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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Special Event #3
CE Offered: BACB
SABA Awards and Opening Event
Friday, May 28, 2021
5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Peter R. Killeen (Arizona State University)
CE Instructor: Peter R. Killeen, Ph.D.

SABA Award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis


If this tiny talk could have a theme it would be connections. My checkered academic career has largely been driven by opportunities for making connections between several domains, as well as people—colleagues and students. As with most anyone who lives long enough, the course of my career is marked by many turns into new avenues, some quite unanticipated. I sketch some of these turns—the pivotal role of Georgia Tech, UNC Chapel Hill where I first become a behavior analyst, Harvard Medical School—behavior pharmacology and the big time, Georgia Tech again, running a behavior pharmacology lab and forays into electromagnetics, EAB and Zoo Atlanta, behavior dynamics, conceptual/philosophical concerns, instructional design and engineering education, and my roles and adventures in ABAI where I have repeatedly emphasized that, as a field, we should look outward, not inward.

M. JACKSON MARR (Georgia Tech)
M. Jackson (Jack) Marr received the B.S. degree in 1961 from Georgia Tech where he studied mathematics, physics, engineering, and psychology. He received a Ph.D. in experimental psychology with a minor in physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Georgia Tech. He is one of five founding Fellows of the Association for Behavior Analysis, a Fellow of Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) and Division 3 (Experimental Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA), a Fellow of the Psychonomic Society, and a Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Honoree. He was elected twice (the last in 2015) to President of the Association for Behavior Analysis (ABAI), and was President of Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of APA and the Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis (SEABA). He was also APA Council member representing Division 25. He is the past Editor of Behavior and Philosophy and continues to serve on its editorial board. He also serves as Review Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, a position he has held since 1998. He served as the Co-Editor of Revista Mexicana de Análisis de la Conducta and was an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and The Behavior Analyst. He was Experimental Representative to the Executive Council of the Association for Behavior Analysis, served on the Board of Directors of The Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior (SQAB), and currently serves on the Board of Trustees the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He has been particularly active in the international support and development of behavior analysis in Great Britain, Europe, Mexico, Brazil, China, and the Middle East. He was a Research Fellow in Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, a visiting professor at the Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico, and was invited to Jacksonville State University with an Eminent Scholar award. He was a Navy contractor for Project Sanguine and an AIEE Senior Fellow at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory. For over 20 years (1991-2012) he was involved through NSF grants and other support in the assessment and improvement of engineering education. This work included design of instructional systems to teach calculus-based engineering physics. Current scholarly interests include dynamical systems theory, the quantitative analysis of behavior, creativity, and theoretical/conceptual issues in behavioral analysis.

SABA Award for Scientific Translation


The emergence of a new species, according to Darwin's theory of natural selection, depends on a baseline of variable attributes (or phenotypes). A parallel exists for learned behaviors: the shaping of operant responses depends on variations in ongoing behavior. Darwin described many examples of selection from variations. He also described selection of variation, i.e., variability that was maintained because a variable species was more likely to survive than one with limited attributes. Here, too, a behavioral parallel exists: the variability of operant responses is itself sensitive to reinforcing consequences. Thus, as shown by both evolutionary biology and behavioral psychology, successful selection-by-consequences depends on baseline variations and successful variation depends (in part) on selection-by-consequences. In support, I will show that levels of response variability -- from repetitions to random-like responding -- can be reinforced. I will also briefly indicate that reinforcement of variability facilitates acquisition of difficult-to-learn behaviors; that "varied practice" enhances skilled performance; that reinforcement of variable interactions increases the enriching effects of novel objects; and that reinforcement of variability can contribute to therapies for abnormally shy, inhibited, or stereotypy-generating individuals, as in those with autism spectrum disorder.

Allen Neuringer graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1958, received a B.A., summa cum laude, from Columbia College in1962, and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1967. His thesis advisor was Richard Herrnstein; most important were fellow students Howie Rachlin, Billy Baum, Bruce Schneider, Phil Hineline, Peter Killeen, Ed Fantino, Richard Schuster, and Martha DiNardo Neuringer. He was a professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, from 1970 until his retirement as MacArthur Professor of Psychology in 2008, but continued to guide research and teach an upper-division course, "Functional Variability," until this year. Allen and his students have shown that response variability can be reinforced, much like response topography, force, and speed. Together with his student, Neal Miller, he published the first demonstration that response variability in individuals with autism can be increased and maintained by reinforcers contingent upon that variability. He also published articles on self-control, responding for food when food is otherwise freely available, music discrimination in pigeons and self-experimentation. He recently gave the plenary address at the International Quantified Self Conference. Allen lives in a forest in a house he built (from the ground up) with Martha, his partner in love, and Reed students.

