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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #95

Using Evidence-Based Kernels to Create Nurturing Environments in Groups and Organizations

Saturday, May 26, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Marina Ballroom G
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Magnus Johansson, M.S.
Chair: Julie M. Slowiak (University of Minnesota Duluth)
MAGNUS JOHANSSON (Oslo Metropolitan University)
Magnus Johansson is a licensed psychologist, former CEO of a private care organization, and for the last 9 years he has been working as a consultant, primarily with leadership and group/organization development using Organizational Behavior Management and Contextual Behavioral Science. Clients include private and public sector organizations with a very wide variety of types of business. During the last two years Magnus has collaborated with Leif Andersson to develop and deliver a time-efficient management training intervention for the Swedish Migration Agency. Magnus has also done work on cultural adaption and pilot testing of the PAX Good Behavior Game in Sweden, as well as being involved in the ProSocial project ( He has recently initiated a research project at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, aiming to develop behavioral measures of Nurturing Environments in groups and organizations, and to investigate the effects of multi-tier and multi-level interventions to improve nurturance, using the concept of evidence-based kernels.

Creating work environments that allow humans to thrive and be healthy over time, while also collaborating to increase efficiency in their work is a challenge for any kind of organization. Developing key skills and behaviors that become a natural part of the day to day work is a challenge for every behavior change consultant. An evidence-based kernel is a behavior–influence procedure shown through experimental analysis to affect specific behaviors (Embry & Biglan, 2008). Existing evidence shows that a variety of kernels can influence behavior in context, and evidence suggests that frequent or sufficient use of some kernels may produce longer lasting behavioral shifts. Nurturing Environments (Biglan, Flay, Embry & Sandler, 2012; Biglan, 2015) describes key areas in evolving a healthy culture: minimizing toxic social conditions, increasing reinforcement of prosocial behaviors, limiting problem behaviors, and promoting psychological flexibility in the pursuit of one’s values and goals. This presentation will show how these concepts, coming from research in prevention, can be applied in various ways in non-clinical contexts, with special focus on organizations, groups and communities.

Target Audience:

Professionals working with behavior change in any context, interested in doing practical work in evolving leadership, organizations and groups.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe Nurturing Environments and how the field of prevention science can provide useful concepts and interventions in non-clinical settings; (2) discuss several evidence-based kernels and their application in working with leadership and group development; (3) provide examples from a leadership program with specifics of how to use the concept of evidence-based kernels in delivering training.



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