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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #132
CE Offered: BACB
Measurement Approaches and Considerations in the Analysis of Sexual Behavior: A STEP SIG Symposium
Sunday, May 27, 2012
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
4C-1 (Convention Center)
Area: DEV/EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Bobby Newman (Full Inclusion Living and Learning Unitarian University)
Discussant: John W. Eshleman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
CE Instructor: Bobby Newman, Ph.D.

The science of behavior analysis has been applied to a myriad of human behaviors, including those of a sexual nature. The purpose of this presentation is to explore several research strategies for analyzing sex-related behavior, including sexual arousal responses, self-reported sexual practices, and latency-based responses on a computer task involving sexual stimuli. Presenters will discuss resulting data and their implications, as well as directions for future research. The utility and challenges of these measurement techniques will also be explored.

Keyword(s): behavioral measurement, sex research, sexual behavior
Using the Function Acquisition Speed Test (FAST) in Forensic and Sex Research
ANTHONY O'REILLY (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Bryan T. Roche (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Maria R. Ruiz (Rollins College)
Abstract: The Function Acquisition Speed Test (FAST) is a new behavior-analytic "implicit" test that can measure the strength of equivalence classes, functional stimulus classes and respondently conditioned stimulus associations. As such, the FAST provides the sex and forensic researcher with a practical methodology for assessing histories of stimulus associations in a noninvasive manner, but without the usual mentalistic baggage that accompanies implicit testing techniques. The current paper will outline a short history of the use of implicit testing in behavior-analytic sex and forensic research. It will then illustrate the FAST methodology and its particular relevance to the forensic and sex research fields. Current research utilizing the FAST to assess the typical age of maximally attractive females for a random sample of adult male volunteers will also be outlined.

Further Assessment of Deviant Sexual Arousal of Sex Offenders Diagnosed with Intellectual Disabilities

STEPHEN F. WALKER (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Ray Joslyn (University of Florida)

The penile plythesmograph is a device commonly used with sex offenders to measure penile tumescence in the presence of various stimuli. Showing arousal to deviant stimuli (e.g., videos of prepubescent children) has been shown to be a significant predictor of re-offense. An assumption in the field of sex offender assessment and rehabilitation is that increases in penile tumescence are due to the age and gender of the presented stimulus. Pictures and videos often used as stimuli are highly complex; they often vary across a number of features (e.g., hair color, skin color, clothing type) leaving open the possibility that one of the other stimulus features, besides age and gender, are controlling penile tumescence. The purpose of this study was to assess what effects these different features might have on the outcomes of plythesmograph assessments of intellectually disabled sex offenders. Each participant was exposed to three different videos of each specific age and gender category (e.g., Female 8-9 years old), using commercially available film clips designed for such purposes. The videos differed across a number of features (e.g., skin color, clothing type). Preliminary results indicate that stimulus features other than age and gender play an important role in assessment outcomes.

A Comparison of Techniques for Measuring Self-Reported Sexual Behavior
ANDREW SHEN (Auburn University), Jessica Gamba (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jennifer Klapatch (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Fawna Stockwell (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: In order to monitor the effectiveness of sexual health and safety interventions, accurate measurement of specific types of sexual behavior is paramount. Frequency estimations of sexual behavior are more precise than data gathered with ordinal (likert-type) scales, and the extent to which reported frequencies correspond with likert-scale responses is understudied. In addition, asking participants to recall their sexual behaviors over a past time period may produce responses with varying degrees of accuracy, depending on the length of time period they are asked to recall. The current study involved a comparison of multiple measurement approaches of the same sexual behaviors. Participants included adult men and women from a major U.S. city who were asked to complete a self-report questionnaire containing both likert-scale questions and frequency estimations of their sexual behavior over the previous two weeks. Participants then self-reported frequencies of those same behaviors using a daily online survey for either 2, 4, or 6 weeks. Following completion of online data collection, participants again completed a questionnaire assessing their behavior over the previous two weeks. Results displayed varied responding within and across groups and provided valuable information regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the different measurement approaches.



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