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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Invited Paper Session #198
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Working With and for one Another: Toward an Experimental Analysis of Social Behavior

Sunday, May 24, 2015
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
006AB (CC)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Timothy D. Hackenberg, Ph.D.
Chair: Eric S. Murphy (University of Alaska Anchorage)
Dr. Timothy D. Hackenberg received a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of California, Irvine, in 1982 and a doctorate in psychology from Temple University in 1987, under the supervision of Dr. Philip Hineline. He held a post-doctoral research position at the University of Minnesota with Dr. Travis Thompson from 1988-90. He served on the faculty in the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Florida from 1990-2009, and is currently a professor of psychology at Reed College in Portland, OR. He has served on the board of directors of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, of the Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior, as associate editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, as president of Division 25 of the American Psychological Association, as the experimental representative to the ABAI Council, and as the director of the ABAI Science Board. His major research interests are in the area of behavioral economics and comparative cognition, with a particular emphasis on decision-making and social behavior. In work funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, he and his students have developed procedures for cross-species comparisons of behavior. He is blessed with a talented cadre of students, and has the good fortune to teach courses he cares about.

Social behavior is a topic of enormous scientific importance that spans disciplines from neuroscience to anthropology. While the topic has received a good deal of empirical and theoretical attention outside behavior analysis, it has largely been neglected within the field. This is unfortunate, as behavior analysis has much to contribute to this field, both methodologically and conceptually. In this talk, Dr. Timothy Hackenberg will describe some recent work in the comparative analysis of social behavior and how behavior-analytic methods and concepts can be usefully brought to bear on such work. He will focus on three areas of research and interpretation, using some recent research from his laboratory with rats for illustration. The first is concerned with cooperative behavior, in which rats coordinate their responses in relation to a mutual reinforcement contingency. The second is concerned with reciprocal behavior, in which two rats produce reinforcement for each other, alternating roles of producer and receiver. The third is concerned with the reinforcing value of social interaction, assessed in relation to food reinforcement and under various deprivation conditions. Together, these studies illustrate some ways in which behavior-analytic methods and concepts can contribute to the interdisciplinary science of social behavior.

Target Audience:

Basic and applied scientists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this event, participants should be able to: (1) define cooperation and reciprocity; (2) identify at least one behavior-analytic method relevant to the analysis of social behavior; and (3) discuss one way in which the methods can be translated for applied use.
Keyword(s): cooperative behavior, mutual reinforcement, social behavior



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