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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #71
CE Offered: BACB

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Fortune.

Saturday, May 26, 2007
3:30 PM–4:20 PM
Douglas C
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Henry S. Pennypacker, Ph.D.
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
HENRY S. PENNYPACKER (University of Florida)
Dr. Henry S. Pennypacker, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Duke University in 1962. He is the author or co-author of six books, 21 book chapters, and over 60 scholarly publications, including the seminal Strategies and Tactics of Behavioral Research with James M. Johnston. The focus of Dr. Pennypacker’s career has been the development and dissemination of behavioral technologies that offer measurably superior benefits when compared to traditional practices. In particular, his work in the area of manual detection of breast cancer serves as an excellent example of behavior analysis providing a novel procedure that has been successfully transferred to medical practice around the world. From 1977 to 1981, he served as Principal Investigator on a National Cancer Institute grant that supported the basic research. In 1981, Dr. Pennypacker became President of the Mammatech Corporation, which has since managed the dissemination of MammaCare, the resulting technology. Dr. Pennypacker has also served as President of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis and the Association for Behavior Analysis. Since 2001, Dr. Pennypacker has been Chairman of the Board of the Cambridge Center for Behavior Studies.

In 1974, it occurred to us that if fingers could be taught to read Braille, they could be taught to detect breast lumps smaller than golf balls. For the next seven years, we conducted basic research that was a mixture of classical psychophysics and operant conditioning as we learned about the sensory system involved in pressure sensation and put that knowledge to use in building a more sensitive procedure for palpating breast tissue. In 1981, we formed the Mammatech Corporation for the purpose of disseminating the resulting technology with as little degradation as possible. The ensuing 25 years have taught us more than we really wanted to know about running a public company, interacting with large organizations like the American Cancer Society, and surviving in the hostile world of the medical marketplace. We have also learned that there is no substitute for precise measurement to maintain the integrity of any technology and that financial contingencies can be arranged to insure this outcome. Some highlights of this journey will be presented along with advice to budding behavioral entrepreneurs.




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