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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W38
CE Offered: BACB/PSY/QABA — 
Extending Behavior Analysis in Zoos and Aquariums
Friday, May 26, 2017
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
Denver Zoo
Area: AAB/TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam, Ph.D.
LINDSAY RENEE MEHRKAM (Monmouth University), NICOLE R. DOREY (University of Florida), Emily Insalaco (Denver Zoo)
Description: Note: This 6-hour workshop will take place entirely at the Denver Zoo. Today’s accredited zoos and aquariums are held to high standards of animal welfare. This involves assessment, implementation, and evaluation of current animal husbandry practices across a wide range of species - a task for which behavior analysis is well suited. This workshop will provide attendees with an overview of how behavior analytic methods are being extended in zoo settings to evaluate enrichment and training effectiveness. Participants will travel to world-renowned Denver Zoo and directly observe how behavioral principles are being used to guide animal care practices in zoos. Participants will learn how to successfully implement behavioral assessments using single-subject designs in a zoo setting. Participants will be guided through video demonstrations of preference assessments and positive reinforcement training with a variety of zoo species to observe the generalizability of these procedures. Attendees will also participate in discussions on future directions for behavior analysts in these nontraditional animal settings. The registration fee includes the cost of workshop materials as well as transportation to and from the Denver Zoo.* Attendees will meet at the headquarters hotel to take a shuttle to the zoo, and will return in time to attend afternoon workshops. Additional details will be communicated directly by the workshop presenters after registration has closed. *A portion of the proceeds will go to the Denver Zoological Society Enrichment Fund.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Operationally define environmental enrichment and identify ways in which enrichment strategies are evaluated and deemed effective; (2)Identify, review, and critique applications of operant conditioning in behavioral husbandry practices for variety of species; (3)Recognize and discuss variables to consider to ensure ethical and effective implementation and evaluation of behavioral assessments in zoos and aquariums using single-subject designs.
Activities: Workshop objectives will be met through a balanced presentation of lecture, guided practice, direct observation, and group discussion. Core content will be taught through lecture and video demonstrations of strategies and procedures will be provided. Participants will be encouraged to participate in open discussions about content and future directions for practical application. Supplemental materials for reviewing training plans and ethograms will also be provided.
Audience: This workshop is designed for individuals interested in the application of behavior analytic principles in zoos and aquariums. Participants will learn how zoos develop and review training and enrichment programs using single-subject design methodology and individual-level analysis to facilitate husbandry goals for a variety of species. Participants will also learn how to successfully implement assessment and evaluation tools for husbandry strategies in zoological settings.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): animal training, enrichment, preference assessment, zoo



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