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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Poster Session #484C
PCH Monday Poster Session
Monday, May 27, 2024
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, 200 Level, Exhibit Hall A
Chair: Amelia Skye Nelson (Florida Institute of Technology)
29. Motivating Operations and Discriminative Stimuli: Functions of Events, Not Operations/Stimuli
Area: PCH; Domain: Theory
DANIEL ECHEVARRÍA-ESCALANTE (University of Nevada Reno), Matthew Lewon (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Amelia Skye Nelson
Abstract: In behavior analytic theory, the three-term contingency continues to serve as the primary construct for conceptualizing behavior-environment relations. Within this, the context in which behavior occurs in the moment (“antecedents”) is traditionally divided into two major classes of objects/events: discriminative stimuli (SDs) and motivating operations (MOs). This poster will examine issues surrounding this distinction and consider implications. One issue that is often unacknowledged is that the terms MO and SD are descriptions of the stimulating functions of objects/events, i.e., they describe how behavior is coordinated with certain objects/events and the historical circumstances under which they entered into this relationship, and not just the objects/events themselves. From this perspective, any stimulus object/event can (and often does) have multiple functions. We provide examples of circumstances appearing in the empirical literature in which stimulus objects/events an observer may consider to be MOs may also have discriminative functions and vice versa. We also present evidence that in addition to these other functions, MOs may elicit interoceptive stimuli that can acquire discriminative functions similar to exteroceptive stimuli. Finally, we suggest that many events having MO functions are not readily characterized as “operations,” especially those related to biological/physiological events.
30. The Consequences of Canalization: Selection and the Analogous Origins of Instinct and Habit
Area: PCH; Domain: Theory
WILLIAM DAVID STAHLMAN (University of Mary Washington)
Discussant: Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Behavior, once variable, becomes stereotyped and inflexible when its controlling contingencies are invariant. The regular and predictable consequences of an operant class renders performance insensitive to subsequent manipulations (e.g., reinforcer devaluation, omission). These effects have been commonly described as evidence of a shift from "goal-directed" behavior—in which action is a function of an organism's expectation—to "habitual" behavior governed by stimulus-response associations. I present here an alternative interpretation that centers on selection in ontogeny, and its resemblance to natural selection. Fixed phylogenic behavior (i.e., instinct) may have origins in the flexible behavior of ancestors. Similarly, fixed ontogenic behavior (i.e., habit) has origins in variable operant behavior. Irrespective of the substrate, selection appears to demand the transition from flexible to inflexible adaptive behavior. When we acknowledge the competition between behaviors controlled at different levels of selection, we may interpret the field of goal-directedness and habit without any appeals to associative terms or to expectancies.
31. Blending Evolutionary Science and Behavior Analysis: Science of the Noosphere Master Class
Area: PCH; Domain: Applied Research
LAUREN ROSE HUTCHISON (Missouri State University ), David Sloan Wilson (Binghamton University), Sage Gibbons (Prosocial World), Beth Hawkins (ProSocial World), Ellen Rigsby (St. Marys College), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University), Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University), Amanda Middleton (Missouri State University )
Discussant: Amelia Skye Nelson
Abstract: In 1955, Pierre Teilard de Chardin coined the term “noosphere”, a word he used to describe the evolution of human thought. In 2021, David Sloan Wilson published an article drawing parallels between modern evolutionary science and Teilhard’s writings. In June of 2023, a 10-week masterclass was developed and led by Wilson, that aimed to place Teilhard’s concept of the noosphere on a firm scientific foundation, while also acting as a research program in worldview evolution. Multiple theories and methodologies were drawn upon in the development of the research program including natural language analysis, dual inheritance theory, and behavior analysis including relational frame theory. Sources of data included weekly reflections, Zoom recordings and transcripts, pretest/posttest psychometric surveys, and a daily measure survey adapted from the Process Based Assessment Tool. There was a total of 100 class members that consented to participate in the research study aspect of the class. Preliminary results show resistance to worldview change, high engagement from participants, an increase in social connectedness, and spontaneous development of learning-to-action groups. Implications for embedding research design in pedagogy and a behavioral perspective in cultural evolution will be discussed.
Diversity submission 32. Looking Into the Perspectives of Latino Families Receiving Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Services From a Latino-Based Company
Area: PCH; Domain: Service Delivery
ADRIANA PEREIRA (Amigo Care ABA), Nicole Marie Burke (Amigo Care ABA ), Tatiana Castillo (Amigo Care ABA), Melissa Theodore (May Institute ), Alex Arevalo (Amigo Care ABA; Western New England University )
Discussant: Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)

