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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #450
Diversity submission Ethnic and Racial Issues in Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 30, 2022
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156A
Area: CSS/PCH; Domain: Theory
Chair: Táhcita Medrado Mizael (São Paulo University)

This symposium aims to present the audience with issues related to the topic of diversity. More specifically, these presentations are concerned with ethnic and racial diversity issues within behavior analysis. The first presentation is a behavioral-analytical interpretation of colorism. Colorism is defined as the relation between skin color and privileges of experiences of discrimination. Hence, this concept is connected to racism. The second presentation is a review of studies of Blackness that used behavior analysis to analyze the phenomena. An interesting aspect of this presentation is that it focuses on behavior-analytic papers that were published in non-behavioral-analytic journals. The last one is a presentation concerned with studies of xenophobia within behavior analysis, showing that most of these studies used Relational Frame Theory and aimed at changing pre-experimental relations of immigrants and negative attributes. The three presentations focus on the importance and possible implications of studying ethnic and racial issues for a better practice and a better life for minorities such as Black people, immigrants, and non-White people in general.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Blackness, Colorism, prejudice, xenophobia
Diversity submission 

A Behavior-Analytic View of Colorism

TÁHCITA MEDRADO MIZAEL (University of São Paulo), Marina de Castro (Núcleo de Atendimento e Formação em Psicologia Clínica e Jurídica), Alexandre Dittrich (Federal University of Paraná)

Colorism can be conceptualized as the relationship between a person’s skin tone and the attainment of privileges, experiences of discrimination, and en¬forcement of rights. This essay aims to present a behavior-analytical interpretation of the concept of col¬orism. Several studies show that the skin tone can serve as a predictor variable of social advantages and privileges, when the skin is lighter, and of disadvantages, losses, and rejection when the skin is darker. These differential consequences occur in several contexts (e.g., education, health, the legal system, the labor market). Therefore, we can say that colorism refers to social contingencies in which a person’s skin tone is an antecedent variable that signals the probability of occurrence or the degree of availability of certain consequences for that person, as well as the response cost required for access them. This interpretation seems to be consistent with the literature, that points to a relation¬ship between lighter skin and positive reinforcing consequences (e.g., higher wages, attending school for more years), as well as a relationship between darker skin and punitive and potentially aversive consequences (e.g., higher sentences for similar crimes, lower levels of self-esteem). Some implications for the clinical field are pointed, highlighting the importance of understanding color¬ism.

Diversity submission 

CANCELED: Review of Studies Focused on Blackness With a Behavior-Analytic Approach

ANA CAROLINA LIMA (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo), Maria Pereira (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo)

It is possible to observe a greater concern on the part of Behavior Analysts in using the knowledge of the field to contribute to the solution of social problems. Considering the conditions, mostly aversive, to which Black population is submitted in Western society and the negative byproducts of these contingencies, the aim of the present research was to map and characterize the studies in Behavior Analysis focused on issues related to Blackness. The search was carried out on the “Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil” (CAPES) and on the Science Direct platform. Twenty-four papers were analyzed. The number of publications over the years varied, with most papers concentrated between the years 2000 and 2020. Most of the authors were White. The largest percentage of papers comprised basic research, a category that also had the largest number of participants. Most of the studies found were published in English, with European or American populations. We highlight the importance of replicating these studies with the Brazilian population to understand the applicability of the methods and theories already developed in a Latin American population.

Diversity submission 

Behavior Analytic Research on Xenophobia

AECIO DE BORBA VASCONCELOS NETO (Universidade Federal do Para), Natalia Maria Aggio (University of Brasília), Conrado Ijanc Neto (Federal University of Brasília), Aline de Almeida (Federal University of Brasília), Tahcita Mizael (Federal University of Sao Carlos (UFSCar - Brazil))

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) ranks the refugee crisis as the biggest humanitarian crisis today. This scenario can be further aggravated by the climate crisis, which would force an even larger number of people to migrate to other territories. It is important to structure actions that inhibit rejection of these people and establish reception contingencies in their destination. Among the variables that can make this reception difficult is the prejudice against people from other cultures and religions. This work presents a bibliographical review of articles published in Portuguese and in English about xenophobia, based on the theoretical framework of Behavior Analysis. The search took place in April 2020, in the PsycInfo database and in behavior analysis’ journals. Only articles were included and publications in other languages and articles that did not specifically address issues related to prejudice against people from other cultures were excluded. The results pointed to seven articles, five empirical and two conceptual researchs. Most of them ivestigated prejudice against people of Middle Eastern origin or descent. All empirical articles were based on Relational Frame Theory. The results indicated that despite its importance, there are few behavioral analytical studies on the subject.




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