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 Panel #248
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior and Social Issues: Behavior Analysis, Biological Psychiatry, and the Treatment of Severe Behavior Disorders
Sunday, May 27, 2007
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Douglas C
Area: CSE/CBM; Domain: Theory
Chair: Richard F. Rakos (Cleveland State University)
CE Instructor: Richard W. Malott, M.A.
Panelists: RICHARD W. MALOTT (Western Michigan University), MARK A. MATTAINI (Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois, Chicago), KURT SALZINGER (Hofstra University), STEPHEN E. WONG (Florida International University)

Behavior analysis, once a promising and widely used approach in the understanding and treatment of severe behavior disorders, has been obscured by the rise of biological psychiatry and its biomedical model of mental illness that prioritizes psychotropic drugs as the treatment of choice. The current hegemony of biological psychiatry stems less from reliable empirical data and much more from ideological, political, economic, and disciplinary sources of social and fiscal control. The panelists will discuss this thesis, analyze the ramifications of it, and offer suggestions for increasing the visibility and impact of behavior analysis in the social response to severe behavior disorders. The panelists are drawn from the contributors to a forthcoming issue of Behavior and Social Issues devoted to a discussion of the relative obscurity of behavior analysis in the treatment of severe behavior disorders.

RICHARD W. MALOTT (Western Michigan University)
Dr. Richard W. Malott received his B.A. in Psychology at Indiana University in 1958 where he was privileged to study with James Dinsmoor. He received his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1963 where he had the additional privilege of studying with William Cumming, W. N. Schoenfeld, and Fred S. Keller. And, like many before and after him, he frittered away a few years of his life doing research on schedules of reinforcement. He taught with the Kantorians at Denison University from 1963 to 1966. In 1966, he helped start the behavior-analysis program at Western Michigan University, where he continues to teach. At WMU, he also helped start an intro psych course that taught behavior analysis to 1,000 students per semester, with the aid of 500 lab rats and 100 Skinner boxes (1,000 lever-pressing rats per year). Now, his students only condition 230 rats per year, but they also do 130 self-management projects and provide 13,500 hours of training to autistic children each year. Malott and his students have packaged their teaching/learning efforts in educational systems known as the Student-Centered Education Project (aka The First Fly-by-night Underground College of Kalamazoo), the Behavioral Social Action Program, and the Behavior Analysis Training System. Currently, every summer, he teaches the Behavioral Boot Camp, an intense 18-hour-per-week, 7.5 week, graduate-level, behavior-analysis seminar. He has been actively involved in teaching African-American students and international students behavior analysis and behavior systems analysis at the graduate level. He and his students developed and run the Behavioral Research Supervisory System, a performance-management system to help 30 B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. students per year complete their projects, theses, and dissertations with high quality and in a timely manner. In addition, he and his students developed and run the Behavioral Academic and Career Counseling service, a behavioral-systems approach to helping 100 students per year get into behavior-analytic graduate programs and get behavior-analytic jobs. Malott helped start Behaviordelia (a publisher of behavioral comic books, etc,), the Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA), ABA’s Teaching Behavior Analysis Special Interest Group, ABA’s Education Board, ABA’s Behavioral Follies (previously known as the Behavioral Performing Arts), the ABA Social (previously known as the Behavioral Boogie), the Behavioral Bulletin Board on CompuServe, and the Notes from a Radical Behaviorist bulletin board in the Cambridge Center’s Behavioral Virtual Community ( He wrote the newsletter and column Notes from a Radical Behaviorist and coauthored Principles of Behavior (the book previously known as Elementary Principles of Behavior.) He is now (and has been for many years) working on I’ll Stop Procrastinating when I Get around to It and Applied Behavioral Cognitive Analysis. He has presented in 13 countries and has received two Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards. Over the years, he has also worked extensively with multi-media presentations, from seven-projector slide shows to contemporary PowerPoint presentations, but always with jazz and rock and roll lurking in the background and art and behavior analysis sharing the foreground.
MARK A. MATTAINI (Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois, Chicago)