Recent studies have aimed to uncover the perspectives and attitudes of Latino families receiving applied behavior analysis (ABA) services, seeking a deeper understanding of the barriers they face when accessing these services for their children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Castro-Hostetler et al., 2023). Surveys have underscored a significant obstacle: the language gap between service providers and clients. This challenge arises from variations in language proficiency between practitioners and the families receiving services (Castro-Hostetler et al., 2023). Additionally, disparities in cultural practices between clinicians and clients have proven to be an additional hurdle. Amigo Care, a home-based company, was established with the mission to break barriers in providing ABA services to Latino families in Maryland. A comprehensive survey was developed in order to gain insights on the perspectives of Latino families when materials, intake specialists, and clinicians are offered in Spanish. The objective is to enhance our understanding of how these families perceive the efforts made towards cultural responsiveness and to identify areas where further improvements may be necessary. This initiative reflects a commitment to fostering inclusivity and ensuring that ABA services are tailored to meet the unique needs of Latino families in the region.

33. Accessibility of Behavior Analysis in Rural Communities: A Systematic Review
Area: PCH; Domain: Applied Research
MADISON HALE IMLER (University of Missouri - Columbia ), John Augustine (University of Missouri - Columbia)
Discussant: Amelia Skye Nelson

Individuals living in rural communities are often faced with unique challenges that limit their accessibility to beneficial behavior-analytic services. These challenges can include but are not limited to geographical isolation, limited resources, and insufficient access to specialized professionals. Additionally, despite the increasing number of certified professionals in the field of behavior analysis, there are still deficits in accessibility across the country (Yingling et al., 2023.) The purpose of this article was to conduct a systematic review to evaluate the current state of the literature regarding the implementation and/or the accessibility of behavior-analytic interventions for rural populations. Given that a primary barrier to accessibility can be the considerable geographical distance between behavior analytic services and rural communities the current study specifically evaluated the implementation variables used to address this geographical barrier. As a result, implications for increasing the accessibility and awareness of behavior-analytic interventions in rural communities are discussed. Specifically as it relates to supporting individuals and their families that are impacted by the rural communities in which they live.

34. Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior: A Review of the Literature
Area: PCH; Domain: Theory
TIA HORN (Rutgers University), Jenna Budge (Rutgers University), Debra Paone (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Robert LaRue (Rutgers University)
Discussant: Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement (DR) has been a cornerstone for interventions for challenging behavior for decades (Jessel & Ingvarsson, 2016; Poling & Ryan, 1982). Multiple variations of DR have been used for the successful treatment of challenging behavior (e.g., DR of other behavior/DRO, DR of alternative behavior/DRA). While differential reinforcement has been extensively studied, DR of incompatible behavior (DRI) has received much less attention in recent decades. In the current review, we conducted a comprehensive search for studies using DRI in multiple databases, including PsychINFO/PsychARTICLES, and EBSCOhost [Academic Search Complete and ERIC]. Articles were screened to include only articles where DRI was used alone or as part of an intervention package, and had an adequate single-case design evaluating its effectiveness. Overall, 81 articles were screened in the review. Of those 81 articles, 23 contained evaluations of DRI alone or in a package with an adequate single-case design. Overall, results regarding the efficacy of DRI were mixed. Procedural variations appeared to contribute to the effectiveness of DRI. In many cases, the incompatible behavior targeted for reinforcement was not “incompatible”, but was a “competing” response. Further analysis revealed that DRI procedures using incompatible responses were more effective than those using competing responses.



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