2015 BAAM Keynotes (Thursday)
Harvey Jacobs, Ph.D.
Beyond the Black Box: Acquired Brain Injury and Behavior Analysis
Harvey Jacobs, Ph.D., author of Understanding Everybody’s Behavior After Brain Injury: Don’t “Don’t!”® and Behavior Analysis Guidelines and Brain Injury Rehabilitation: People, Principles, and Programs will be speaking on the role of applied behavior analysis in the treatment of acquired brain injury.
Dr. Jacobs completed his initial academic training at Western Michigan University, earned his PhD in Psychology from Florida State University, a post-doctoral fellowship in Behavioral Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was a Mary Switzer Research Fellow of the National Institute of Handicapped Research (presently NIDRR).
Jacobs has a long history of working with people challenged by disability. Currently in private practice, he has served on multiple medical school faculties, worked on-staff, in administrative roles and as a consultant to numerous programs and facilities. He has also served as principal investigator on multiple federal, state and private grants. His current interests include life care planning; rehabilitation for neurological, psychiatric, medical and intellectual impairments; behavior analysis; complex treatment issues; outcomes research; staff training; and program development. He works with diverse ages, ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics.
Objective data on licensing exam pass rates, internship placements, and other measures put both the Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan Clinical Psychology training programs, which include training in behavior analysis and BCBA preparation, in the top ten of programs in the nation.
Time Magazine, which has had a history of endorsing dangerous (Facilitated Communication) and empirically unsupported (Floortime) autism treatments, attacks "time-out," an empirically validated and well-tolerated method originally designed as an alternative to physical punishment. The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) Practice Board responds.
From the story: A GRANDMOTHER who says she "fell in love" with her severely autistic client at a Sunshine Coast disability services home, has been convicted on two counts of indecent dealing with him....She said he used facilitated communication to tell her that he loved her.
Alan Hudson, veteran FC critic in Australia, "identified numerous substantial faults and concluded it did not "work" for the young man."
The Christie Administration today announced the selection of Mark Mautone...as the 2014-2015 State Teacher of the Year....An educator for 19 years, he received his bachelor's degree from Kean University and his master's in Applied Behavior Analysis from Caldwell University.
Mautone is a signatory to BAAM's Resolution on Facilitated Communication.
New BAAM Website
After 10 years, BAAM is doing a phased retirement of its former website design. We retained the 1990s-style site, with its very small file sizes, as long as possible to accommodate those struggling with slow Internet connections and older web browsers.
However, new web standards and technologies require that we update. We hope the new design is pleasing and useful. During the transition, you might encounter some older-style pages that have been retained to facilitate the transition between old and new technologies. If your favorite pages are missing from the new site, use a search engine to look for them. IF possible, we will leave the old pages active until we have transfered them.
Archive of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB)
View the contents of all back issues from 1958-2012.
View the contents of all back issues from 1978-2013 (vol. 1)
The Call for Papers for the BAAM 2015 convention is now open. The deadline for submissions is December 5, 2014. Our theme for 2015 is All Behavior Analyzed: Liberated by Science, Guided by Ethics. Submit your proposals online by the deadline for consideration for inclusion in the BAAM 2015 BAAM Convention.
Full scholarships for a graduate certificate from the College of Education’s applied behavior analysis program are now available. The program prepares students who are interested in becoming practitioners in using behavior analysis to solve problems of human importance.
"Synomorph:" A Useful Concept From Our Ecological Psychologist Friends.
A synomorph (lit: same shape) is an instance of close fit between a particular behavior pattern and a specific part or parts of a behavior setting. A chair is a synomorph for sitting; a bed for sleeping; a cup for drinking.
The effective use of synomorphs can establish strong antecedent behavior control that reduces the need for instructions or behavioral programming. This is especially useful when the behavior of large numbers of individuals must be managed effectively such as in a classroom or public setting.
"The efforts funded by the new state money will move forward under the direction of Dr. Stephanie Peterson, chair of the WMU Department of Psychology, and Dr. Wayne Fuqua, professor of psychology, whose longtime focus has been on the use of behavior analysis for the treatment of autism."
