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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #436
On Using Modern Technology Along the Basic and Applied Research Continuum: Why and How Technology Can Be Used in Your Research
Monday, May 29, 2017
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2B
Area: PRA/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Brent Kaplan (The University of Kansas)
Discussant: David J. Cox (University of Florida)

Behavior analysts who work along the continuum between basic and applied research may benefit from using modern technologies specifically designed to complement their research efforts. Modern technologies include software, hardware, and the integration of the two. Depending on the technology, there may be barriers to adoption including the time, effort, and monetary resources needed to devote to utilization. However, a number of existing technologies leverage the "open-source" framework. Speakers will discuss a range of technologies (software and hardware) that they have used in their own research and how other researchers can readily access and adopt these technologies. Additionally, speakers will discuss their experiences in overcoming common barriers to utilization and provide resources for others. Examples from the basic (e.g., cost-effective technologies to experimentally evaluate behaviors in the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach), translational (e.g., integrating R statistical software for human operant data), and applied (e.g., leveraging technologies in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorders, communication disorders, and health behaviors) research sectors will be highlighted. Finally, the speakers will provide recommendations related to how researchers can access these resources and implement them into their existing workflows.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): computer technology, hardware, open source, programming
On the Use of Leveraging Open-Source Software for a More Efficient Research Workflow
(Applied Research)
BRENT KAPLAN (The University of Kansas), Mikhail Koffarnus (Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute)
Abstract: No two areas of research are the same. The same is true for a researcher's workflow. However, commonalities do exist. Generally, a research idea is generated, a protocol is created, and the study is conducted. Study data are analyzed and results are disseminated. At each step of the way, open-source software can make this process more efficient and transparent. Special attention will be paid to cross-platform technologies. Aspects of the talk will include (1) using "version control" management to keep a history and accountability of changes, (2) maintaining correspondence and writing reports using the flexibility of "dynamic documents", and (3) utilizing R statistical software and user created "packages". While any of these technologies can be used in isolation, workflow efficiency is increased when these technologies are integrated together. In addition to describing these technologies and providing useful resources for potential adoption, this talk will demonstrate the use of these technologies by presenting preliminary data from a recent experiment examining behavioral economic demand of cigarettes under various unit price manipulations.
From "Low-Tech" to "High-Tech": Accessibility and Integration of Open-Source Technologies for Clinicians and Researchers
(Applied Research)
SHAWN PATRICK GILROY (National University of Ireland)
Abstract: Behavior analysts have increasing access to advanced touchscreen technology. There has been an increasing trend of many behavior analysts adopting “high-tech” alternatives to traditional, “low-tech” practices. Clinical researchers in this area have since developed customizable, cross-platform applications designed for use with a range of consumers and a range of mobile platforms. The availability of cross-platform, open-sourced software offers new opportunities for both applied research and practice. For researchers, open-sourced methods permit unparalleled levels of customizability and replicability. For clinicians, open-sourced software allows for cost-effective options that are easily facilitated in resource-strained settings. This talk will discuss the roles of behavior analysts in the design and evaluation of “high-tech” practice as well as provide an overview of open-source offerings for clinicians and researchers. This talk will demonstrate how to locate, build, and deploy open-sourced software, as well as discuss the unique barriers to mobile development and the evaluation of mobile technology in behavior analytic research.
Health Behavior Research Using Portable Behavior Monitors
(Applied Research)
TRITON ONG (University of Florida)
Abstract: The vast majority of health behavior happens outside of hospitals and clinics. Systems for automatically measuring health-related behavior can help extend behavior analytic services to underserved populations and expand the scope of research into aspects of everyday life. As the variety of consumer-grade devices for health tracking continues to grow, the decision of which device to use can become overwhelming and prohibitively expensive. This talk will review several advantages and disadvantages of conducting research with internet-connected devices and features to prioritize when considering physical activity monitors. In addition, this talk will highlight past research and discuss how portable behavior monitors can be used to address a variety of research questions.
Cost-Effective Technologies in the Basic Lab: Experimental Evaluations Using the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa)
(Basic Research)
DANIEL GRISHAM (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Traditional vertebrate operant laboratories have been decreasingly incorporated into graduate training programs in behavior analysis over the past two decades. Invertebrate research in behavior analysis offers a cost-effective alternative to vertebrate species in basic laboratory settings, due to the minimal resources required for the care an maintenance of the animals, as well as the design and development of apparatus for operant research. We will discuss the development of two technologies from our lab that have been used to evaluate the operant and escape behavior of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa. The operant apparatus was designed to deliver food through an automated pump mechanism triggered by a motion sensor, and data collection software was developed by our lab to allow for programmable schedules of reinforcement and data collection. The escape apparatus contained a shock grid connected directly to a low cost electrical stimulation device with customizable shock delivery. The total cost of each apparatus did not exceed $150.00 USD, substantially reducing the cost of basic operant research. In addition, we will discuss how these apparatuses have been used in research and class instruction.



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