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

Previous Page


Symposium #95
CE Offered: BACB
Developmental Behavioral Economic View
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: DEV/OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Mansi Shah (Dare Institute)
Discussant: William Joseph Harrigan (Harvard Extension School)
CE Instructor: William Joseph Harrigan, Ph.D.

The role of behavior analysis in understanding composite variables, such as life satisfaction, is best understood in small steps. Questions of what effects the value of different reinforcers have are important steps in understanding how we can make life better. In this symposium four different investigations of reinforcement will be presented. The first presentation is a proposed instrument for exploring the relationship between task interest and time on task; influenced by the work of John Holland. The second presentation discusses behavioral predictors of burnout, and how a lack of fit between personal interests and the demands of their environment leads to emotional exhaustion. The third presentation discusses how artistic ability, and science and research interest relate to creativity. The fourth presentation discusses how gratitude evolves with developmental stage, and how intimate relationships, and emotional complexity contribute to gratitude. Each of these presentations shows steps toward developmental behavioral economic modeling of reinforcement and its effects.

Target Audience:

The target audience is people who know behavioral science, and want to increase their knowledge of the developmental pathways in acquiring new and effective behaviors. People who are interested in how to combine behavior analysis with behavioral development. People who want to have a broad perspective of critical applications of behavior analysis to real world problems.

Sharpening Interest Measurement: Questions of Time
WILLIAM JOSEPH HARRIGAN (Harvard Extension School), Sarthak Giri (Dare Institute)
Abstract: Models of professional interest, such as the Holland RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social Enterprising. Conventional) inventory, have determined, through factor analysis, six reinforcers factors that predict and control behavior. However, due to lack of a direct behavioral measure of these interest grouping, precise prediction is difficult. The original Holland measure asks about whether they prefer to do a task or not. Two modifications are proposed. The first proposed instrument assesses the amount of time participants say they prefer to spend on tasks in each of the six RIASEC groups. The second proposed instrument measures the amount of time participants spend on each of six tasks that have been selected to show preferences for each of the RIASEC interests. This allows for a directly measurable time on task variable to assess the extent of participant’s interest. One goal of these changes is to give participants and researchers a clearer notion of how much they would like to perform their prefer tasks. By giving the concrete variable of time on tasks, participants apply a familiar cost. By asking the participant to consider opportunity cost, a more robust notion of the value of these reinforcers can be inferred.

Quantifying the Role of Job-Person Fit in Work Related Burnout

Sarthak Giri (Dare Institute), KYONA SCHACHT (Boston University)

Burnout is a multivariate psychological syndrome, described and measured by, per Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), one’s emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. The job-person fit framework states that a poor fit between a person’s interest and the nature of the job and day-to-day tasks increases the risk for burnout. In order to determine whether burnout scores would be higher for those whose interests do not match their job, participants (N= 55) were asked to take an anonymous online survey. The survey consisted of: modified Holland RAISEC Inventory (HRI), Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and questions about their job and the amount of time they spent doing tasks that would appeal to one of the 6 RAISEC groups. The HRI was modified to make it shorter, more behavioral and face valid. The results indicated that a mismatch in their personal interests and the task they performed at work indicated burnout in 2 out 3 variables: Emotional Exhaustion (r = 0.323) and Depersonalization (r = 0.334). Implications for future research are discussed.

Indicators of Value of Creativity as a Personal Quality in Adults
Alexandra Dodzin (Langley High School), SHUTONG WEI (Dare Association, Inc.)
Abstract: Certain people tend to place a great value on creativity. To identify what behavioral factors underlie creativity, survey data was collected from 107 anonymous participants. The survey of 117 questions were separated into sections that pertained to different aspects of creativity: 1) external and internal evaluation of creative character traits; 2) personal perception of likelihood to complete certain tasks; and 3) the frequency of completion of creative tasks. The factors of the rating scale are the following: 1) originality and creative thinking (factor loading .754); 2) importance of creativity as part of character (factor loading .709); 3) building and understanding the design of mechanical objects (factor loading .671); 4) intuition (factor loading .664). The factors of the power scaled instrument are 1) artistic ability (factor loading .778); 2) science and research (factor loading .742). The results show that individuals are more likely to value creativity more and exhibit more creative behaviors who are high in these factors. Interest and personal characteristics both play a big role in behavioral development. This paper isolates some of those factors and make people more creatively productive. The paper also addresses the difference between creativity and originality and how creativity manifests itself in individuals.

Caring, Gratitude, and Other Prosocial Behaviors

SHUTONG WEI (Dare Association, Inc.), Weilyn Chong (Hong Kong International School)

The focus of this article is to provide an understanding of what caring is and why it is one of the bases of behavioral economics. It addresses the definition of care, how it differs from the actions of gratitude, stages at which caring can be identified and how caring underlies societal actions and development. The paper also analyzes how caring changes depending on which stage an organism is performing at, how big of a social structure the organism is in and how caring is necessary in human societies. The paper details the results from an anonymous online survey designed to measure the perceived value of caring and gratitude. The first factor noted both an intimate relationship and immediate reaction. The first factor had a loading of 0.819. This included either parental relationships, immediate reactions to other people’s actions or both. The second factor with the indicated less intimate relationships and longer reaction time, not with more emotional complexity. The second factor had a loading of 0.816. This included strangers, non-relatives, and reactions that require long term memory retrieval to perform.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh