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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Invited Tutorial #402
CE Offered: BACB
Tutorial: Evo-Devo
Monday, May 26, 2008
1:30 PM–2:20 PM
International North
Area: DEV/TPC; Domain: Theory
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Peter Killeen, Ph.D.
Chair: Hayne W. Reese (West Virginia University)
Presenting Authors: : PETER KILLEEN (Arizona State University)

This SIG emphasizes environmental-unit behavior-unit interactions; recent progress in evolutionary developmental biology--evo-devoprovides potentially useful templates for refining the definition of such units, and broadening possibilities of the modes in which they interact. Among these concepts are heterochrony, variation by changes in temporal sequence, such as neoteny; the role of modularity in evolution; how modifications of developmental processes lead to the production of novel features; the role of developmental plasticity in evolution; how ecology impacts development and evolutionary change; and the developmental basis of homoplasy and homology. As a familiar example, a homology in biology is any similarity between characters that is due their shared ancestry; in functional analysis, great efforts are taken to identify the variables of which behavior is a function. Is it useful to treat those that are under the control of the same reinforcer as homologs, and those that merely share a similar topography as analogs? Is the ability of the homeobox to activate correlated sets of genes enlightening for the analysis of establishing stimuli? Do the various forms of paedomorphisis and peramorphosisthe juvenilezation/senescization of morphologyhave analogs in behavior? Does the efficiency of evolution, crafting endless forms most beautiful from a meager number of genes, suggest mechanisms for the blossoming of creative behavior in homo Sapiens? In this collaborative presentation, the evo-devo concepts will be explained and serve as stimuli; groups of the audience will be encouraged to respond with behavioral analogs of the biological processes, and evaluate their potential utility.

PETER KILLEEN (Arizona State University)
Prof. Peter Killeen was born to a mailman and housewife on the day the Alaska Highway was completed, his mother swearing hers was the greater labor. He took a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, which is not located in Ann Arbor, and left for Harvard. Distracted from the study of psychophysics and cognition by the bad behavior of the operant graduate students, he conjured data showing that the harmonic mean rate of reinforcement, not the arithmetic rate, controls choice. This was not understood by foraging theorists, but it was enough to get him from Fort Skinner to Fort Skinner in the Desert—called that because the other behaviorists deserted it soon after Killeen arrived. Arizona State University, where he behaved for subsequent decades, is not located in Tucson. At ASU Killeen met John Falk, causing him to study adjunctive behavior, Art Bachrach, causing him to study superstition, and Greg Fetterman, causing him to study time. An important influence was Bill Uttal, who, against all Killeen’s arguments, converted to behaviorism. Martha wanted Killeen to say something, and Jack thought Evo-Devo sounded better than Nugatory Null. Those are the variables of which this function is a function.



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