SABA Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis


Teaching verbal behavior to children with disabilities was the first functional aim on my trip as a behavior analyst. It produced a horizon of light. Then, the combination of application along with teaching and researching, looking for the conditions responsible for generating behavior, were all very inspiring experiences. Then, jumping in other areas of research that were starting in the field focused on the analysis of complex behaviors as problems solving, rule governed behavior and self-knowledge. In this track, equivalence and derived relational responding emerged and enlightened even more the functional horizon. It was the onset for understanding and generating the emergence of novel behavior, of novel and untrained functions based on stimuli relations. It was as if the tree of the functional perspective was growing up and growing up. And more research continued in areas still obscure as the formation of the self as those rules about oneself whose function dominates and controls other behaviors. In a nutshell, it has been, and still is, an exciting and creative experience for me to navigate and extend with many others along the functional tree either when teaching, doing research, or in the huge application the latter has permitted.

CARMEN LUCIANO (University of Almería; Madrid Institute Contextual Psychology, MICPSY)
Carmen Luciano received her Ph. D. from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1984. She was professor of psychology at the University of Granada from 1979 to 1993 and been professor of psychology at the University of Almeria since 1994. Her research dedication began on the experimental analysis of language. Her post-doc Fulbright research stay in Boston University and the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies was centered in studying problem-solving behavior with Skinner’s supervision. This was a critical point in her career as basic researcher. She was involved in equivalence research, rule-governed behavior and, shortly after, in RFT and ACT research. Her research lab conducts basic creative experimental-applied RFT designs for the analysis of: analogies; coherence; deictic and hierarchical framing in the context of identifying core components of metaphors; false memories; experiential avoidance; values; defusion; self and responding to one’s own behavior. Additionally, the lab designs brief ACT protocols and teaches ACT-focused analysis of the conditions under which emotions, thoughts, and valued motivation are brought to the present to build flexibility responding.   Dr. Luciano has been the Director of the Experimental and Applied Analysis of Behavior Research Group since 1986, where she has supervised over thirty doctoral theses--some of her students are running their own labs nowadays. She is also Director of the Functional Analysis in Clinical Contexts Doctoral Program at the University of Almeria and Director of the Master Program in Contextual Therapies at the Madrid Institute of Contextual Psychology. Her research has been funded by international, national, and regional public funds. She has collaborated with research groups from different countries and she has spread the functional analysis perspective with meetings, courses, research presentations, and publications. She is known for her vibrating and creative style while teaching, working with clients, and doing research.

SABA Award for Effective Presentation of Behavior Analysis in the Mass Media


Prof. Hart will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned from studying psychoactive substances in people for more than 20 years. He will briefly describe the neurobiological, socio-environmental, and political forces that influence substance use and experiences. Particular attention will be paid to racial biases ingrained in today’s communities. As such, he will urge attendees to stand up on behalf of those who may use psychoactive substances in their pursuit of happiness.

CARL HART (Columbia University)
Carl Hart is the Dirk Ziff Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University. Prof. Hart has published extensively in the area of neuropsychopharmacology. He is an award-winning author. His most recent book is entitled Drug Use for Grown-ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear. Prof. Hart has lectured around the world and has appeared on multiple national television and radio shows, as well as podcasts. In 2016, the city of Miami issued a proclamation declaring February 1 “Dr. Carl Hart Day.”

SABA Award for Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis


The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) was founded in 1990 by Doreen Granpeesheh, Ph.D., BCBA-D, at the suggestion of O. Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D., who wanted the participants in his groundbreaking study to have an ABA program to attend when they aged out of his UCLA research. What began as a one-woman practice in Westwood, California, grew into the largest ABA provider in the world with more than 260 clinic locations in 33 states. Having practiced, researched, and advocated for ABA for over 40 years, Dr. Granpeesheh provides a view of the earliest years of behavioral applications to the treatment of autism, and speaks of the ways in which access to ABA has grown, largely as a result of the onset of health insurance funding. Dr. Granpeesheh shares the lessons learned in the field, describes how data-driven decisions continue to shape behavior analysis, and shares her insights on future directions.

DOREEN GRANPEESHEH (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD))
Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and the Founder and President of the Board of Autism Care and Treatment Today (ACT Today). Dr. Granpeesheh received her Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA under the mentorship of Professor Ivar Lovaas. She is licensed by the Medical Board of California and the Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Michigan and Oregon State Boards of Psychologists. Dr. Granpeesheh holds a Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, doctoral level, and has been providing behavioral therapy for individuals with autism since 1979. She has been a member of numerous scientific and advisory boards including the US Autism and Asperger's Association, the Autism File journal, Autism 360/medigenesis, the 4-A Healing Foundation, and the Defeat Autism Now coalition. In addition, Dr. Granpeesheh has served on the National Board of Directors of the Autism Society of America, the practice board of ABAI, as well as the Autism Human Rights and Discrimination Initiative Steering Committee, the Early Intervention Taskforce of the Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders, and the Oversight Committee of the Department of Developmental Disabilities.   Dr. Granpeesheh has co-authored the book Evidence-Based Treatment for Children with Autism and numerous peer reviewed publications on issues concerning the diagnosis and treatment of Autism. She was awarded the George Winoker Clinical Research Award from the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists for her publication titled: Retrospective analysis of clinical records in 38 cases of recovery from autism. Together with her colleagues at CARD, Dr. Granpeesheh created Skills® for Autism, a web-based software tool that creates comprehensive treatment plans for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, and founded the Institute for Behavioral Training, an online platform for training professionals and families on the principles of ABA.
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh