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 #413
CE Offered: BACB

How can we Increase the Impact of Behavior Analysis in Solving Problems in new Areas?

Monday, May 25, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Lila Cockrell Theatre (CC)
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Ron Van Houten, Ph.D.
Chair: Sigurdur Oli Sigurdsson (Florida Institute of Technology)
RON VAN HOUTEN (Western Michigan University)
Dr. Ron Van Houten received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Dalhousie University, where he received training in the experimental analysis of behavior. He is currently a professor of psychology at Western Michigan University. Dr. Van Houten has published extensively in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis on a wide variety of problems, ranging from the education of inner city youth and children with "learning disabilities," the treatment of children and adults with developmental delays, the treatment of clinical problems in children, traffic safety, energy conservation, and aviation safety. Currently, Dr. Van Houten is a member of the Transportation Research Board and a member of the National Committee for Uniform Traffic Control Devices. He is a past assistant editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and a Fellow of the ABAI. Dr Van Houten is also an avid pilot flying power aircraft and gliders and a flight instructor.

Behavior analysis is a powerful tool that could ameliorate many of society's problems. One of the first problems that was seriously addressed with a behavior analytic approach was the treatment of autism. Although a behavioral approach yielded promising results from the start, it took many years before the behavioral approach was accepted as the treatment of choice for autism. Although promising data also have been obtained from applications of behavioral technology to many other social problems, these applications have not yet been widely accepted or disseminated. Skinner envisioned behavior analysis as a technology that would address a wide variety of societal challenges. Initially behavior analysts were highly enthusiastic about society adopting our approach in areas such as education, but many people already working in these fields were resistant to a behavioral approach. This paper will examine a number of areas where behavior analysis could make a difference, and explore ways to overcome obstacles and accelerate the acceptance of our approach.




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