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; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #350
The Nurture Consilience: Evolving Societies That Work for Everyone
Monday, May 25, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Area: SCI; Domain: Theory
BACB/PSY/QABA CE Offered. CE Instructor: Anthony Biglan, Ph.D.
Chair: Cynthia J. Pietras (Western Michigan University)
Presenting Authors: : ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute)

This presentation will argue that what might be called “The Nurture Consilience” provides a framework for guiding the further evolution of our societies. E. O. Wilson describes consilience as “the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation.” I will prevent evidence from evolutionary biology, behavior analysis, development, clinical, and social psychology, and medicine about the nurturing conditions that humans need to thrive and the toxic conditions that undermine wellbeing and promote the development of a constellation of psychological, behavioral, and health problems. Research has identified programs, policies, and practices that replace toxic conditions with environments that limit opportunities and influences for problem behavior, richly reinforce diverse forms of prosocial behavior, and cultivate psychological flexibility. However, advocacy for free market economics has corrupted virtually every sector of society; practices in business, health care, education, criminal justice, media, and government have been selected by their contribution to the wealth of a small segment of the population; the majority of people have been harmed. I will describe how we can evolve societies that foster general wellbeing, by creating contingencies that select practices that minimize harm and contribute to the general wellbeing.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) state the four key features of nurturing environments; (2) describe the consilience among the evidence from evolutionary theory and behavior analysis, including the role of selection by consequences in the development of prosocial and antisocial behavior; (3) describe at least three evidence-based school and/or family interventions that can prevent multiple psychological and behavioral problems; (4) describe the evolution of corporate practices and the way in which we might evolve a political and economic system that does a better job of ensuring the wellbeing of every person; (5) describe a public health framework for the regulation of business practices.
ANTHONY BIGLAN (Oregon Research Institute)
Anthony Biglan, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at Oregon Research Institute. He is the author of The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve our Lives and Our World.   Dr. Biglan has been conducting research on the development and prevention of child and adolescent problem behavior for the past 30 years. His work has included studies of the risk and protective factors associated with tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; high-risk sexual behavior; and antisocial behavior. He has conducted numerous experimental evaluations of interventions to prevent tobacco use both through school-based programs and community-wide interventions. And, he has evaluated interventions to prevent high-risk sexual behavior, antisocial behavior, and reading failure.   In recent years, his work has shifted to more comprehensive interventions that have the potential to prevent the entire range of child and adolescent problems. He and colleagues at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences published a book summarizing the epidemiology, cost, etiology, prevention, and treatment of youth with multiple problems (Biglan et al., 2004). He is a former president of the Society for Prevention Research. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention, which released its report in 2009 documenting numerous evidence-based preventive interventions that can prevent multiple problems. As a member of Oregon’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, he is helping to develop a strategic plan for implementing comprehensive evidence-based interventions throughout Oregon.   Information about Dr. Biglan’s publications can be found at



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