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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Invited Tutorial #114
SQAB Tutorial: Choice, Time, and Evolution: Dynamics in Self-Injurious Behavior
Saturday, May 25, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center, 300 Level, Ballroom A
Area: SCI; Domain: Translational
BACB/QABA/NASP CE Offered. CE Instructor: John Falligant, Ph.D.
Chair: Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Presenting Authors: : JOHN FALLIGANT (Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)

In physics, the study of dynamics is concerned with how forces act on bodies to change their movement—from this stems concepts involving Newton’s laws of motion, mass, inertia, momentum, kinetic energy and more. In behavior analysis, the study of dynamics is concerned with how consequences act on behavior via contingencies of selection over time. In this paradigm, behavior participates in a dynamic system with operant contingencies to produce emergent outcomes that are analyzed across multiple response dimensions, time scales, and units of analysis. Behavior dynamics provides a framework for investigating how operant behavior changes due to variation in the environment, yielding insights into the variables that underlie complex patterns of behavior—it embraces the idea that behavior is not static, but constantly evolving. This tutorial will explore the emerging application of behavior dynamics to the study of self-injury among individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities. This discussion will center on dynamics of response competition, time, and evolution. Throughout, my emphasis will be on making these concepts, along with selected analytic techniques, approachable for applied researchers.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

This tutorial is geared towards board certified behavior analysts, psychologists, and graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to (1) understand how the study of behavior dynamics compliments the analysis of automatically maintained self-injurious behavior, (2) use multiple analytic approaches to examine the temporal dynamics of behavior, and (3) apply principles of Darwinian evolutionary theory to behavior maintenance and change.
JOHN FALLIGANT (Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Dr. Falligant is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Senior Behavior Analyst in the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. The Neurobehavioral Programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who suffer from severe behavioral dysfunction, including self- injury. His clinical work is focused on the assessment and treatment of challenging behavior in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. His research coalesces around the analysis of transdiagnostic neurobehavioral variables underlying behavioral dysfunction, persistence and relapse, as well as the identification of functional behavioral phenotypes pertinent to treatment- resistant behavior. A unifying theme across these areas is the fine-grained analysis of behavioral events, including the microstructural analysis of behavior and its dynamics. Dr. Falligant is a clinical psychologist and Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). He received his Ph.D. from Auburn University. He completed his Doctoral Internship and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.



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