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 #426

Behavior Analysis and Evolution Science: Implications for Human Yearning

Monday, May 28, 2018
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D.
Chair: Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
STEVEN C. HAYES (University of Nevada, Reno)
Dr. Hayes received his Ph.D. from West Virginia University and currently serves as professor in the behavior analysis program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Hayes has a record of voluminous research and substantial impact, within behavior analysis and beyond, with 43 books and more than 600 publications. He is one of only three behavior analysts in the world with an h-index above 100 in Google Scholar ( He is the principal developer of relational frame theory and acceptance and commitment therapy, highly influential behavior analytic approaches to language and cognition, and evidence-based intervention, respectively, that have generated considerable research and achieved widespread adoption. Dr. Hayes’s contributions to teaching and service have also been exemplary. He served as department chair at UNR, and with Linda Hayes launched the behavior analysis program there. Dr. Hayes has held many influential service (e.g., president of Division 25, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science [ACBS], and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies [ABCT]) and editorial (e.g., associate editor of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis) positions, and has received numerous awards for his work (e.g., the SABA Awards for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis and the Impact of Science on Application, the APA Don Hake Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from ABCT). His contributions span philosophical, methodological, basic, and applied domains with remarkable breadth and depth.

Skinner argued that behavior analysis was part of the larger field of evolutionary approaches. Advances in evolution science and in a contextual behavioral account of human language suggest that human beings have common motivations that needed to be taking into account when dealing with possible reinforcers for human behavior. In this talk I will argue that a small set of typical human yearnings emerge from this way of thinking, and surprisingly, that these connect behavioral thinking to some ideas often seen as oppositional to behavioral thinking.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe B. F. Skinner's views on evolutionary processes; (2) describe the implications of multi-level selection for arbitrarily applicable derived relational responding; (3) list six generally applicable establishing operations that commonly emerge from our evolutionary history and verbal relations.



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