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.


39th Annual Convention; Minneapolis, MN; 2013

Event Details

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Special Event #387a
CE Offered: BACB
ABAI Presidential Address: "The Avoidance Paradox"
Monday, May 27, 2013
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Main Auditorium (Convention Center)
Chair: Kurt Salzinger (Hofstra University)
CE Instructor: Kurt Salzinger, Ph.D.

ABAI Presidential Address: "The Avoidance Paradox"


Successful avoidance behavior poses a puzzle known as the “avoidance paradox.” Consider the paradigm case of a rat pressing a lever to postpone electric shocks on a free-operant schedule. At steady-state when responding is proficient, there is no apparent aversive stimulus in the environment before the rat presses the lever, and there is no apparent change in the environment after the rat presses the lever. What reinforces the response? Motivated by this question, studies of avoidance and related phenomena have created a rich source of information about situations in which the factors controlling behavior are obscure—for example, when the consequences of behavior are delayed, or distributed diffusely in time, or cumulative.The presidentwill review recent findings that illustrate how experiments on avoidance, and aversive control more generally, contribute to the analysis of situations in which the controlling factors are elusive. These are the very situations that behavior analysts must understand if we are to help prevent diseases of lifestyle (e.g., obesity, heart disease, cancer) and promote healthy behavior (e.g., exercise and proper nutrition).

MICHAEL PERONE (West Virginia University)
Dr. Michael Perone is a professor in the Department of Psychology at West Virginia University. He has made substantial contributions to behavior analysis through his research, service, administration, and teaching. He is well known for his programmatic research on conditioned reinforcement, avoidance, and transitions from rich to lean schedules of reinforcement, and more generally for the elegance and ingenuity of his experimental methodology. He has secured support from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Science Foundation for much of his research. His investigations with animals and extensions of basic mechanisms to humans serve as a prototype for research translation. Dr. Perone's accomplishments in administration, service to the discipline, and teaching are similarly noteworthy. Dr. Perone served for 12 years as chair of the West Virginia University Department of Psychology, one of the foremost programs in behavior analysis. He has served as president of the Association of Behavior Analysis International, the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and the Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis. He has been appointed to key editorial positions for major journals in behavior analysis, represented behavior analysis on the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, and served on numerous committees. In each of those roles, his skill and humor have been instrumental in bringing a charge to effective completion. Dr. Perone has received numerous awards for his teaching and mentoring, which, along with the successes of his former students, are testaments to his effectiveness in that arena as well.



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