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 Tutorial #100
SQAB Tutorial: Selection by Scientific Consequences in the Ecology of Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 26, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom B
Area: SCI; Domain: Theory
PSY/BACB/QABA/NASP CE Offered. CE Instructor: Elizabeth Kyonka, Ph.D.
Chair: Adam E. Fox (St. Lawrence University)
Presenting Authors: : ELIZABETH KYONKA (University of New England)

Ecology is the study of how organisms relate to one another and to their physical environment. This tutorial presents three insights from an ecological approach to investigating the scientific behavior of behavior analysts. First, longstanding discussions of "foxes" and "hedgehogs" have divided us into behavior analysts who use a broad range of skills and those who rely on a more specialized skillset, but additional categories may be valuable as well. Second, we are all products of the training we receive. From an ecological perspective, behavior analysis training programs can be K-selective or r-selective, either investing heavily in a small number of students or training as many students as possible, with less time and resources invested in each one. Finally, organizing behavior analysis research into a taxonomy, as ecologists have organized life on earth, may help to identify knowledge gaps and emerging areas of future research. One system classifies the spectrum of empirical behavior analysis research into tiers based on the research subjects, target behavior, relevant stimuli and setting used. Viewing behavior analysts, training programs and research output as an ecosystem can enable us to apply the enormously successful methods of science to our own affairs.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) use Marr's (1991) criteria to differentiate between foxes and hedgehogs in behavior analysis; (2) evaluate the merits and shortcomings of r- and K-selective training programs for educators and students; (3) classify research output according to taxonomic criteria.
ELIZABETH KYONKA (University of New England)
Liz Kyonka is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia. Originally from Canada, she completed an Sc.B. in Cognitive Neuroscience at Brown University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her research uses schedules of reinforcement to study behavioral mechanisms, with a specific focus on of choice adaptation and temporal learning. An emerging conceptual line of research explores how behavior principles operate on the scientific activities of behavior analysts. Her work has been funded by the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Kyonka has served in executive roles for the Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior and the Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis. Currently, she is on the ABAI Program Board and the editorial boards of Analysis of Gambling Behavior and the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.



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