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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Program by Special Events: Monday, May 30, 2022


Special Event #406
ABAI Annual Business Meeting
Monday, May 30, 2022
7:00 AM–7:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 151A/B
Chair: Carol Pilgrim (President)
Presenting Authors: MARIA E. MALOTT (Association for Behavior Analysis International), GORDON BOURLAND (Trinity Behavioral Associates), MICHAEL F. DORSEY (VCS Board Coordinator), DONALD HANTULA (Publication Board Coordinator), RAMONA HOUMANFAR (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board Senior Co-Coordinator), SUZANNE MITCHELL (Science Board Coordinator), MICHAEL PERONE (Accreditation Board Coordinator), WENDY WASHINGTON (Membership Board Coordinator), SUSAN WILCZYNSKI (Ball State University)

The purpose of the annual meeting of members is for ABAI leadership to provide an update on the ongoing activities of and major developments in the association.

Special Event #482
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Women in Behavior Science: Observations of Life Inside and Outside of the Academy: Thriving
Monday, May 30, 2022
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156A
Area: CSS; Domain: Theory
Chair: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Traci Cihon, Ph.D.
Panelists: EMILY KENNISON SANDOZ (University of Louisiana Lafayette), LISE RENAT ROLL-PETTERSSON (Stockholm University), ADEL C. NAJDOWSKI (Pepperdine University), TRACI CIHON (University of North Texas)

Women behavior scientists advance relevant and valuable perspectives on behavior analysis as a science and practice, perspectives that facilitate high quality training, mentoring, and civic engagement. Many scientists balance their pursuits of academic success with their roles and responsibilities as mothers and family members. However, cultural-level contingencies have not always recognized the contributions of women academicians, particularly when compared to their male colleagues. Yet the discipline has historically benefited from the contributions of many female scholars over the course of the decades. The purpose of this panel is to showcase the perspectives of prominent female behavior scientists who have held successful careers in academia and are contributors to the forthcoming ABAI book: Women in Behavior Science: Observations of Life Inside and Outside of the Academy. This panel is the third of three, focused on the later phases of one’s academic career and addressing topics such as life partners, values, expanding interests, and loss and grief.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Behavior scientists (and particularly) women working in or working toward positions in academic settings.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe some of the challenges and successes experienced by the panelists, (2) describe at least one way in which these experiences have affected the panelists’ professional and personal development, and (3) identify one way in which the panelists have contributed to reframing cultural-level recognition regarding the contributions of female behavior scientists to behavior science and/or academia
EMILY KENNISON SANDOZ (University of Louisiana Lafayette)
ADEL C. NAJDOWSKI (Pepperdine University)
TRACI CIHON (University of North Texas)
Special Event #541
CE Offered: BACB
ABAI Accreditation: Program Coordinators' Experiences
Monday, May 30, 2022
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 205B
Domain: Theory
Chair: Jenna Mrljak (Association for Behavior Analysis International)
CE Instructor: Jenna Mrljak, Ph.D.
Panelists: JOHN C. BORRERO (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), APRIL MICHELE WILLIAMS (Rollins College), DARLENE E. CRONE-TODD (Salem State University)

ABAI’s accreditation system has been around for decades with more programs seeking accreditation over the past few years than ever before. As interest and the need for accreditation grows, we invite you to learn about the process and experiences from the perspective of a few program coordinators. The panelists’ programs represent a range of accreditation experiences. This session is designed for program coordinators and those interested in recognition and accreditation.

