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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Symposium #82
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Behavioral Economics and Verbal Behavior Mash-Up: Investigations of Broader Behavior Analytically-Rooted Societal Impacts
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Area: CSS/CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Victoria Diane Hutchinson (Saint Louis University)
CE Instructor: Victoria Diane Hutchinson, M.S.

The present symposium explores the ways in which verbal behavior and behavioral economics may shed light on some of the larger societal problems we face as humans. In the first presentation, we empirically explore RFT-based conceptualizations of gambling behavior beyond those of equivalence to frames of comparison and the ways in which those contextual variables (along with our own verbal behavior about them) may push around our behavior. Second, we'll address conceptually-cutting-edge perspective, wherein we propose different interventions for distinct repertoires within what we might broadly consider, impulsivity. Finally, we explore delay and social discounting within the context of climate change, and the need for modern behavior analysis to hold a seat at the table of discussions around sustainability initiatives.

Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: Describe how behavior science can contribute to solving complex social issues Identify self-rule formation through contextual control, in a gambling context. Attendees will be able to describe how different forms of impulsivity likely involve different behavioral repertoires and therefore will likely respond differently to different treatments
Diversity submission Derived Rule Following and Relational Framing in a Gambling Context
VANSHIKA GUPTA (Saint Louis University), Alyssa N. Wilson (Saint Louis University)
Abstract: Previous research on derived rule following has shown that participants will switch their response patterns following discrimination training, and will adhere to new rules established during training even contingencies do not match the new rules. However, this research has only included equivalence class formations. Therefore, the current study sought to replicate and extend this research to include relational frames of comparison (i.e., more/less than). During a slot machine task, three recreational gamblers wagered on one of two slot machines with equal payout rates, each identified by an arbitrary stimulus covering the payout rates. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three legs within a multiple-baseline design with predetermined phase lengths. Following baseline, participants completed a match-to-sample program where contextual cues of more/less than were paired with the arbitrary stimuli used on the slot machines. Tacting of participant’s self-rule was measured using a fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice test, before and after training. Following training, two participants altered their response options to play on the slot machine paired with the contextual cue of ‘more than’, and played less on the machine paired with the cue ‘less than’. Further, all three participants responded with 100% accuracy on the self-rule tests following training.
Diversity submission 

Behavioral Conceptual Analysis of Two Dimensions of Impulsivity: Impulsive Disinhibition Versus Impulsive Decision-Making

YI YANG (University of Southern California), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)

Impulsivity is a multifaceted construct, including inability to wait, rapid action without forethought, and an inability to inhibit inappropriate behaviors. In behavior analytic research, impulsivity is often studied by examining choices between smaller-sooner reinforcers over larger-later reinforcers, as in delay discounting. However, researchers have begun to acknowledge what could be an important distinction, between ‘‘impulsive disinhibition,’’ e.g., Go/No-Go tasks, and ‘‘impulsive decision-making,’’ e.g., Delay-Discounting tasks (Reynolds, Ortengren, Richards and de Wit, 2006). This presentation will conduct a radical behavioral conceptual analysis of this distinction and identify the separate implications for both repertoires of behavior, both for studying them in the lab, and for application to socially significant behavior. In particular, it seems probable that different intervention procedures may work for addressing the two different repertoires. For example, present moment attention training may help individuals focus on moment-to-moment self-control, as in go/no go tasks, whereas values-based interventions may help individuals behave with respect to longer-term self-control tasks, such as delay discounting.

Diversity submission 

Delay Discounting and Social Discounting With Climate Change Policy Preference

CELESTE UNNERSTALL (Missouri State University ), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, considerable changes in human behavior are needed to curb the impacts of climate change. Current estimates suggest that we may reach the climate point of no return (PNR) by the year 2035 assuming a 2% increase in the relative rate of no emission consumption. We describe several studies conducted by our research lab from a Behavioral Economic and Relational Frame Theory synthetic framework that address preferences for policies that attempt to limit or constrain CO2 emissions by affecting human action. The first series of studies evaluate policy preference to delay PNR as analogous to monetary discounting of reinforcer loss. Results show that people discount high emission commodities similar to currency. Results also show that redistributive policies may generate greater policy support and willingness to forego high emission commodities in service of the value of climate change sustainability. The second series of studies extend this model by directly comparing policies developed by politicians seeking presidency in the upcoming US election, as well as embedding measures of social discounting. Results again support preference for redistributive policies and that policies that redistribute reinforcement locally are more likely to be accepted and produce greater willingness than policies that seek to redistribute reinforcement internationally. These series of studies speak to a need to inform policy with modern advances in applied behavior analysis.




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