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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #370
CE Offered: BACB
Have it Your Way: Preference for Single Outcomes and Event Sequences
Monday, May 29, 2023
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom D
Area: SCI; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jeanne M. Donaldson (Louisiana State University)
CE Instructor: John Borrero, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: JOHN C. BORRERO (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Traditional wisdom suggests that consequential operations (e.g., positive reinforcement) should occur immediately following target behavior to promote acquisition, maintenance, or both. Further, state-of-the-art preference assessment technologies have been used to identify potential reinforcers, wherein items selected first are deemed to be the more effective potential reinforcers, than say, items selected last. However, recent research has shown that many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) prefer to wait and have accumulated access to their reinforcers, rather than experience small but immediate access to their reinforcers. Similarly, an extensive, robust, and non-behavior analytic literature on human decision making has shown that when selecting the order of a sequence of events (e.g., meet with an abrasive family member, or have dinner at your most preferred restaurant), people typically prefer an improving series of events when the choice involves a sequence of outcomes. That is, people typically choose to meet with the abrasive aunt first, and to have the highly preferred dinner, last. The preference for “saving the best for last,” or preference for an improving sequence has been termed negative time preference. In this presentation I will present abbreviated summaries of our research on distributed as compared to accumulated access and factors that contribute to and work against negative time preference. Collectively, this work has involved typically developing preschool children, children and adolescents with IDD and college students.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Scientists, Behavior Analysts, Practitioners

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) distinguish between positive and negative time preference; (2) Identify some variables that contribute to negative time preference; (3) Describe one approach to determine whether one is choosing to save the best outcome for last in the context of a common preference assessment technology.
JOHN C. BORRERO (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Dr. Borrero earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He is Professor of Psychology at UMBC, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Maryland. At UMBC Dr. Borrero directs the Applied Behavior Analysis M.A. track and mentors doctoral students in Applied Developmental Psychology. Dr. Borrero has published over 60 articles and chapters and his work has addressed a variety of topics including the assessment and treatment of severe challenging behavior, choice, and strategies to promote infant development. Dr. Borrero is the 2008 recipient of the B. F. Skinner New Researcher Award and the 2021 recipient of the Don Hake Translational Research award, both presented by Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Borrero serves of the Board of Directors of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.



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