve literacy targets and have obtained encouraging results. The next stage is to achieve school district-wide implementation of this type of intervention. This requires us to meet many challenges in sustaining behaviour-based interventions in schools. Some of these will be outlined, and it will be suggested that, to improve our progress in this important task, we can draw on the huge literature on how to make interventions for autism effective and sustained.
Target Audience: All those interested in delivering behavior programs in mainstream education.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the behavior-analytic approach to skill development; (2) describe the use of behaviour-based computerized packages for teaching reading; (3) discuss the issues in delivering school-wide interventions and how these may be addressed.
Invited Paper Session #227
Reasoning From Basic Principles: Translating Behavioral Research Into Large Scale Applications
Sunday, May 27, 2018
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom B
Area: SCI
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: T. V. Joe Layng, Ph.D.
Chair: Derek D. Reed (The University of Kansas)
T. V. JOE LAYNG (ChangePartner, Inc.)
T. V. Joe Layng has over 40 years of experience in the experimental and applied analysis of behavior with a particular focus on the design of teaching/learning environments. In 1999, he co-founded Headsprout. At Headsprout, Joe led the scientific team that developed the technology that forms the basis of the company's patented Early Reading and Reading Comprehension online reading programs and science sequence for which he was the chief architect. Recently, Joe co-founded ChangePartner, a company combining basic behavior analytic principles with artificial intelligence to integrate constructional behavior change at scale throughout large organizations such as hospitals. Joe earned a Ph.D. in Behavioral Science (biopsychology) at the University of Chicago. At Chicago, working with pigeons, he investigated animal models of psychopathology, specifically the recurrence of pathological patterns (head-banging) as a function of normal behavioral processes. Joe also has extensive clinical behavior analysis experience with a focus on ambulatory schizophrenia, especially the systemic as well as topical treatment of delusional speech and hallucinatory behavior. Joe is a fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Abstract: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and others have brought us innovation that both surprise and delight us. They not only produced new widgets, they are responsible for changing the way people live and work. Both advocated as essential the application of basic principles of science, engineering, and design in the creation of new technologies. Contrasted to reasoning from basic principles is reasoning from analogy. Much of what is created comes from this approach. In our initial design attempts we search for how others approached the problem. How did company X build an electric car? Reasoning from analogy may limit what we can do and prevent us from applying the full power of our science and technology in solving fundamental problems. Three products created at Headsprout, Inc. from 1999 to 2010 and the current approach taken by ChangePartner, Inc. today represent efforts to build applications at scale that rely on reasoning from basic principles. These efforts will be used to illustrate the power of the approach and suggest that searching for analogs, including, at times, previous applied research or applications, may be detrimental to applying the experimental and applied analysis of behavior at scale to new and interesting areas and problems.
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) distinguish between reasoning from basic principles and reasoning from analogy; (2) describe how reasoning from basic principles guided the development of the Headsprout instructional products; (3) describe how reasoning from basic principles is guiding the development of large scale organizational behavior change in hospitals.
Invited Paper Session #235
Research Synthesis of Behavioral Interventions for People With Autism: Strategies to Maximize Social Impact
Sunday, May 27, 2018
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom DE
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Javier Virues Ortega, Ph.D.
Chair: Nicole Heal (Margaret Murphy Center for Children)
JAVIER VIRUES ORTEGA (The University of Auckland)
Javier Virues-Ortega is a senior lecturer and director of the Applied Behaviour Analysis programme at The University of Auckland (New Zealand). After five years in a leading public health research institution he developed an interest in translating mainstream outcome research methods into applied behavior analysis. He is author of over a hundred specialized publications. His work has been cited thousands of times and summarized in the medical policies of a number of major health insurance providers in the US. For example, UnitedHealthcare group cited and summarized two of Virues-Ortega's meta-analyses in their policy on behavioural services for autism spectrum disorder.
Abstract: Scientists cite clinical trials hundreds of times while decision makers use clinical trials and meta-analyses as the foundation for policies affecting millions. By contrast, JABA papers live a silent and unassuming life. Historically, applied behavior analysis has disregarded the potential for an "applied behavioral synthesis." The vast majority of our empirical literature is composed of experimental analyses of molecular processes often evaluating the impact of discrete reinforcement-based procedures on few behaviors of interest over a limited period of time. We lack a conceptual framework to translate experimentally sound baby steps into service and treatment models that have to be comprehensive and longitudinal in nature. This talk will explore strategies for synthesizing behavior-analytic evidence that would be compatible with both the single-subject experimental tradition of applied behavior analysis, and the outcome research standards of mainstream clinical sciences. The end goal of this approach is to develop efficient channels to translate applied behavior analysis into service models that policy and health decision-makers could find acceptable.
