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 Symposium #194
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Basic Research
Sunday, May 28, 2023
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 2/3
Area: SCI; Domain: Translational
Chair: Liz Kyonka (California State University - East Bay)
Discussant: Liz Kyonka (California State University - East Bay)
CE Instructor: Liz Kyonka, Ph.D.

Justice, equity, diversity, inclusion (JEDI) and related issues have started to receive more attention in behavior analysis circles, including publications in behavior analysis journals about diversity and representation, antiracism, and cultural competence. To date, behavior analysis publications have been focused in two areas: cataloging demographic information from author bylines or the parts of Method sections that describe participants, and JEDI-oriented guidelines, frameworks and recommendations for clinical practice. Basic behavior analysis research is not immune from discriminatory practices, and basic behavioral scientists are not exempt from doing the work needed to ensure that behavior analysis is open to anyone. On the contrary, this kind of justice is one of three basic principles outlined in the Belmont Report for the protection of human subjects of research and one of five general principles in the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code. Presentations will explore how JEDI principles can be meaningfully implemented in research involving student researchers and with animal research subjects, interrogate broader obligations to prospective behavioral scientists, and consider intersections between JEDI principles and culture responsiveness.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Students, Researchers, BCBAs

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to 1. Identify barriers to increasing diversity in behavior analysis. 2. Describe actions researchers and training programs can take to embed cultural responsiveness in behavior analysis. 3. Critically evaluate the relevance of recommendations about ensuring justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in research to behavior analysis research. 4. Apply a critical lens to ostensibly objective scientific practices.
Diversity submission What are the Barriers to Increasing Diversity of Researchers and Clinicians in Behavior Analysis?
PAUL SOTO (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: Efforts have been made to increase diversity of researchers and clinicians in behavior analysis as well as other STEM fields. Lack of diversity in the behavior analysis community is sometimes attributed to a lack of qualified candidates at the post-graduate level for academic position and roles (e.g., journal reviewers, journal review boards). If the barrier is truly a lack of qualified candidates, then we, as a field, must identify the factors that reduce the number of qualified master’s and doctoral-level candidates for clinical and academic positions and roles so that we can intervene to increase the number of qualified candidates. In my laboratory, I have had no difficulty in attracting undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to participate in research. However, none of these students have moved on to pursue graduate school in behavior analysis and only a couple have decided to pursue a graduate degree in a related field (e.g., neuroscience). Although I have considered pushing students harder toward graduate school in psychology, in general, and behavior analysis, specifically, reservations regarding job opportunities has dampened my enthusiasm to do so. Job opportunity limitations are not however the same in the applied area and perhaps that represents an avenue for pursuit.
Dr. Soto completed graduate training in psychology at Emory University and postdoctoral training in behavioral pharmacology at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to accepting a position at LSU in 2017, Dr. Soto held tenure-track appointments in the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and at Texas Tech University. Dr. Soto’s research interests are in (1) the use of laboratory animal models of psychiatric diseases and symptoms for the evaluation of potential therapeutic approaches, (2) the use of drugs and genetically engineered animals to identify the neurobiological contributors to basic and complex behavioral processes, and (3) the investigation of short- and long-term effects of exposure to psychiatric medications. Recently, Dr. Soto has begun advocating for the use of single-case experimental designs in areas outside of behavior analysis, such as behavioral neuroscience, because of the scientific and ethical benefits provided by these designs.
Diversity submission Intersection of Cultural Responsiveness and Ethics in Behavioral Research
CORINA JIMENEZ-GOMEZ (University of Florida)
Abstract: Much has been said and written lately about the need to embed cultural responsiveness in behavior analysis and the need to enhance diversity in the field. In fact, similar conversations are taking place in many areas of science. Despite the current buzz, many may be left wondering what they can do or whether it is incumbent on them to act. What can researchers and training programs do? Further, what are the ethical responsibilities and implications of their actions (or lack thereof)? This talk will review some observations related to this topic.
