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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Invited Tutorial #150
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
The need for Molecular Analyses
Sunday, May 27, 2012
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
6BC (Convention Center)
Area: TPC/EAB; Domain: Theory
PSY/BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Iver H. Iversen, Ph.D.
Chair: Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Presenting Authors: : IVER H. IVERSEN (University of North Florida)

The terms molar and molecular analysis have been used for several decades in experimental psychology and have changed definition and usage during this time. For example, Skinners operant conditioning was founded on a molecular behavior analysis in the 1930s. Yet, some contemporary models interpret operant behavior only at the molar level. The presentation will trace the history of the terms molar and molecular and articulate a need for inclusion of analyses at the level of individual response bouts, reinforcers, and stimuli in the 1-30 s range and define an analysis at this level as a molecular analysis. Illustrations will show how experimental manipulations can affect behavior at that level. Additional illustrations will demonstrate how behavior transitions during automated shaping relate to local reinforcing events. Besides, the presentation will outline novel ways on examining local dynamics of bouts of behavior that last a few seconds. The presentation will introduce the concept and method of conditional data analysis, which emphasizes collecting and analyzing data conditional on local events antecedent to response emission. The overall emphasis of the tutorial will be empirical rather than theoretical. Molecular analyses have critical interpretative implications for well-established findings in existing literature.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Graduate students and professionals

Learning Objectives: 1: At the conclusion of the event, the participant will be able to understand how and why molecular analyses can demonstrate basic behavioral phenomena that cannot be demonstrated with molar analyses 2: At the conclusion of the event, the participant will be able to distinguish molecular from molar analyses of data
IVER H. IVERSEN (University of North Florida)
Dr. Iversen received his PhD in Experimental Psychology from University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1978). He is professor of experimental psychology at University of North Florida, Jacksonville, since 1986. His research has addressed basic mechanisms of operant behavior, primarily in non-human subjects. Examples are detailed analyses of effects of individual reinforcements in rats, intermittent reinforcement of stimulus control in rats, visual guidance of drawing in chimpanzees. Research has also involved operant conditioning of brainwaves in humans to enable communication in completely paralyzed ALS patients. He has served on the board of Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior for 5 3-year terms and currently serves on the boards of European Journal of Behavior Analysis and Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis. Dr. Iversen believes that strong methodology is necessary to advance science of behavior, and he has developed several automated methods to shape and control behavior as well as methods to analyze complex data from behavioral experiments. Together with Professor K. A. Lattal from University of West Virginia, Morgantown, Dr. Iversen edited a two-volume text on methodology in operant conditioning (1991). In addition, he has published several papers that document development of behavior control techniques and methods of data analysis.



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