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts, licensed psychologists, graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Understand the relative social impact of various forms of evaluating evidence; (2) Understand the key differences in evidence evaluation between behavior analysis and mainstream clinical sciences; (3) Understand the empirical basis (or lack of thereof) of key methodological standards of randomized control trials; (4) Understand the potential for behavior-analytic research to follow them.
Invited Paper Session #240
Using Behavioral Pharmacology to Improve Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
Sunday, May 27, 2018
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom B
Area: BPN
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Kelly Dunn, Ph.D.
Chair: Carla H. Lagorio (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
KELLY DUNN (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Kelly Dunn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Dunn has an MS in Applied Biopsychology and a Ph.D.f in Human Behavioral Pharmacology. She has been involved with numerous studies related to substance abuse disorder, including clinical trial evaluations of novel medications for opioid and alcohol use disorders, as well as cigarette smoking. She has served as the site manager for several industry-sponsored trials of novel opioid products and behavioral treatments. Dr. Dunn is the principle investigator on four NIDA-funded studies that evaluate different aspects of opioid use disorder. She has published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals, has editorial board appointments on the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, has received numerous honors in recognition of her research from national organizations, and regularly presents data at national meetings. She is an active member of several national organizations, provides regular media interviews and talks to local and national press on the topic of opioid use disorder, and is a member of several regional substance use-related advisory boards. Dr. Dunn is committed to improving access and quality of treatment for opioid use disorder.
Abstract: The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Opioid use disorder is largely maintained through positive reinforcing mechanisms (a euphoric high following use of opioid agonists like heroin and OxyContin), and negative reinforcement (relief from the prominent withdrawal syndrome following removal of the drug in persons with opioid physical dependence). Opioid use disorder is distinct from other forms of drug use disorder in that numerous FDA-approved medications are available to address the positive and negative reinforcing aspects of opioid use disorder, including provision of opioid agonists for an extended period (maintenance) or reductions in doses over time (detoxification) to enable relapse prevention treatment. Yet, despite these resources a large number of patients do not succeed in treatment. Our research is using behavioral pharmacological paradigms to better understand mechanisms underlying individual differences in opioid response. The overall goal of this research is to inform development of new medications and methods to more effectively tailor treatment regimens to individuals. This talk will provide an overview of some human laboratory studies being conducted to inform clinical treatment of opioid use disorder and will present the results from some ongoing behavioral pharmacological efforts to examine mechanisms underlying individual response to opioids.
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts, licensed psychologists, graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) understand the rationale for using different medications to treat of opioid use disorder; (2) understand how behavioral pharmacology can be used to inform clinical care of opioid use disorder patients; (3) discuss how pervasive individual differences in response to opioids are and how they may inform differential risk for acquiring opioid use disorder and/or response to treatment.
Invited Symposium #251
Human Competence Revisited: 40 Years of Impact
Sunday, May 27, 2018
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Marina Ballroom G
Area: OBM
CE Instructor: Ramona Houmanfar, Ph.D.
Chair: Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Thomas Gilbert’s book (1978) titled “Human Competence” took us beyond training toward a rigorous approach to improving performance in organizations. His behavior engineering model has guided behavior analytic research and applications with an emphasis on parsimony, elegance and usefulness of associated methodologies. Throughout the years, the powerful partnership between Tom and Marilyn Gilbert leading to the publication of Human Competence, and many revolutionary training modules and consulting reports perhaps has not received the well-deserved acknowledgement given its impact and influence. By drawing upon their pioneering work in behavior analysis, Marilyn Gilbert and colleagues will highlight the impact of this partnership by providing an overview and discussion of Tom and Marilyn Gilbert’s unpublished account of human competence during the latter part of Tom Gilbert’s life. Moreover, the presentations will highlight the foundational influence of Gilberts’ Human Competence on recent technological advancements in instructional design and behavioral systems applications.
Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience: Academicians, students, and practitioners who are interested in performance improvement in organizations.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the foundation (concepts, principles, methodology) underlying Behavioral Engineering Methodology and applications in organizations; (2) discuss future directions of BEM and emerging trends in Organizational Behavior Management; (3) list behaviors and results that align with the mission of their organization(s) that are worthy performance targets.