Dr. Corina Jimenez-Gomez (she/her/ella) is an Assistant Professor in the Behavior Analysis program at the University of Florida. She earned a Licensure in Psychology at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela, and a doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis from Utah State University. She completed post-doctoral training at the University of Michigan and was a Research Fellow at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. She has held faculty positions at the Florida Institute of Technology and Auburn University. In addition, she served as clinical supervisor at The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech and was the Director of the Center for Autism Research, Treatment, and Training (CARTT) at Auburn University. Dr. Jimenez-Gomez is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the doctoral level, whose professional interests include translational and applied behavioral research in the areas of choice and reinforcement processes, the use of technology in ABA settings, caregiver and staff coaching, and cultural responsiveness in Behavior Analysis. Dr. Jimenez-Gomez has served as a reviewer for various scientific journals and is currently on the editorial board of the Perspectives on Behavior Science and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and is Associate Editor for Behavior Analysis in Practice. She is also the mom of two amazing humans and an elderly Labrador, and is married to a fellow behavioral scientist.
Diversity submission Scientific Objectivity and Social Justice in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
LIZ KYONKA (California State University - East Bay), Shrinidhi Subramaniam (California State University, Stanislaus)
Abstract: Much of the practical advice about incorporating principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) into behavioral research focuses on consulting stakeholders, reevaluating inclusion and exclusion criteria, and using inclusive language to describe research participants. For behavioral scientists investigating fundamental behavioral processes, following this advice can be challenging. For example, in experiments with laboratory animal subjects, humane treatment and transparent procedures for ensuring subjects’ welfare may be more applicable than consultation and inclusive language. This presentation will summarize recommendations about incorporating JEDI principles into research that have been published recently, and explore some implications of those recommendations.
Dr. Elizabeth Kyonka (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at California State University, East Bay on the ethnohistoric territory of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area. 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. She has held faculty positions at West Virginia University and the University of New England in Armidale, Australia. Dr. Kyonka’s research includes experimental analyses of strategic reasoning and of the interplay between temporal learning and choice, behavioral approaches to assessing and modifying technology use, and metacritical analysis of behavior analysis. Currently, she is a member of the ABAI Science Board, serves on the editorial boards of The Psychological Record, Perspectives on Behavior Science and Learning & Behavior, and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.
Diversity submission Incorporating Principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Behavioral Research
SHRINIDHI SUBRAMANIAM (California State University, Stanislaus), Liz Kyonka (California State University - East Bay)
Abstract: Foundational research skills that span the spectrum of behavior analysis include synthesizing the existing literature; developing an interesting, socially important research question; selecting appropriate measurement tools; designing an experiment that allows for valid inferences; applying best practices in data analysis; drawing conclusions based on the data; and disseminating the results to a broad audience. We argue that considering principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in each of those activities will benefit the field of behavior analysis and the broader community. This presentation draws upon the scholarly literature and personal experience to detail action steps to incorporate JEDI principles from study conceptualization to knowledge translation. Examples include using participatory research methods and adopting a critical lens to so-called objective, scientific practices.

Dr. Shrinidhi Subramaniam is an Associate Professor in Psychology at California State University, Stanislaus and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Dr. Subramaniam received her PhD in Psychology from West Virginia University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She teaches courses in applied behavior analysis, research methods, ethics, and addiction treatment, and mentors graduate students in their thesis research. Dr. Subramaniam’s research applies behavior analytic principles to solve problems like addiction, unemployment, and poverty in her community. Currently, she is the co-PI for Wellness WORKs!, a holistic health education program for CalWORKs participants in San Joaquin County. In addition to this work, she has published over 20 manuscripts and chapters across broad research interests. These publications include clinical studies evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral interventions like incentives and education, and basic and translational studies exploring processes underlying human decision making such as choice and temporal learning. Dr. Subramaniam is an Associate Editor for The Psychological Record, is on the editorial board for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and serves as the Board Secretary of the Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior. She was the Association for Behavior Analysis, International’s 2022 recipient of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Early Career Impact Award.




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