Dr. Mark A. Mattaini (M.S.W., University of Utah; D.S.W., Columbia University) is Associate Professor, Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, where he chairs the Community Health and Urban Development concentration and the human behavior division. He has also been on faculty at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Mattaini is Editor of Behavior and Social Issues; author or co-editor of 10 books, including Finding Solutions to Social Problems: Behavioral Strategies for Change (with Bruce Thyer), Clinical Practice with Individuals, Clinical Intervention with Families, and Peace Power for Adolescents: Strategies for a Culture of Nonviolence; and author of over 75 other publications. He trained with Richard Stuart at the University of Utah in the 1970s, and earlier in his career worked in residential treatment, youth development, substance abuse, autism, and mental health settings. Dr. Mattaini was previously Director of Mental Health Programs for Tanana Chiefs Conference in Interior Alaska, and has particular expertise in the area of mental health treatment and community-level prevention work with indigenous populations. Currently, his research focuses primarily on violence prevention (in particular, the cultural analytic PEACE POWER strategy:, and elaborating the cultural analytic science underlying nonviolent social action.
KURT SALZINGER (Hofstra University)
Dr. Kurt Salzinger has been Senior Scholar in Residence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. since January 2003. He was Executive Director for Science at the American Psychological Association from 2001 to 2003. He has been President of the New York Academy of Sciences, has served on the Board of Directors of the APA, and has been president of Divisions 1 (General Psychology) and 25 (Behavior Analysis) and of the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. He also served on the Board of the Cambridge Center as the first Chairman of the Board from 1986 to 1988 and as a Board member from 1988 to 1991, then from 2004 to the present. He is author or editor of 12 books and over 120 articles and book chapters. The most recent book was edited by Rieber, R. W., and Salzinger in 1998: Psychology: Theoretical-Historical Perspectives. He has varied research interests, including behavior analysis applied to human beings, dogs, rats, and goldfish; schizophrenia; verbal behavior of children and adults; and history of psychology. He has both given grants (when a program officer at the National Science Foundation) and received them (when professor of psychology at Hofstra University and Polytechnic University of New York and Principal Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute) for his own research. He received the Sustained Superior Performance Award from the National Science Foundation, the Stratton Award from the American Psychopathological Association, and the Most Meritorious Article Award from the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. In 2002, he was Presidential Scholar for the Association for Behavior Analysis. Kurt probably has contributed tremendously by bringing behavior analysis to national and international attention as well as to that of the broader scientific community.
STEPHEN E. WONG (Florida International University)
Dr. Stephen E. Wong Dr. Stephen E. Wong received his Ph.D. in psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis) from Western Michigan University. His early professional experience included positions as Research Associate with the Department of Psychiatry, University of California at Los Angeles, and program director and researcher in psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment centers in New Mexico, Florida, and Texas. In 1994, Dr. Wong returned to academia and took an appointment as Assistant Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He is currently employed as Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Dr. Wong has conducted numerous studies in applied behavior analysis teaching interpersonal and independent living skills to persons with severe and persistent mental disorders. He has served on many editorial boards including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Research on Social Work Practice, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, and Behavior and Social Issues, and he is currently on the governing board of Behavior Analyst Online. Dr. Wong has published widely in psychology, psychiatry, and social work journals and books. Some recent works are: Wong, S. E. (2006). Behavior analysis of psychotic disorders: Scientific dead end or casualty of the mental health political economy? Behavior and Social Issues, 15(2), 152-177.; Wilder, D. A., & Wong, S. E. (in press). Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. In P. Sturmey (Ed.), The handbook of functional analysis and clinical psychology. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.; Wong, S. E. (in press). Operant learning., and Pelaez, M., Gewitz, J. L., & Wong, S. E. (in press). A critique of stage theories of human development : A pragmatic approach in social work. The last two chapters both in B. A. Thyer (Ed.), Comprehensive handbook of social work and social welfare, volume 2: Human behavior in the social environment. New York: John Wiley and Sons.



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