Gilbert and the Educational Revolution
MARILYN B. GILBERT (University of North Texas)
Marilyn Gilbert studied Latin and mathematics at Montclair University in New Jersey. Her MA from Columbia University was in English and Comparative Literature. But it was a marriage that brought her to behavior analysis. There, she has applied editing and technical writing skills she learned while working in Boston's key engineering firms. She edited the first edition of Schedules of Reinforcement, by Charles B. Ferster and B. F. Skinner. In Indianapolis, she became 'mother' of JEAB after editing and typing the first two editions. She then continued to edit JEAB for the next five years. Tom Gilbert named Marilyn Mathetisist 1, as she and Tom became partners in both life and work. She edited all his writings, including Human Performance, and she and Tom wrote Thinking Metric together. She has published several textbooks on math and writing. Currently, she teaches writing English by ear online at the University of North Texas and plans to publish a textbook for students. She has also developed a course on Tom's Levels of Performance for Tucci Learning's new Teaching Machine. She also hopes to publish unpublished writings that Tom has left for behavior analysts everywhere to read and to use.
Abstract: This presentation will provide an overview of the Gilberts' contribution to instructional design technologies that have revolutionized teaching practices in many educational settings. Gilberts' model focuses on designing the environment in which the student learns instead of changing the student. With the behavior engineering model, those responsible for performance improvement and maintenance can diagnose for, make priorities among, and plan performance improvement solutions in the classroom.
The Legacy of Tom Gilbert's Accomplishment Based Performance Improvement
CARL V. BINDER (The Performance Thinking Network, LLC)
Dr. Carl Binder is CEO of The Performance Thinking Network, LLC, where he develops performance consultants, leaders and managers in organizations worldwide. Starting in 1970 as a student with B.F. Skinner at Harvard, he worked for ten years in B.H. Barrett's Behavior Prosthesis Lab, conducting laboratory and classroom research and training teachers. An early contributor to Precision Teaching, he was mentored by Ogden Lindsley and Eric Haughton. In 1982, he founded his first consulting firm, Precision Teaching and Management Systems, Inc., and became active in the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) where his mentors included Tom Gilbert, Joe Harless, Robert Horn and Donald Tosti. He founded Product Knowledge Systems, Inc., a Boston consulting firm specializing in sales enablement for Global 1000 companies. Carl is currently known for Six Boxes Performance Thinking, a plain English viral approach to organizational performance improvement. APA Division 25 honored Carl with the Fred S. Keller Award (2004), ISPI recognized his contributions to performance improvement with Honorary Lifetime Membership (2009) and the Thomas F. Gilbert Award (2012), and the OBM Network gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award (2015). Contact Carl at and learn more about his work at and
Abstract: Tom Gilbert replaced what he called "the cult of behavior" with a focus on valuable accomplishments produced by behavior, a major contribution that launched a seismic shift for those who followed. This shift has been challenging, not only for applied behaviorists, but also for ordinary people. We are more accustomed to observing and discussing behavior, whether precisely or not, than identifying the valuable accomplishments produced by that behavior, especially when the accomplishments are less tangible than deliverables or widgets, for example decisions, relationships, or recommendations. Another of Gilbert's major contributions, the behavior engineering model, extended the variables of behavior influence from contingencies of reinforcement to a framework including physical and social elements of the work environment, prior repertoire, variations in reinforcement value, and other factors that are seldom relevant in research with starved laboratory animals in simplified experimental chambers. But Gilbert's labels for the cells in his behavior engineering model were not self-explanatory, and open to interpretation, challenging consistent comprehension, communication, and application. The presenter has adapted and refined these two contributions—a focus on accomplishments and a more complete model of behavior influences—using simple visual models and user-tested plain English to enable rapid communication and collaboration among performance experts, their clients and stakeholders. This presentation describes developments based on Gilbert's contributions, as they have evolved over several decades, and summarizes practical implications for enabling leaders, managers, performance professionals, and individual contributors at any level and in any function in organizations to collaborate for continuous performance improvement.
