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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Poster Session #370J
PCH Monday Poster Session
Monday, May 29, 2023
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall F
Chair: Lee Mason (Cook Children's Health Care System)
142. The Seven Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis in State Licensing Laws
Area: PCH; Domain: Service Delivery
MARGARET DONOVAN (Salve Regina University ), Evan James Switzer (Salve Regina University ), Cody Morris (Salve Regina University )
Discussant: Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)
Abstract: Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) is a landmark paper within behavior analysis that has, for many, defined what it meant to practice applied behavior analysis. However, the recent adoption of state laws pertaining to the practice of applied behavior analysis has resulted in particular definitions of applied behavior analysis across the United States. Currently, it is unclear how much Baer et al.’s seven dimensions are incorporated into state laws. The purpose of this project was to code the existing state licensure laws for behavior analysts to see which of the seven dimensions are present in each individual state. The definitions of applied behavior analysis within each licensed state’s licensure law were reviewed and coded for each of the seven dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Two independent reviewers coded each item for each state with a 92% initial agreement across all coded items. The results of the review found disparities in which of the seven dimensions were present in the licensure language across states. Each of the seven dimensions will be discussed along with other themes identified during the review.
144. Conditionally Concerning: The Trouble With Terms
Area: PCH; Domain: Theory
JENNIFER POSEY (Endicott College; Holdsambeck Behavioral Health), Fina Robertson (Endicott College, Gardner Public Schools, Behavior Concepts Inc. ), Emma Isabel Moon (Endicott College), Allyssa Minick (Endicott College), Natalie M. Driscoll (Seven Hills Foundation & Endicott College), Craig A Marrer (Endicott College), Alan Kinsella (Endicott College), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago; Endicott College)
Discussant: Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)

This theoretical analysis examines the relationship behavior analysts have with language and definitions. The use of operational definitions and the impact of various wording is explored in relation to its potential, and probable, impact on responses of behavior analysts. A field rich in jargon should consider the relevant stimuli within the operational definition of terms. The mere use of jargon within the operational definition may lead a behavior analyst to select a nonsense term simply based on the presence of technical terms often paired with behavior analytic definitions. This is important to the field of behavior analysis as a BCBAs should be able to recognize linkages between definitions and the terms they describe. The failure to conditionally discriminate between terminology utilized in behavior analysis could lead behavior analysts to toward technical drift in making recommendations. Furthermore, this paper examines the potential for behavior analysts to display a bias toward some third-wave behavior analytic terms including those related with acceptance and commitment training. If such a bias exists, this could be hugely impactful to the field as behavior analysts may refuse to adopt empirically supported strategies and solutions that may be appropriate for addressing the challenges that impact those individuals with more advanced language and cognition. Currently, the ongoing scholarly debate among behavior analytic academia regarding terminology poses a significant threat to practitioners who are appropriately trained to provide empirically supported interventions.




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