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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Special Event #9
Opening Event and Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis Awards
Saturday, May 26, 2012
11:30 AM–12:50 PM
6BC (Convention Center)
Chair: Michael J. Dougher (University of New Mexico)

Award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis: Maria E. Malott, Ph.D. (Association for Behavior Analysis International)


The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has been in existence for 39 years. In the last 20 years, the field has diversified its scientific undertakings and has experienced accelerated demand for behavior-analysis services across various domains, most notably autism treatment. ABAI has adjusted to these demands, while growing at a rapid rate: In the last 20 years, membership has grown from 2,412 to 6,411 (266%); registration at the annual convention, from 2,894 to 4,543 (157%); chapters, from 31 to 75 (245%); and special interest groups, from 20 to 34 (170%). While adjusting to external demands, ABAI has offered a variety of specialized events, increased the number of its publications, and offered diverse new services—all highly rated by our members. During this period, ABAI has also developed a solid infrastructure that grew from 2 to more than 20 regular employees and nearly 40 seasonal staff, developed an elaborate and effective technical and process infrastructure, and acquired its own headquarters. I will share an inside perspective on the major challenges we have faced and accomplishments we have achieved in ABAI’s recent evolution and also the opportunities that lie ahead for the association and the discipline.

Dr. Maria E. Malott is CEO of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), which she has administered since 1993. During this time and within a few short years, ABAI has risen from near-bankruptcy to become a financially stable, growing scientific and professional organization. Her past experience includes serving as Vice President of Manufacturing at a midwestern injection molding company and president and founder of Malott and Associates, through which for 14 years she consulted for advertising agencies, restaurants, retail and manufacturing companies, hotels, banks, governmental organizations, and nonprofit institutions. Her clients have included Meijer, Inc.; Kellogg’s; Pharmacia & Upjohn; General Motors Corporation; and others. Throughout her career, Dr. Malott has combined the analysis of metacontigencies and behavioral contingencies in managing complex systems and, in the process, has taught dozens of corporate executives to appreciate the power of organizational behavior management technology. Dr. Malott has presented nearly 200 papers, taught 34 workshops, and lectured in 37 universities in 18 countries, and is an affiliated faculty in three universities. She has served on four editorial boards and is the author of the book Paradox of Organizational Change, published in Spanish and English and co-author of Elementary Principles of Behavior  2e. She is a Fellow of ABAI and was the recipient of the 2003 Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the 2004 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Organizational Behavior Management, from the Organizational Behavior Management Network, and the 2002 Outstanding Alumni Award from the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University.

Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis: Andy Bondy, Ph.D. (Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc. )


The first conference presentations about the Picture Exchange Communication System--PECS--were presented in the late 1980s. The first publication about PECS described its initial use in a behaviorally oriented program in Peru. Since that time, hundreds of thousands people have attended workshops on PECS and the Pyramid Approach to Education around the world. The effective implementation of PECS requires the application of many strategies developed within the area of broad spectrum behavior analysis. The popularity of PECS has helped attract large numbers of professionals (and family members) outside of the field of behavior analysis and has offered them a functional perspective on language development and a host of teaching issues. Citations of key research and review articles support its appeal. The PECS Manual has a circulation of over 300,000 copies in ten languages supported by Pyramid consultant teams in a dozen countries. Workshops, consultation and products developed by Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc. have introduced the relevance of not only focusing on observable behavior but also on the issue of behavior under what conditions. In this way, the strategies required to teach functional communication has been promoted as not only relevant to picture-based systems but to all communication modalities, and indeed, to all types of lessons.

ANDY BONDY (Pyramid Educational Consultants)
Andy Bondy, Ph.D., has over 40 years experience working with children and adults with autism and related developmental disabilities. For more than a dozen years he served as the Director of a statewide public school program for students with autism. He and his wife, Lori Frost, pioneered the development of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). He designed the Pyramid Approach to Education as a comprehensive combination of broad-spectrum behavior analysis and functional communication strategies. He is a co-founder of Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc., an internationally based team of specialists from many fields working together to promote integration of the principles of applied behavior analysis within functional activities and an emphasis on developing functional communication skills. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Award for Scientific Translation: Charles Fergus Lowe, Ph.D. and Pauline Horne, Ph.D. (Bangor University)