Mathetics for Instructional Design and Delivery
KENT JOHNSON (Morningside Academy)
Dr. Kent Johnson founded Morningside Academy, in Seattle, Washington, in 1980, and currently serves as its Executive Director. Morningside is a laboratory school for elementary and middle school children and youth. Morningside investigates effective curriculum materials and teaching methods, and has provided training and consulting in instruction to over 140 schools and agencies throughout the USA and Canada since 1991. Over 50,000 students and over two thousand teachers have used the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction. Dr. Johnson is also a co-founder of Headsprout, Inc., a company that develops web-based, interactive, cartoon-driven instructional programs, including Headsprout Early Reading and Headsprout Reading Comprehension. Examine them at Dr. Johnson is recipient of the 2001 Award for Public Service in Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the 2010 Edward L. Anderson Award in Recognition for Exemplary Contributions to Behavioral Education from the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the 2009 Ernie Wing Award for Excellence in Evidence-based Education from the Wing Institute, the 2006 Allyn and Bacon Exemplary Program Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, Division for Learning Disabilities, and the 2011 Ogden R. Lindsley Lifetime Achievement Award in Precision Teaching from the Standard Celeration Society.
Abstract: Although only briefly mentioned in Human Competence, Tom Gilbert wrote extensively about his method for teaching learners new concepts, principles, facts and skills, which he called mathetics. Mathetics included a generic instructional delivery procedure with three phases: (a) demonstrating skills, concepts, and principles to learners; (b) guiding learners as they practice; and (c) testing students to see if they have achieved mastery. Mathetics also incorporated procedures for designing instructional materials, such as how to identify and organize stimuli and responses from instructional goals, and how to incorporate behavioral procedures such as shaping and back chaining during instruction. I will describe mathetics and how it has been adapted as the core of instructional delivery in Engelmann's Direct Instruction and our own Morningside Model of Generative Instruction (MMGI). I will also describe the content of two important unpublished chapters that Gilbert wrote, which contain new ideas and procedures for mathetical design and delivery.
Gilbert's Behavioral Engineering Methodology as Foundation for Behavioral Systems Engineering: Control Systems to Interlock Behavior
Mark P. Alavosius, Ph.D. is President of Praxis2LLC, providing behavior science to high performance organizations. He is a graduate faculty in psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno and was a faculty member at Western Michigan University and West Virginia University. He earned his BA from Clark University (1976) MS (1985) and Ph.D. (1987) in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and Behavior and Social Issues. He was president of the Nevada Association for Behavior Analysis and program coordinator for the CSE (Community, Social, Ethics) area of ABAI. He helped found BASS (Behavior Analysis for Sustainable Societies, an ABAI SIG) and served as the first chairperson. He has been a Trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies for many years and chaired their Commission for the Accreditation of behavioral safety programs from 2010–2016. His interests are in developing behavioral systems to improve work performance in the areas of health, safety and the environment. Dr. Alavosius was PI of Small Business Innovations Research Grants from CDC/NIOSH to test behavioral safety technologies for small employers. Dr. Alavosius has over 30 publications and 150 conference presentations.
Abstract: In high reliability organizations (HROs), procedural adherence to highly structured work plans is crucial to achieving organizational goals and averting catastrophes. BP's oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico (Macondo) was a bellwether event signaling the importance of managing interlocking human factors in HROs. Gilbert's BEM and vantage points provide a strong foundation for behavioral systems engineering to establish and maintain adherence to work routines in highly engineered, highly technical environments (e.g., aviation, nuclear power, oil & gas exploration, medicine). Two behavioral challenges face managers of HROs. First, crews need to follow well established procedures with little deviation to achieve milestones. Second, on occasion, crews encounter anomalies not addressed in standard work instructions. During these crises, crews must stop following standard procedures, assess changing conditions and adapt their behavior to the unexpected events in order to avert catastrophe. Behavioral systems engineering integrates human behavior with automated systems to adapt complex processes to changing contexts. Thus management of human behavior is one factor in a highly engineered system that can be designed to respond to both challenges (maintain routines, adjust to crises). This paper considers Gilbert's analysis for designing control systems of crew members' behavior in HROs.
Invited Paper Session #286
OBM and ACT: A Synergistic Powerhouse for Health and Wellbeing
Sunday, May 27, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Marina Ballroom G
Area: CSS
CE Instructor: Julie M. Slowiak, Ph.D.
Chair: Todd A. Ward (bSci21 Media, LLC)
JULIE M. SLOWIAK (University of Minnesota Duluth)
Julie M. Slowiak, Ph.D., BCBA, Pn1 works as an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She assisted with the proposal and development of a new masters graduate program in psychological science, served as Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee within the shared faculty governance system, and assisted with the formation of the UMD Wellness Collaborative for which she is Co-Chair. Dr. Slowiak has taught and developed undergraduate and graduate courses on statistics, research methods, organizational behavior management, organizational psychology, personnel psychology, applied behavior analysis, organizational systems and development, personnel training and development, and worker wellbeing. Nominated by both faculty and students, she has received multiple awards at UMD to recognize excellence in teaching and advising. Dr. Slowiak is the founder of InJewel LLC and a personal and professional coach and consultant. She is an expert in the science of human behavior with an emphasis on performance management, behavioral systems analysis, employee motivation, and general behavior change. Current projects include facilitating performance management and leadership development workshops to local organizations, providing ongoing, voluntary organizational consultation to a animal shelter, and providing healthy lifestyle behavior change coaching to individuals.
