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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #72
CE Offered: BACB
Contemporary Applications of Behavioral Phenomenological Research
Saturday, May 23, 2015
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
007D (CC)
Area: TPC/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Lee L. Mason (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Discussant: Alonzo Andrews (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
CE Instructor: Lee L. Mason, Ph.D.
Abstract: Since Skinner’s (1945) seminal analysis of the use of psychological terms, researchers have been calling for investigations to extend the methodology of the functional analysis of verbal behavior. Willard Day allocated much of his professional career towards substantiating the pragmatic underpinnings of radical behaviorism in its application towards complex forms of human behavior. The Reno methodology, as it came to be known, was about bringing variations of interpretive and experimental methods to bear directly upon complex human behavior wherever it may be systematically observed. Since Day's death, the Reno methodology has been employed less frequently as a means of analyzing verbal behavior, but remains an active area of research (cf. Leigland, 2014). The present symposium showcases contemporary implementations of behavioral phenomenological research with respect to complex verbal interactions.
Keyword(s): behavioral phenomenology
Psychology Students’ Observations of Autism: The Relationship Between Salient Stimulus Control and Mentalisms
ALONZO ANDREWS (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Abstract: Employing behavioral phenomenology to analyze potential sources of control over participants’ verbal behavior, the present study examined the verbal behavior of educational psychology graduate students as they observed videos of children exhibiting autistic behaviors. Specifically, participants were asked to observe a series of videos and record descriptions of the causal variables for each occurrence of problem behavior. A multi-element design was used to compare autistic behaviors that occurred under both conspicuous and subtle stimulus control. We then qualitatively analyzed the participants’ responses for mentalistic explanations for the children’s problem behaviors. Results are analyzed in terms of the frequency of explanatory fictions (i.e. traits, intrapsychic processes, diagnostic characteristics), the saliency of stimulus control over autistic behaviors, the conditioning of participants’ observations, and the source of control over mentalisms.
Glerm: An Investigation of Hermeneutical Strategies for Conditioning Rule-Governed Behavior
LEE L. MASON (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Abstract: A problem for many children with autism is that they tend not to use language unless they are prompted to do so (Krantz & McClannahan, 1998). Thus, it is important that they learn to label objects or events in the absence of cues from other persons. The purpose of the current study was to compare the rate at which children with autism learn to tact arbitrary concepts using two different instructional techniques. The first technique, general case programming (Engelmann & Carnine, 1982/1991) involved providing participants with a rule (rule provision; RP), and presenting multiple exemplars to delimit the boundaries of that rule. The second technique, rule generation (RG), involved presenting multiple exemplars and asking participants to generate their own rule to describe the stimulus class. Both techniques resulted in the generalization of tacts without restrictive stimulus control. However, one technique led to accelerated acquisition and prolonged maintenance of these arbitrary concepts over the other.
Examining Parent/Child with Autism Interactions Through Augmentative and Alternative Communication
ALLEGRA MONTEMAYOR (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Abstract: The purpose of this behavioral phenomenological investigation was to explore the contingency histories of Hispanic parents with children diagnosed with autism regarding the use of an AAC device in a home setting. Often referred to as “perceptions” (Creswell, 1998), parents of children with autism were asked to define their lived experiences and interactions they have with their child with autism in terms of antecedent variables and consequences. Few research endeavors have been directed towards examining the reciprocity of parent-child with autism interactions using an AAC device. The use of behavioral phenomenological inquiry however, provides detailed descriptions of parents’ personal histories of reinforcement that can help shape a comprehensive understanding of their interactions with their children with autism, and the extent to which AAC devices enhance these interactions. Ultimately, this study is an examination of the verbal community for a child with autism using an AAC device.
A Behavioral Phenomenological Exploration of Maker Identity
DON DAVIS (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Abstract: Currently, researchers and educators are dedicating substantive energy to investigating and discussing the potential affordances of makerspaces (i.e., informal organizations that provide venues for tinkering) for supporting students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM; Blikstein, 2013; Brahms, 2014). In particular, proponents indicate that broadening participation with makerspaces and the ‘maker’ movement may increase participation by underrepresented demographic groups in STEM fields (Gándara, 2006; National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, 2011). However, many questions have arisen as to whether, how, and to what extent makerspaces are supporting participation by students underrepresented in STEM fields (cf. Ames et al., 2014). This study presents an initial investigation of makerspace participation by middle school age girls in a central Texas makerspace. Specifically, this study takes a closer look at students’ verbal behaviors when explaining their participation and ‘interest’ in the makerspace activities as well as the connections to students’ previous interactional histories that are (directly and indirectly) evidenced (cf. Bijou, 1970). In short, analyses of participant interviews suggest potential benefits to identifying and purposefully facilitating relational frames (Barnes-Holmes, Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2002) that could potentially facilitate greater ‘interest’ and concomitant participation with formal and informal STEM related content.



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