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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Symposium #233
Innovative Methods for Teaching Behavior Analysis to University Students
Sunday, May 25, 2008
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Laura L. Grow (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: This symposium will present recent research and conceptual material related to the teaching of behavior analysis in university settings. In the first study, Stephanie da Silva will discuss the use of Siamese fighting fish as a practical and effective alternative to rats or simulated rats in the laboratory component of a Psychology of Learning course. In the second study, Candice Jostad will present data demonstrating the effectiveness of a portable job-aid for improving the visual inspection skills of undergraduate students. In the third study, Marcie Desrochers will evaluate the effects of order of difficulty of client cases with the Simulations in Developmental Disabilities software on students’ decision-making skills when learning a functional assessment and treatment approach. In the final study, Mickey Keenan and Stephen Gallagher will demonstrate multimedia tools for enhancing the classroom teaching of behavior analysis.
Using Siamese Fighting Fish in the Laboratory Component of a Learning Course.
STEPHANIE P. DA SILVA (Columbus State University)
Abstract: This paper describes the use of Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) in the laboratory component of a Psychology of Learning course. Assignments addressing fixed action patterns, respondent conditioning and operant conditioning are reviewed. Student feedback and performance are used as measures of satisfaction and effectiveness of these assignments. Overall, using a live colony of fish is a practical and effective alternative to the use of live rats or computer-simulated rats in Learning courses. Advantages and disadvantages of using these fish, as well as suggestions for developing a new fish lab, are discussed.
Improving the Visual Inspection Skills of College Students with a Portable Job-Aid.
CANDICE M. JOSTAD (Western Michigan University), James E. Carr (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Visual inspection is the primary method of data analysis used in behavior analysis. Thus, it is important that members of our field have the skills necessary for accurate visual inspection. Research has shown that visual inspection is unreliable (e.g., DeProspero & Cohen, 1979), which has broad implications for the evaluation of treatment effects using this method. Traditional lectures have been shown to be ineffective in teaching visual inspection skills to a satisfactory level (e.g., Stewart, Carr, Brandt, & McHenry, in press). Improvements in visual inspection have been accomplished using statistical methods and aids such as lines superimposed on graphs (e.g., Fisher, Kelley, & Lomas, 2003; Stewart et al., in press). However, these methods are not effective when the aids are removed, and the aids typically are unavailable when inspectors evaluate graphs in the natural setting (e.g., when reading journal articles). The current study evaluated the effects of a portable job aid on the visual inspection of graphs by college students.
The Effects of Order of Difficulty of Client Cases on Acquisition of Functional Assessment Decision-Making Skills.
MARCIE DESROCHERS (State University of New York, Brockport), Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Salem State University)
Abstract: Presentation of multiple stimulus examples is important for acquiring a new skill. When learning the complex clinical decision-making skills involved with conducting a functional assessment approach, how should order of difficulty of cases be sequenced? Should easy, less complex, cases be presented first, or last, in a series of training cases? We will experimentally compare the effects of order of difficulty of client cases on students’ decision-making skills while learning a functional assessment approach to treat clients’ problem behavior. A functional assessment method will be taught by presenting students with five clinical cases embedded in the “Simulations in Developmental Disabilities” software. The assessment and treatment selections made by undergraduate students enrolled in applied behavior analysis courses will be analyzed and presented.
Training Students in Applied Behaviour Analysis through Multimedia Presentations.
STEPHEN GALLAGHER (University of Ulster), Michael Keenan (University of Ulster), Karola Dillenburger (The Queen's University)
Abstract: Given the wide scope and complexity of the field of applied behaviour analysis it is vital that undergraduate and graduate students are given an engaging overview of the field in order to increase and maintain the numbers taking University level courses. A key aspect of this endeavour is to ensure that, as teachers, we are mindful of the limitations of the traditional printed word. In this presentation we will showcase examples of how behaviour analysis can be brought to life in a way that goes beyond what is possible with standard textbooks. Using video and animations we will show how to communicate complex concepts in a way that is both accessible and scientifically accurate.



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