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

Previous Page


Symposium #345
CE Offered: BACB
International Symposium - Recent Theoretical Developments and Empirical Findings from Beyond the Borders of Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 26, 2008
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Area: EAB/TPC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Jon Gretar Sigurjonsson (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Discussant: Mark Galizio (University of North Carolina, Wilmington)
CE Instructor: Denis P. O'Hora, Ph.D.

These three papers review theory and findings in the analysis of complex cognitive phenomena from other psychological disciplines. The first paper in this symposium reports recent findings in mainstream language research on the development of language in young children. It is hoped that this will contribute to early intervention research. The second paper reviews novel experimental manipulations in neuroscience that offer the opportunity for behavioural control beneath the skin. The third paper review work in the area of concept formation and categorization from both cognitive and behavioural traditions in order to highlight new questions for the experimental analysis of complex human behaviour.

Lessons from Psycholinguistics: Current Trends and Findings from Mainstream Psychologies of Language.
DENIS P. O'HORA (National University of Ireland, Galway), Richard Dale (University of Memphis)
Abstract: Sidman (1960; Tactics of scientific research: Evaluating experimental data in psychology) observed that “good data are notoriously fickle. They change their allegiance from theory to theory, and even maintain their importance in the presence of no theory at all.” In light of this, we review findings from mainstream literature on language acquisition. Many behavior analysts work in situations where they are seeking to establish language behaviors and yet are often unaware of current findings in the more mainstream psychologies of language . Previous work by Dale (2005; Cognitive and behavioral approaches to language acquisition: Conceptual and empirical intersections. Behavior Analyst Today, 5, 336-359) provides a starting point for the current paper, which will review findings on language-relevant behaviors in children from the newborn to late childhood. In so doing, we seek to contribute to the refinement of language-training curricula and the development of new avenues in experimental language research.
Manipulating Biological Variables: Some Noteworthy Advances in Cognitive Neuroscience.
JON GRETAR SIGURJONSSON (National University of Ireland, Galway), Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway), Geraldine Leader (National University of Ireland), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Traditionally, neuroscientific explanations of complex human behavior (e.g., problem solving) have depended cognitive concepts with dualistic foundations. Consequently, there were few attempts to manipulate the biological variables that were suggested to account for such behaviors.. This emphasis is rapidly changing, however, as cognitive neuroscience matures from arm chair speculation to an applied discipline in its own regard. Technologies that allow researchers to systematically manipulate and change participants’ brain activity are now available and cognitive researchers have shown increases in subjects’ performance on various cognitive tasks when such biological variables are manipulated. The current paper reviews these trends in cognitive neuroscience and recent findings in this area. We suggest that these new findings provide new avenues for behavior analytic research of complex human behavior.
Concept Acquisition, Categorisation and Stimulus Equivalence: A Review of Current Cognitive and Behaviour Analytical Literature, with Implications for Future Research.
BRIAN WILLIAM SLATTERY (National University of Ireland, Galway), Ian T. Stewart (National University of Ireland, Galway), Denis P. O'Hora (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: Much research has accumulated on the topics of concept formation and categorisation. Early investigations into such higher order functioning were predominantly cognitive in nature. Piaget observed the different developmental stages of increasingly complex conceptual thought. This was followed in turn by experiments into conditions of concept formation and descriptive models concerning the nature of category membership. Behaviour analytic accounts, in contrast, define categories in terms of shared stimulus functions and recent work from this tradition identifies categorisation as an example of stimulus equivalence. One approach to explaining stimulus equivalence, relational frame theory (RFT) can potentially provide the tools for a more comprehensive explanation of categorisation. In particular, the involvement of hierarchical relational frames has been suggested, but much empirical research is required to confirm such postulations. The current paper reviews the trends outlined above and proposes directions for future investigation in categorisation from an RFT perspective.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh