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.


46th Annual Convention; Online; 2020

Program by Invited Tutorials: Monday, May 25, 2020

Manage My Personal Schedule


Invited Tutorial #350
The Nurture Consilience: Evolving Societies That Work for Everyone
Monday, May 25, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM EDT
Area: SCI; Domain: Theory
BACB/PSY/QABA CE Offered. CE Instructor: Anthony Biglan, Ph.D.
Chair: Cynthia J. Pietras (Western Michigan University)
Presenting Author: ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute)

This presentation will argue that what might be called “The Nurture Consilience” provides a framework for guiding the further evolution of our societies. E. O. Wilson describes consilience as “the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation.” I will prevent evidence from evolutionary biology, behavior analysis, development, clinical, and social psychology, and medicine about the nurturing conditions that humans need to thrive and the toxic conditions that undermine wellbeing and promote the development of a constellation of psychological, behavioral, and health problems. Research has identified programs, policies, and practices that replace toxic conditions with environments that limit opportunities and influences for problem behavior, richly reinforce diverse forms of prosocial behavior, and cultivate psychological flexibility. However, advocacy for free market economics has corrupted virtually every sector of society; practices in business, health care, education, criminal justice, media, and government have been selected by their contribution to the wealth of a small segment of the population; the majority of people have been harmed. I will describe how we can evolve societies that foster general wellbeing, by creating contingencies that select practices that minimize harm and contribute to the general wellbeing.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) state the four key features of nurturing environments; (2) describe the consilience among the evidence from evolutionary theory and behavior analysis, including the role of selection by consequences in the development of prosocial and antisocial behavior; (3) describe at least three evidence-based school and/or family interventions that can prevent multiple psychological and behavioral problems; (4) describe the evolution of corporate practices and the way in which we might evolve a political and economic system that does a better job of ensuring the wellbeing of every person; (5) describe a public health framework for the regulation of business practices.
ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute)
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
Invited Tutorial #405
CE Offered: BACB — 
Training and Treating Wholeheartedly: Identifying a Role for Compassion Practices in the Profession of Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 25, 2020
3:00 PM–3:50 PM EDT
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Bridget Taylor, Psy.D.
Chair: David Bicard (Great Leaps Learning Center)
Presenting Author: BRIDGET TAYLOR (Alpine Learning Group)

Within certain areas of healthcare, it has been documented that treating patients with compassion and empathy can have important benefits, such as increasing patient satisfaction, enhancing adherence to treatment, and improving clinical outcomes (e.g., Beach, et al., 2006; Hojat et al., 2011; Weiss et al., 2017). Treating oneself and others with compassion is also believed to promote individual wellbeing and improve mental health (e.g. McClelland, et al., 2018; Neff, 2011; Scarlet et al., 2017). While current empirical support for these outcomes is mixed (Kirby, Tellegen & Steindl, 2017), there is increasing scientific interest in the benefits of compassion. That broad-based interest notwithstanding, the data-driven field of behavior analysis has only recently begun to advocate for the importance of relationship variables that could positively impact our work (e.g., Taylor, LeBlanc & Nosik, 2018; Leblanc, Taylor & Marchese, 2019). This presentation reviews survey data documenting parent perception of compassionate care by behavior analysts, as well as behavior analysts’ impressions of training in this area. Behavioral responses that may comprise compassionate care will be presented, along with considerations for how compassionate care of our clients and ourselves can enhance our work as behavior analysts and potentially improve clinical outcomes.

Target Audience:

BCBAs, BCBA-Ds, BCaBAs, supervisors and trainers of behavior analysts, autism specialists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify the empirical research documenting the effects of compassionate care responses in other health disciplines; (2) identify relationship variables relevant to our work with family members; (3) identify current behavioral conceptualization of empathy and perspective taking; (4) identify components of the BACB ethical code related to relationship variables.
BRIDGET TAYLOR (Alpine Learning Group)

Dr. Bridget A. Taylor is co-founder and CEO of Alpine Learning Group and is Senior Clinical Advisor for Rethink. She holds a Doctorate of Psychology from Rutgers University, and received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Columbia University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Psychologist. Dr. Taylor is President of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and serves on the Autism Advisory Group for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. She is past Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. She also serves on the editorial board of Behavioral Interventions. Active in the autism research community, Dr. Taylor has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on effective interventions for autism. She is a national and international presenter and serves in an advisory capacity for autism education and treatment programs both locally and abroad. Dr. Taylor was recently recognized by the Association for Applied Behavior Analysis International for her outstanding contributions to behavior analysis and was given ABAI’s Fellow designation.

Invited Tutorial #429
CE Offered: BACB/PSY/QABA — 
Introduction to a Behavioral Analysis of Cognitive Loss and Functional Decline
Monday, May 25, 2020
4:00 PM–5:50 PM EDT
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
BACB/PSY/QABA CE Offered. CE Instructor: Claudia Drossel, Ph.D.
Chair: Mark D. Shriver (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Presenting Author: CLAUDIA DROSSEL (Eastern Michigan University)

Cognitive loss and associated functional decline can reflect many different physiological processes, some of which are progressive and neurodegenerative, others stable or even reversible. Behavior analysts, through their measurement-based practice, are uniquely positioned to detect fluctuations in proficiencies and skill levels that are potentially indicative of decline, and to implement assessment and intervention. The goals of this tutorial are twofold: (1) to provide an overview of neurocognitive disorders, such as those from Alzheimer’s, Lewy body disease, or stroke, and prominent risk factors, such as age and an already compromised nervous system due to prior traumatic brain injury, chronic disease, lifestyle factors, or particular preexisting neurodevelopmental disorders; and (2) to offer a practical step-by-step guide to ruling out reversible conditions, ascertain the appropriate level of social and physical support, and address potential behavioral and emotional changes. Video and audio examples will be provided for training purposes, to illustrate the heterogeneity of individuals’ reactions to functional decline, the difficulties of family members to follow behavioral plans or adapt to their loved one’s loss of skills or repertoires, and the need for medical care navigation. The tutorial will introduce cognitive loss and functional decline as a high-need specialty practice area, amenable to workforce development in behavior analysis.

Target Audience:

Students; behavior analysts interested in an introduction to the specialty area or in expanding their practice; behavior analysts encountering individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and decline; and family care partners.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) differentiate major neurocognitive disorders and their characteristics; (2) list two risk factors for the development of neurocognitive disorders; (3) broadly conceptualize behavioral changes in the context of cognitive decline from a behavior analytic perspective; (4) name one document that describes training benchmarks; (5) list three general steps involved in best practices for the assessment and management of behavioral changes and preventing/reducing excess disability.
CLAUDIA DROSSEL (Eastern Michigan University)

Claudia Drossel is an assistant professor at Eastern Michigan University, a researcher and a clinical psychologist who specializes in advancing neurobehavioral health, including how to best understand and manage cognitive loss and associated behavioral changes. Claudia holds doctoral degrees from Temple University’s experimental psychology and from University of Nevada Reno’s clinical psychology programs, and she completed post-doctoral training in neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Michigan. She was the associate director of the Nevada Caregiver Support Center from 2005 until 2010. In addition to journal articles, chapters, and training videos for professionals, she has co-authored a step-by-step manual that guides healthcare providers in working with people who have problems thinking, remembering, or problem-solving. Past and current projects were funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the Anna Botsford Bach Fund for Seniors.




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