Abstract: Successful and thriving communities must adopt a strategic and adaptable approach health and wellbeing to create a sustainable culture of health. Now, while there is an increasing focus on mental health around the globe, is the time to broaden the reach of our science to support individual health and wellbeing. As behavioral scientists and practitioners, have the knowledge to apply our science to help individuals and the communities within which they live, learn, work, and play override their “default” actions, cultivate resilience, and develop supportive environments. In particular, the corporate world presents behavioral scientists with tremendous opportunities for large-scale interventions designed to increase psychological wellbeing, fueled by demand from lost revenue that could improve the lives of millions around the world. In this presentation, I will share my story and describe my experiences teaching others how to support everyday behavior and wellbeing using behavioral science. I will also share how my self-study in the area of acceptance and commitment training (ACT), along with my background in organizational behavior management (OBM), has enhanced my own life and has provided me with knowledge, skills, and tools to be a more effective teacher, coach, and consultant. Finally, I will share insights about the struggles I have encountered as an entrepreneur while conveying our science to those outside the field and how collaboration with other professionals is a key component to transforming culture on a large scale.
Target Audience: Professionals, including behavior analysts, working with behavior change in any context, interested in doing practical work to support the health and wellbeing of individuals and organizations; psychologists, behavior analysts, practitioners, and graduate students.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, attendees will be able to: (1) describe how behavioral science can support everyday behavior and wellbeing; (2) describe how the combination of OBM and ACT provide a unique perspective for the development of a strategic, adaptable, and sustainable approach health and wellbeing; (3) and describe why we might modify our language in a way that is functional for the rest of the world.
Invited Paper Session #288
What is Delay Discounting, and Why Should I Care?
Sunday, May 27, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom B
Area: EAB
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Amy Odum, Ph.D.
Chair: Elizabeth Kyonka (University of New England)
AMY ODUM (Utah State University)
Amy Odum is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University. Her research interests are in basic behavioral phenomena, such as response persistence, sensitivity to delayed outcomes, conditional discriminations, and environmental influences on drug effects. Her work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont's Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory after earning her Ph.D. and MA in Psychology, specializing in Behavior Analysis, from West Virginia University. She received a BS in Psychology from the University of Florida. Dr. Odum has been Associate Editor for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and President of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. She is a Fellow of ABAI and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.
Abstract: Delay discounting is, most simply, the decline in the value of temporally remote outcomes. Delay discounting represents a true success story for the experimental analysis of behavior: A procedure, born in the pigeon laboratory, extended in literally thousands of experiments across species, populations, domains, and fields of inquiry. What exactly is it though? Questions linger among behavior analysts about the validity, utility, and meaning of the procedures and processes. This presentation will try to address those types of questions as well as talk about exciting new directions and applications of delay discounting to problems of human concern.
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.
Learning Objectives: Pending.
Invited Paper Session #314
A Tale of Two Rats: The Backstory of a Clever Cartoon
Sunday, May 27, 2018
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom B
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Kennon Andy Lattal, Ph.D.
Chair: David C. Palmer (Smith College)
KENNON ANDY LATTAL (West Virginia University)
Andy Lattal is Centennial Professor of Psychology at West Virginia University, where he has taught and mentored 44 doctoral students in behavior analysis since 1972. Andy's research, covering a host of topics across the discipline's spectrum, has appeared in more than 160 research articles, chapters, and edited books. Included among them are several on the history of behavior analysis. He has been recognized for his professional service with the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis's awards for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis and for the International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis. A past Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, he currently serves as the Editor for English Language Submissions of the Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis and as the Associate Editor for Translational Research of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Abstract: Behind this well-known cartoon [] is a story bringing together the personal histories of two undergraduate alumni of a foundational psychology course at Columbia University and the history of a program in behavior analysis that both was central in the evolution of behavior-analytic education and spawned some of the most important figures in the development of our science. This presentation tells the story of the cartoon's creation, context, significance, and impact.
