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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #149
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
A Primer of Conceptual Issues for Applied Behavior Analysts
Sunday, May 25, 2014
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
W178a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: TPC/PRA; Domain: Theory
PSY/BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Kennon Andy Lattal, Ph.D.
Chair: Marleen T. Adema (Senior TPC co-coordinator)
Presenting Authors: : KENNON ANDY LATTAL (West Virginia University)

Consider the activities during a typical day in the life of an applied behavior analyst: observing clients’ behavior, integrating those observations to develop a plan for treatment, implementing and assessing the treatment plan, explaining the client’s behavior and the treatment plan to those responsible for the clients’ well-being, confronting complicated issues related to the causes of behavior and its explanation, discussing with nonbehavior analysts the client as the agent of his or her own behavior and the client’s thoughts and intentions, and confronting a myriad of ethical issues that arise in the course of treatment. Many of these daily activities require a firm grounding in the science of behavior. Others require an equally firm grounding in the philosophy of that science, in issues that underpin the science of behavior and that rely on that science to provide a coherent framework for processes that do not lend themselves to experimental analysis. This tutorial introduces to practitioners some of the conceptual issues that they face in their interactions with clients and caregivers. Four broad issues will be considered: observations and their integration; cause and explanation; privacy; agency and intention; and responsibility and ethics.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Graduate students and master’s level practitioners of behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event, participants should be able to (1) Explain a radical behavioral perspective of science and its practice; (2) Identify the issues that distinguish a behavioral approach to the understanding of the scientific practices of observation and establishing cause; and (3) Describe a behavior-analytic position on agency, intention, and privacy.
KENNON ANDY LATTAL (West Virginia University)
Andy Lattal is the centennial professor of psychology at West Virginia University, where he has taught since 1972. He is the author of more than 150 research articles and chapters on a variety of topics in several areas of behavior analysis. He also is curator of the Behavioral Apparatus Virtual Museum ( Most germane to today's tutorial, Dr. Lattal has served as guest editor of a special issue of the American Psychologist commemorating the professional life of B. F. Skinner and, with Philip Chase, edited a volume entitled Behavior Theory and Philosophy, and has authored chapters and articles on several conceptual topics. A former editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (1999-2003) and president of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (1993-94), he was the 2012 recipient of the Society for Behavior Analysis' Award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis. During the 2012-13 academic year, he was a Fulbright Research Scholar at Universite Charles de Gaulle in Lille, France.
Keyword(s): ABA Practitioners, Cause/explanation, Conceptual Issues, Ethics



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