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 #235
CE Offered: BACB
Making Behavior Matter: Personal and Organizational Values From a Behavior Analytic Perspective
Sunday, May 28, 2017
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 5-7
Area: CBM/OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Victoria Summers (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Discussant: Joshua K. Pritchard (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Timothy M. Weil, Ph.D.

Arguably one of the most important applications of behavior analysis is its contribution to helping humans live more meaningfully and effectively under a variety of challenging conditions. For example, a focus on teaching humans to be free from aversive control, even when conditions are unpleasant or painful, has been adopted from clinical behavior analysis into much of mainstream psychological intervention. Thus, there is a growing emphasis on valuing and valued living as important repertoires in human well-being. This symposium will seek to review current thought and applications of behavior anlaysis to personal and organizational values. The first paper is a conceptual piece that will unpack a behavior analytic definition of values based in derived relational responding. The second paper will describe a study in which transformation of functions of stimuli associated with university values was observed in students. Clinical and conceptual implications of both papers will be discussed, followed by a general discussion.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Values

Unpacking Values From a Behavior Analytic Perspective and Finding the Value in Understanding for Practice

TIMOTHY M. WEIL (Tandem Behavioral Health & Wellness)

Verbal behavior has long been of interest to behavior analysis via Skinners taxonomy, rule governance, and more recently, derived stimulus relations. An interesting aspect of language is how incredibly pervasive this repertoire istruly, humans language near constantly, however behavior analysis has long held to the belief that languaging offers little more than connection to our external experience via labeling, requesting, recording, and extending. With the development of RFT and an understanding of the impact of derived stimulus relations, the focus on languaging as a behavioral event that may alter other behavioral events has improved our understanding of human behavior. In this, it is observed that verbal behavior may function both as appetitive and aversive stimulation. One area of particular interest is in the capacity of language to direct behavior sans experiencing direct contingencies as is seen in the area of Values. Values, as per an ACT account are verbally constructed consequences of ongoing and evolving patterns of activity that establish (verbal) reinforcers which are intrinsic to the behavior itself. Given the potential for both reinforcing and aversive functions to exist with those we work, it is imperative that behavior analysts come to better understand the motivative functions inherent in languaging. This paper will unpack languaging in the context of values and how a focus on relational responding may improve our ability to affect positive change with those we serve.


Transformation of Values Functions Through the Incorporation of Organizational With Personal Values

(Basic Research)
MADISON GAMBLE (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

The reasons university students report for committing to a college education vary widely among individuals, and often overlap only slightly with the purposes the university has established for itself. The three-component model of organizational commitment suggests an organization and its members will thrive when they engage their jobs in order to serve personal and organizational values simultaneously. Applied to universities, this suggests that students will be most successful when they are able to relate their own values and goals to the universitys mission. Relational frame theory offers a theory of how it is that 1) values can come to exert influence on behaviour, and 2) values functions can be transferred to events that were previously neutral or aversive. This paper will present data from a series of exploring the transfer of organizational values functions to arbitrary stimuli through hierarchical relational networks of arbitrary stimuli. The data support transfer of function in most subjects, and highlight several boundary conditions governing such transfer. Implications for values interventions with students will be discussed.




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