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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Paper Session #331
Recent Developments in Behavioral Development and Behavior Variability
Sunday, May 27, 2018
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Coronado Ballroom DE
Area: DEV
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
Recent Developments in Behavioral Development: Behavioral Systems Theory and Developmental Psychology
Domain: Theory
GARY D. NOVAK (California State University Stanislaus), Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
Abstract: We outline the basics of Behavioral Systems Theory (BST), a contextual behavior analytic alternative to traditional developmental psychology. The theory provides an understanding of changes occurring in individuals across their lifespans with learning processes, especially operant learning, playing the key role in development. In order to apply behavioral principles as a natural science to the long-run, multi-input open system that characterizes the life of an individual, we have included concepts from inside and outside behavior analysis. We will describe the role of concepts from dynamic systems approaches, both behavioral and non-behavioral, including multiple determination, coalescent organization, system levels, hidden skills, non-linearity, cascading, and others. The ever-changing reciprocal interactions (transactions) between the person and the environment, the treatment of organismic variables, including genetic inheritance, and the emergence of novel behaviors out of existing repertoires will be presented. The paper will conclude with illustrations of how BST can be applied to explain recent developmental findings in areas such as conduct problems, human aggression, and autism.
Behavioral Variability in Development: A Comparison Study Between Variable and Repetitive Behaviors
Domain: Basic Research
MIKE PERFILLON (University of Lille), Vinca Riviere (University of Lille ), Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
Abstract: In a study we compared the emission of repetitive and variable behaviors in the acquisition of complexes target sequences with four groups of human participants (n=20). Subjects had to emit sequences of three keys (AZE) on a computer to obtain a maximum amount of points. The experiment was divided into two phases: a training phase for each group and a phase in which difficult target sequences had to be emitted. In the variable group, sequences of the subject have to be different from the n previous to be reinforced. In order to increase variability we shaped the criteria of the lag procedure from a lag 3 to a lag 10. In the second group, repetitive behaviors were realized by producing reinforcement if sequences were similar to the n previous. Repetition was shaped in the same way as in the lag procedure (repetition 3; 5; 8; 10). Groups three and four were yoked respectively to the repetition and variable group. In the second phase, all participants had to learn specific sequences based on their lowest relative frequencies of the training phase. Results with adults suggest that behavioral variability facilitates the acquisition of difficult response.



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