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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Paper Session #185
Social Policy, Mass Media and Human Rights
Sunday, May 25, 2008
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: CSE
Chair: Stephen E. Wong (Florida International University)
Smoking Cessation Programs in Community Settings: Consequences of Human Rights Concerns vs Research Findings.
Domain: Applied Research
FELICIA PATTON (Behavioral and Counseling Services, LLC ), Michael E. Rohr (Behavioral and Counseling Services, LLC), Zachary P. Shoemaker (Behavioral and Counseling Services, LLC)
Abstract: Research in effective smoking cessation interventions for community-based adults with developmental disabilities has been relatively limited. In our recent research, we encountered some procedures that were implemented within community-based agencies that showed a decrease in cigarette consumption. Although these procedures were not part of any formal behavioral programming, the results did show an overall decrease in cigarette consumption and had little impact on staff resources. Subsequently, formal behavioral services were initiated in order to further foster a decrease in cigarette consumption. The involvement of such services revealed significant Circle of Support (COS) concerns unrelated to the health of the developmentally disabled adults. The present research illustrates how best practice in community settings can often be led astray by decisions made by non-clinicians. Said decisions appear to be more concerned with minimizing irrational human rights violations and problematic behaviors than with the individual’s health.
Antecedent Control, Complex Human Behavior, and Social Issues.
Domain: Applied Research
STEPHEN E. WONG (Florida International University)
Abstract: Skinner’s analysis of rule-governed behavior, research showing instructions overriding schedule control, stimulus equivalence research, and relational frame theory are all fields of behavior analysis that highlight the antecedent control of complex human behavior. Antecedent stimuli have been utilized in a few applied behavior analysis studies to increase safety, recycling, energy conservation, and to deter crime. More complex instructions and self-instructions have been successfully applied with clinical problems, such as anxiety and depressive disorders, in the recently developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. However, relatively little attention has been given to the effect of antecedent stimuli transmitted through mass media, such as television, on wide-scale social behavior such as consumer purchases, health practices, and political affiliation. This presentation will discuss the importance of antecedent control in analyzing and influencing these and other major societal issues.
Acting to Save the World: Social Policy and the Behavioral Scientist.
Domain: Applied Research
ROBIN RUMPH (Stephen F. Austin State University), Chris Ninness (Stephen F. Austin State University), Glen L. McCuller (Stephen F. Austin State University), James Holland (Stephen F. Austin State University), Marilyn Rumph (Bryant Middle School)
Abstract: Skinner (1987) asked, “Why are we not acting to save the world?” Skinner discussed the role of the scientist and described them as the uncommitted. The uncommitted are those who are uncommitted to any particular government, political body, religion or enterprise. Familiar with facts of their science their views would not be distorted by commitment to the well-being of their particular government, political body, religion, or enterprise to the detriment of or in opposition to other governments, political bodies, religions, or enterprises. Skinner (1987) took a pessimistic view of the uncommitted to act in ways to affect social policy. Rumph, Ninness, McCuller, and Ninness (2005) took a more hopeful view. The current paper examines the role of the scientist, particularly the behavioral scientist, in affecting social policy. The authors discuss issues of policy advocacy, influencing governments directly; influencing governments indirectly by influencing the public and the role behavioral scientists should play in each to remain uncommitted.



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