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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Invited Panel #348
Behavioral Economics: A Panel Discussion on Its Past, Present, and Future
Sunday, May 24, 2020
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 3, Ballroom AB
Area: SCI; Domain: Theory
Chair: Derek D. Reed (University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Derek D. Reed, Ph.D.
Panelists: WARREN BICKEL (Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech), STEVEN HURSH (Institutes for Behavior Resources, Inc.), AMY ODUM (Utah State University)

Behavioral economics is the intersection of operant psychology and micro-economic principles. The subfield of behavioral economics began as a novel means of interpreting drug administration studies in behavioral pharmacology and the experimental analysis of behavior. Over time, the translational utility of behavioral economics—especially in the domains of delay discounting and operant demand—has become apparent in nearly all facets of behavior analysis (e.g., OBM, treatment of severe problem behavior, substance use, education). Decades of research on the topics of discounting and demand have thereby led to the development of efficient yet psychometrically sound measures that permit generality to nearly any setting or research question. Recent critiques of behavioral economics, however, suggest it is antithetical to the dimensions of behavior analysis due to the use of self-report and quantitative analyses. This panel discussion will feature three of the most impactful luminaries in behavioral economics; collectively, the group will discuss the behavior analytic origins of behavioral economics, contemporary applications in behavior analysis, and suggestions for future research and development.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Any behavior analyst.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) define behavioral economics in behavior analytic terms; (2) describe the behavior analytic origins of behavioral economics; (3) identify behavioral economic principles that are omnipresent in behavior analytic practices.
WARREN BICKEL (Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech)
Dr. Warren Bickel is a leading figure in behavioral pharmacology, with an outstanding record of scientific and professional contributions to experimental and applied behavior analysis. His work on the applications of behavioral economic principles derived from basic research with nonhuman organisms to drug abuse in humans has opened an exciting and productive new approach to this area with implications for treatments and science-based drug abuse policies. Dr. Bickel's work has contributed to the expanded use of methadone for the treatment of opioid dependence and the development and approval of buprenorphine, the newest agent for opioid-dependent treatment. He has received numerous awards and positions for his accomplishments, including a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, University Scholar Award from the University of Vermont, editor of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, president of Division 28 of the American Psychological Association, and president of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. He has published four books and more than 200 journal articles and book chapters.
STEVEN HURSH (Institutes for Behavior Resources, Inc.)
Dr. Steven R. Hursh received his BA from Wake Forest University in 1968 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 1972. He is the president of the Institutes for Behavior Resources and adjunct professor of Behavioral Biology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Hursh has over 40 years' experience as a researcher and is author of over 80 articles, book chapters, and books. He is a former associate editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. His seminal article on economic concepts for the analysis of behavior is considered one of the most significant articles in the history of the journal. Dr. Hursh has been a key figure in the establishment of behavioral economics as a major conceptual area. His research papers have introduced into the behavioral vocabulary a number of "household terms" in behavioral psychology: open and closed economies, demand curves and demand elasticity, unit price, substitution and complementarity, Pmax, Omax, and recently essential value based on exponential demand that has broad generality across species and reinforcers. His extensions to drug abuse and the framing of drug abuse policy have had a major impact on the direction of research on substance use disorders. 
AMY ODUM (Utah State University)

Amy Odum is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University. Her research interests are in basic behavioral phenomena, such as response persistence, sensitivity to delayed outcomes, conditional discriminations, and environmental influences on drug effects. Her work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont’s Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory after earning her Ph.D. and M.A. in Psychology, specializing in Behavior Analysis, from West Virginia University. She received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida. Dr. Odum served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. She has been President of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and President of Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of the American Psychological Association. She is a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International.




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