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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Paper Session #466
Learning Processes and Process Validity in Animal Models of Human Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Monday, May 27, 2024
12:00 PM–12:25 PM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 201 C
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Daniela Galvis-Quintana (University of Nevada, Reno)
Learning Processes and Process Validity in Animal Models of Human Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Domain: Theory
DANIELA GALVIS-QUINTANA (University of Nevada, Reno), Matthew Lewon (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Animal models (AMs) offer great potential for understanding the etiology and treatment of human neuropsychiatric disorders (NDs), but this depends on the validity of the phenotyping procedures employed. There are significant challenges to the validity of prevailing behavioral phenotyping procedures for AMs of NDs because their suitability is judged primarily on the basis of face validity. We discuss conceptual issues related to this and propose an alternative conceptualization in which behavior is regarded not as the output of the individuals as biological systems, but instead as the product of repeated interactions between individuals with unique biological/physiological characteristics and their unique social and nonsocial environments. In this conceptualization, the focus of phenotyping becomes learning processes (i.e., learning phenotyping) instead of behavior, and the validity of phenotyping procedures is evaluated by the extent to which they model the learning processes affected in human NDs (i.e., process validity). Autism spectrum disorder is discussed in detail as a case in point, and general suggestions for research in AMs of NDs based upon the concept of process validity are offered.



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