Target Audience: Undergraduate through professional-level behavior analysts, historians of psychology, anyone with a good sense of humor.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) explain the relation of the cartoon to the curriculum in psychology at Columbia University in the 1950s; (2) describe the history of the apparatus used in the introductory psychology course; (3) explain the impact of the program at Columbia University on the history of behavior analysis; (4) explain the significance of the cartoon for the issues of control and countercontrol.
Invited Paper Session #318
A Synthesis Model of Graduate Training in Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 27, 2018
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: TBA
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: R. Douglas Greer, Ph.D.
Chair: Lin Du (Teachers College, Columbia University)
R. DOUGLAS GREER (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Dr. Greer is Professor of Psychology and Education at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Teachers College of Columbia University where he heads the MA and Ph.D. programs in behavior analysis and the education of students with/without disabilities. He has served on the editorial boards of 10 journals, published over 200 research and theoretical articles in more than 20 journals and is the author of 13 books in behavior analysis. Two of his most recent books are translated into Korean, Spanish, and Italian. Greer has sponsored 224 doctoral dissertations taught over 2,000 teachers and professors, originated the CABAS model of schooling used in the USA, Ireland, Italy, England, and founded the Fred S. Keller School ( He has done basic and applied experimental research in schools with students, teachers, parents, and supervisors as well as pediatric patients in medical settings. He and his colleagues have identified verbal behavior and social developmental cusps and protocols to establish them when they are missing in children. He is a recipient of the Fred S. Keller Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education from the American Psychology Association, a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, recipient of May 5 as the R. Douglas Day by Westchester County Legislators. He has served as guest professor at universities in China, Spain, Wales, England, Japan, Korea, India, Ireland, Italy, USA, and Nigeria.
Abstract: The presentation will share curricula/pedagogy developed over four decades for MA and Ph.D. students, synthesizing basic, applied, and conceptual repertoires for educating children. Students spend days in R&D school and evenings attending university classes that reflect the training in the schools ( Training requires mastery with criterion referenced measures of completion of progressively advanced modules that synthesize basic and applied behavior analysis reflecting Behavior Selectionist, Interbehavioral, and Pragmatism epistemologies. Component objectives will be described including: experiments, data decisions, errorless TPRA observations, applied and basic research summaries, accurate visual displays, and pre-verbal and verbal behavior developmental protocols to establish verbal/social cusps.
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 modules synthesize applied, basic, and conceptual objectives across the university courses and the related internship; (2) describe the TPRA observation procedure and how the procedure allows collection of data on both student/client and teacher/therapist; (3) define verbal behavior about the science, contingency shaped behaviors, and verbally mediated behavior; (4) explain how this model of teaching behavior analysis determine mastery of applications or contingency shaped behaviors of teaching or doing therapy with children.
Invited Paper Session #350
Using Behavioral Science to Support Educators During Consultation
Sunday, May 27, 2018
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom D-F
Area: EDC
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Florence D. DiGennaro Reed, Ph.D.
Chair: Scott P. Ardoin (UGA Center for Autism and Behavioral Education Research)
FLORENCE D. DIGENNARO REED (University of Kansas)
Dr. Florence DiGennaro Reed, a board certified behavior analyst, received a doctorate in school psychology from Syracuse University. She also completed a clinical post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for Child Development and a pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology at the May Center for Education and Neurorehabilitation and the May Center for Child Development. Presently, Florence is an Associate Professor in and Chairperson of the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas where she directs the Performance Management Laboratory. Her research examines effective and efficient staff training and performance improvement practices. She also conducts translational research in on-campus laboratory facilities. Florence has published articles and book chapters on a variety of topics including training, performance management, assessment, and intervention. She has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Behavioral Education, Behavior Analysis in Practice, The Psychological Record, and School Psychology Review and is an Associate Editor for Journal of Behavioral Education and Behavior Analysis in Practice. Florence is co-editor of two books published through Springer titled Handbook of Crisis Intervention for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice in Autism Service Delivery.
Abstract: Despite serving as effective change agents for clients, behavior analysts often struggle with motivating and supporting the educators with whom they consult. This presentation will propose a three-term model for targeting educator behavior, describe evidence-based performance management procedures, and share experimental data and case studies supporting the effectiveness of a behavior analytic approach to educator training and professional development.
Target Audience: Supervisors, consultants, educators, or staff interested in training others.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe why targeting educator performance is important; (2) identify and describe the components of behavioral skills training and an evidence-based approach to performance management of educators; (3) discuss results of studies evaluating the components of behavioral skills training.



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