Behavior analysis could be much more successful than it has been in dealing with many of the most pressing issues that beset contemporary society. Governments across the globe are now seeking behavior change solutions to prevent costly health, social, financial, and environmental problems. This presents great opportunities for behavior analysts to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills to change society for the better. Our research can be seen as an attempt to do just that. We chose the biggest public health problem of our time—obesity—and set about devising an intervention that incorporated a range of behavioral principles. The resultant program is known as the Food Dudes, and it has been uniquely successful in bringing about large and long-lasting changes in the eating habits of 2–11-year-olds and their parents. It has been adopted by the Irish government for all primary schools, and more than 300,000 children and their families have participated so far. It is now being rolled out to regions in England, initially to 50,000 children. Successful pilots have also been conducted in the USA and Italy. Recognition has come from various quarters, including the World Health Organization, which gave us an award for combating obesity; we also recently won the Chief Medical Officer’s Gold Medal Award in the UK.

CHARLES FERGUS LOWE (Bangor University), PAULINE HORNE (Bangor University)
A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, Fergus Lowe is Professor of Psychology at Bangor University, Wales. His early research was concerned with temporal control of responding on schedules of reinforcement, and later focussed on inter-species similarities and differences and, in particular, the transformative role of verbal behavior. This led in turn to research on the development of operant behavior in children and studies of adult human behavior in clinical and non-clinical populations. With Dr Pauline Horne, he has produced a new theoretical account of early language development, specifically 'naming', and its role in bringing about apparently emergent relations. In recent years he has developed, with Dr Horne, a programme that is very effective in bringing about large and long-lasting changes in children's diets.  This award-winning programme, The Food Dudes, is being introduced to all primary schools nationally by the Irish Government, to regions of the UK, and is attracting interest in several other countries. Professor Lowe led the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group in the UK for many years. As one passionate about the advancement of behavior analysis in Europe, he helped to initiate the first European-wide meetings of behavior analysts and was the first Chair of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis.
Her research in the areas of children’s learning and the psychology of food choice is published in leading international journals and books.  With her colleague, Professor Fergus Lowe, she has developed an intervention – known as The Food Dudes - that brings about large scale and long lasting increases in children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables.  Its success in combating obesity has been recognised by awards from the World Health Organisation and the Caroline Walker Trust.  The Programme is currently being introduced into all primary schools in Ireland and selected regions of England.  It is also being piloted in a number of other countries.

Award for Enduring Programmatic Contributions to Behavior Analysis: University of North Texas Department of Behavior Analysis


The Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas has established a long tradition of leadership in teaching, service, and scholarship of behavior analysis. Its forerunner, the Center for Behavioral Studies, began in 1971 offering practicum training for UNT students through its Autism Treatment Center, its Behavior Contracting Service and its Behavior Exchange Clinic. It morphed into the Center for Behavior Analysis in 1983 when courses in behavior analysis were first introduced on the UNT campus. In 1993, it became the nation’s first stand-alone Department of Behavior Analysis, thereby initiating a long line of firsts: the first graduate program accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis, the first undergraduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, and the first online program to provide coursework required for professionals seeking certification by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. Along with these “firsts,” the department has enjoyed a longstanding reputation for excellence for its work in autism and related disabilities, basic human operant research, behavior and cultural analysis, applied behavior analysis with animals, and more. The department’s stellar Master of Science program has attracted students from all across the United States as well as the U.K., Iceland, Norway, Japan, Colombia, and Brazil, to name a few. Accreditation reviews of the program have deemed it to be “rigorous and broad, focusing equally on basic and applied aspects of behavior analysis”, and have concluded that “ students who complete this program have experienced a course of study more like one might expect in a doctoral program than in a master’s level program.” The faculty has been described as “world class” and its research and service efforts as “cutting edge.” Above all, the department values community, with professors who genuinely care about their students and the people (and nonhuman animals!) they serve, as well as doing all we can to promote the viability of our discipline and sustainability of our culture. We work hard, have fun, and try to do good, and we hope to continue to build on our history of enduring contributions to behavior analysis – as well as the larger culture – for a long, long time.

RICHARD G. SMITH (University of North Texas), SIGRID S. GLENN (University of North Texas)



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