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

Previous Page


Invited Paper Session #15
CE Offered: BACB

Birds ofa Feather: Applied Behavior Analysis and Quality Of Life

Saturday, May 26, 2012
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
303/304 (TCC)
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Eileen Gambrill, Ph.D.
Chair: Ronnie Detrich (Wing Institute)
EILEEN GAMBRILL (University of California, Berkeley)
Eileen Gambrill is the Hutto Patterson Professor of Child and Family Studies at the School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley where she teaches both research and practice. Her research interests include professional decision-making; evidence-informed practice and the role of critical thinking within this; propaganda in the helping professions and its effects; and the ethics of helping. Recent publications include Propaganda in the helping professions (2012), Oxford; Critical thinking in clinical practice: Improving the quality of judgements and decisions (3rd Ed.) (2012); John Wiley & Sons; and Critical thinking for helping professionals: A skills-based workbook (with Len Gibbs) (3rd Ed.) (2009), Oxford.

Applied behavior analysts have been helping people to enhance the quality of their lives for decades. Its very characteristics as described by Baer, Wolf and Risley in 1968 continue to guide efforts to help clients and their significant others. Yet this knowledge often languishes unused and unappreciated. Distortions and misrepresentations of applied behavior analysis and radical behaviorism abound. Applied behavior analysis is deeply contextual and deeply concerned with social validity—with the views of clients and significant others in terms of what matters. These very characteristics make it radical in terms of shedding light on dysfunctional contingencies that some may wish to remain hidden. But given that ABA and quality of life are birds of a feather, we must become more adept at highlighting this close relationship. An agenda for accomplishing this is suggested. This agenda includes drawing on technologies such as the Internet including interactive opportunities to highlight avoidable ignorance and related harms and missed opportunities to help clients to enhance the quality of their lives. Related research in the areas of critical thinking, evidence-informed practice and social persuasion is drawn on in designing this agenda.

Keyword(s): critical thinking, evidence-informed, social persuasion



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh