St. Louis, MO
Just You Wait!
Northern Illinois University
Welcome Address as MABA President
University of Florida
Knowing What We Do Not Know
Functional analysis as a form of behavioral assessment has been the foundation of behavioral treatment for over 40 years. We have learned a great deal about severe behavior during this time, and we continue to do so. However, there are significant gaps in our knowledge base about the occurrence of self-injury and aggression. Some of these gaps relate to pain, discomfort, and response to aversive stimulation (including reinforcer loss). Such variables will directly influence functional analysis outcomes, and they have important implications for designing treatments. For example, there are situations when treatments involving extinction could be unethical if the root cause of escape behavior is discomfort. Counterintuitively, even treatments that seem innocuous, such as environmental enrichment and differential reinforcement, could be dangerous if they disguise significant health-related variables. Dr. Vollmer will share recent and published data from his lab and will synthesize published research from his lab and others.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Behavior Analysis as an Animal Care Tool in Zoos and Aquariums
In recent years, behavior has been recognized as an essential piece in the constellation of components critical to the care of animals housed in zoos and aquariums. The science of learning has many applications in these settings, and behavior analysts have contributed to the advancement of evidence-based practices particularly in the areas of husbandry training, environmental enrichment, and animal welfare. In this presentation, I will describe some examples of the role of behavior in multiple aspects of animal care. Along the way, I will highlight some key questions for the application of behavior analysis in zoological settings, some examples of work that addresses these questions, and some areas in need of further development.
University of the Pacific
Change Behavior, Change the World
All the major problems facing the world are problems of human behavior. The problems are caused and cured by what we do and what we do not do. As a result, meaningfully addressing these problems will require changing behavior, and this will require a robust basic and applied science of behavior analysis. It will also require disseminating this science so that it is put into practice where it is needed. I will identify several areas where behavior analysts are close to a tipping point of discovering and delivering important solutions. Behavior analysis holds great promise to improve the human condition, and our existing research and practice have provided many tools to serve important needs in the areas of child development, education, health, and aging. In most cases, we simply need to polish these tools and demonstrate their utility on a larger scale. In some of these cases, there also are obvious paths to practice that can lead applied behavior analysts into new careers. I will describe what I view as some areas primed for impact and suggest some ways to get them ready for delivery.
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Rethinking the Safety of Functional Analyses
Despite the clear benefits of conducting functional analyses of severe behavior, safety precautions may drive clinicians to seek alternative and less valid methods of assessment. In this presentation, I will review research relevant to the safety of functional analyses; provide an overview of practical strategies to improve safety based on this research; and discuss a few ongoing studies that may contribute to future improvements in safety.
California State University, Sacremento
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Understanding Primary Reinforcement is Just Not Enough to Explain the Misuse of Nicotine
Consumption of tobacco-containing products is the leading cause of preventable deaths worldwide. With the advent and increasing popularity of electronic nicotine delivery devices (e-cigarettes and vape), the advances in remediating this significant health issue are sliding backwards. We have known for nearly 50 years that the direct primary reinforcing effects of nicotine are, at best, weak and cannot fully explain the persistent use of nicotine or the high relapse rates following abstinence. Recognition of this explanatory gap by basic and clinical scientists has lead them to search for other potential factors that contribute to nicotine use and the development of dependence. In this presentation, we will highlight key discoveries in the quest to understand the determinants of nicotine use. For example, we will discuss how nicotine can amplify the reinforcing value of other environmental outcomes thus increasing its own consumption along with the consumption of these other outcomes. We will describe how nicotine has perceptible stimulus effects that can acquire control over behavior. In fact, an individual’s learning history with these interoceptive stimulus effects can increase the reinforcing value of nicotine in a way that magnifies its later consumption. Finally, we will summarize evidence supporting the need for investigators to consider sex as a biological factor as there can be profound differences between females and males.
Utah State University
Delay Discounting and Health Behaviors: Focus on Nicotine Reward
Delay discounting is the tendency for temporally remote outcomes to hold less value. With steep delay discounting, people may choose smaller sooner rewards at the expense of their long-term health and wellness. Steep delay discounting is associated with a wide variety of unhealthy behaviors, such as drug abuse, problem gambling, overweight and obesity. After describing how to measure and analyze delay discounting data, I will focus on the broader harms of nicotine use, including tobacco smoking and vaping (e-cigarette use), and how they related to delay discounting. Although not widely recognized, nicotine alone (regardless of method of self-administration) has a large number of potential harms for adolescents. Furthermore, there are deep disparities in who is impacted by nicotine use. I will describe work we have conducted with people as well as a new animal model of voluntary e-cigarette use. I will discuss methods to reduce delay discounting, their potential benefits, as well as gaps in our knowledge and future directions.
Claudia L. Dozier
University of Kansas
Recent Advances in Assessment, Intervention, and Prevention of Behavior Disorders
Behavior disorders exhibited by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities pose challenges to instruction or place them and others at risk. Three general approaches are used to conduct functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) for the purpose of determining maintaining variables for problem behavior (Iwata et al., 2000). These approaches include anecdotal (indirect) methods, descriptive (naturalistic) analysis, and functional (experimental) analysis. Results of FBAs are then used to develop a function-based intervention to reduce the occurrence of problem behavior (Hagopian et al., 2012). Several general categories of function-based treatments have been shown to be effective including antecedent interventions, extinction, and differential reinforcement. Furthermore, recent research suggests that environments may be set up that are based on the common functions of problem behavior and empirically validated environmental interventions to prevent the occurrence of problem behavior (e.g., Hanley et al., 2007). In the current presentation, I will discuss recent research from my lab in assessment, intervention, and prevention of problem behavior. Specifically, I will discuss research on comparing isolated versus synthesized contingencies in functional analysis methodology, research evaluating interventions in the absence of extinction for the treatment of problem behavior, and preliminary data on a prevention package based on common functions of problem behavior.
Suzanne H. Mitchell
Oregon Health & Science University
Assessing Willingness to Exert Effort Using a Discounting Framework
Heightened preferences for small, immediate over larger, later rewards (delay discounting) have been associated with numerous psychopathologies including substance use disorders and ADHD, but a similar choice structure focused on cognitive effort is less studied; despite its possible association with grit and perseveration. That is, a propensity to select small rewards requiring less or negligible cognitive effort over larger rewards requiring more cognitive effort may be associated with apathy, while the opposite decision making bias may be associated with success overcoming psychological obstacles like cravings during drug use cessation. Studies will be described in which we explored the relationship between delay discounting and cognitive effort discounting, including analyses of response times and eye tracking characteristics. One study also assessed whether cognitive effort discounting was related to individuals’ duration of smoking abstinence in a smoking restriction paradigm. Another study examined whether cognitive effort discounting differed between ADHD-diagnosed individuals and healthy controls. While this area of research is less developed than that of delay discounting, it appears to general unique insights into psychopathologies in which reinforcement processes are disrupted.
Guess What University
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Closing Address as President-Elect
2022 Forrest J. Files Award Winner
2022 Forrest J. Files Award Winner