Instruction Level: Basic
JOHN C. BORRERO (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
DARLENE E. CRONE-TODD (Salem State University)
Special Event #566
CE Offered: BACB
Task Force on Contingent Electric Skin Shock: Update and Invitation for Members to Share Viewpoints
Monday, May 30, 2022
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Ballroom Level 3; Ballroom East/West
Domain: Translational
Chair: Michael Perone (West Virginia University)
CE Instructor: Stephanie M. Peterson, Ph.D.
Panelists: DOROTHEA C. LERMAN (University of Houston-Clear Lake), STEPHANIE M. PETERSON (Western Michigan University), DEAN C. WILLIAMS (University of Kansas)

The ABAI Executive Council has appointed a task force to study the use of contingent electric skin shock in the treatment of problem behavior. The members of the task force will summarize their work to date and welcome the viewpoints of invited guests as well as members of the audience.

DOROTHEA C. LERMAN (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
STEPHANIE M. PETERSON (Western Michigan University)
DEAN C. WILLIAMS (University of Kansas)
Special Event #580
CE Offered: BACB
Presidential Address: Some Thoughts About the Future: Science, Culture, and Values
Monday, May 30, 2022
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Ballroom Level 3; Ballroom East/West
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CE Instructor: Carol Pilgrim, Ph.D.

Presidential Address: Some Thoughts About the Future: Science, Culture, and Values


In his seminal paper “Some Thoughts About the Future” (1986), Skinner delineated directions that he thought were critical for the experimental analysis of behavior to take in order to thrive in the future. Now seems to be a fitting time to reflect upon the ways in which behavior analysis as a discipline can flourish in the years ahead, particularly in light of the world’s recent sociocultural challenges. Skinner long envisioned that the science of behavior would mature sufficiently to be effectively applied at the level of a culture, where mechanisms of selection could be implemented in ways that supported the well-being of all members and the longevity of the group. I contend that a science of cultural behavior may be well poised to promote cultural change if synthesized with the research program and conceptual framework supplied by relational frame theory (RFT), and applied methods drawn from these innovations that help create a science of intentional change. In this presentation, I explore how cultural practices are selected and transmitted not only by direct-acting contingencies, but also due to the influence of verbal stimulus functions, or indirect acting contingencies. I provide examples from such diverse topics as political propaganda or rhetoric and prejudice and stigma. I further explore how acceptance and commitment training (ACT), scaled up and applied at a systems level, may be able to alter the functions of verbal stimuli so that cultural practices consistent with a community’s shared values can be established. Planning for the future requires a behavior analytic conceptualization of values, which has been traditionally defined as the reinforcers that maintain a culture’s practices. Challenges persist in arranging contingencies whereby people value not only the well-being of others but their culture’s future as well. RFT helps behavior analysts appreciate valuing as a verbal process, whereby statements of values enhance the efficacy of reinforcers for behaviors consistent with those values. This approach can help us develop a technology for promoting shared or collective values among communities of people, to include, for example, celebrating diversity, promoting the well-being of others, and caring about the future. Although the primary purpose of this address is to serve as a call to action for the broad-scale application of RFT and ACT to propel a behavior analytic science of cultural change, I conclude by suggesting that the discipline itself engage in something akin to values clarification to ensure that our field adapts to changing circumstances and shifts paradigms so that the field itself has longevity. We may not have time to waste.

RUTH ANNE REHFELDT (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago)
Ruth Anne Rehfeldt received her Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1998, and is a professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago and Director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Rehfeldt has contributed both basic and applied research that is impressive for its bench-to-bedside translation in the area of derived stimulus relations. Particularly noteworthy is her applied work demonstrating the effectiveness of interventions based on derived stimulus relations for learners ranging from young children to persons with disabilities to graduate students. Her work has contributed to the understanding of complex forms of human behavior, focusing on verbal behavior, rule governance, observational learning, stimulus equivalence, and perspective-taking. Dr. Rehfeldt has also served on a number of editorial boards and was editor of The Psychological Record for more than a decade.  
Target Audience:

All convention registrants are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

Special Event #589
ABAI Social
Monday, May 30, 2022
8:00 PM–11:55 PM
Westin Boston Seaport Level 1; Pavilion & Grand Ballroom
Chair: Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago)

Join your friends and colleagues for one last night of music, dancing, and celebration!




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