Behavior Science Saving Lives
In August of 2013, the BACB Board of Directors authorized a workgroup to evaluate the organization’s disciplinary system and ethical/disciplinary codes – the Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts (“Conduct Guidelines”) and Professional Disciplinary and Ethical Standards (“Disciplinary Standards”). This action was consistent with the BACB’s history of periodically reviewing and revising its standards.
"Some Current Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis," by Donald Baer, Montrose Wolf, and Todd Risley, is a classic in the field, describing the fundamental features of ABA as a science- and evidence-based practice. It is, at its core, an excellent program evaluation tool with which you can measure any treatment approach for quality and potential for success. "Some Current Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis" appeared in the first issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and has been a standard reading in most behavior analysts curricula since.
View the contents of all back issues from 1968-2012.
The Verbal Summator was a device created in the early 1930s by B.F. Skinner to present random speech sounds. Now we would use computer to do this. Skinner had to adapt what was then called an "indexing phonograph"-- record player designed to drop the needle in a specific groove. Dubbed an "Auditory Rorschach," listeners would seem to hear meaningful speech within what was actually meaningless output.
View the contents of all back issues from 1985-2013 (vol. 1) and issues of Verbal Behavior News 1982-1983
The BAAM 2015 convention will be held Thursday and Friday, February 19-20 at the Student Center on the Campus of Eastern Michigan University.
BAAM offers a mix of applied, basic, historical, conceptual, and professionals events, and is open to everyone. We will have BACB CEUs available. Last year's BAAM convention had record attendance, and we expect as many this year. BAAM has secured larger rooms to better accommodate the growth. We hope to see you there.
BAAM will provide space for job announcements for behavior analysis positions, consistent with its Statement of Purpose.
Writing in The Horse, Christa Lesté-Lasserre reports: Using a simple series of easily distinguishable printed symbols, Mejdell’s group taught 23 horses to associate symbols with certain actions. The horses learned that one symbol meant “blanket on,” another meant “blanket off,” and a third meant “no change.” Once the horses had learned the meanings (which took an average of 11 days), the researchers gave them free rein to choose symbols and rewarded them with food for their selection, regardless of which symbol they chose.
A common problem in blanket choice for horses is figuring out whether the horse is actually comfortable. This procedure would be an immediate solution. However, research on impulsivity predicts that the horses will make short-term choice, and that the blanket they want at the moment might not be suitable for conditions later.
What is the Matching Law?
First described in detail in a1961 article by Richard Herrnstein, matching law says that responses are distributed among alternatives in proportion to the relative amounts reward obtained on each alternative. If you get 1/3 of your reward on behavior A, and 2/3 on B, you will devote 1/3 of your effort to A and 2/3 to B.
"several studies have found that there is increased surveillance for autism, a broadening of the diagnostic criteria, and an increased willingness to seek out and accept the diagnosis by parents and educators. Further, when you control for these variables, the adjusted autism prevalence is stable over time."
Everyone seems fascinated by the pigeons B.F. Skinner taught to play a version of ping-pong. But, that was the not the most important part of his article, "Two 'Synthetic' Social Relations." It was just the introduction.
Basically, if you teach a couple of pigeons to peck at a ping-pong ball, and then put them on opposite sides of a small table, they will "play" ping-pong. That was a big deal at the time because the hand shaping of behavior was new. But, conceptually there aren't a lot of implications.
The second part of the article is the one to really pay attention to. What Skinner did was set up a contingency that required two pigeons separated by a pane of glass to peck corresponding keys at the same time. One pigeon spontaneously became a "leader," looking for which one of three keys produced food. The other pigeon, the "follower," came to mirror the behavior of the leader very closely, and the two seemed to be mirror images. This behavior generalized, and the pigeons would seem to mirror other behaviors as well. The follower pigeon showed the ability to engage in new forms of behavior simply by seeing them in the leader.
Why is this very important? Skinner had demonstrated how sophisticated generalized imitation can be established quickly with just contingent reward for imitating a relatively simple response. If a bird can do it, why not a child?
BAAM Statement of Purpose
The Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan* has been organized to support and promote scientific research on the basic principles of behavior and the extension of those principles to create demonstrably effective and humane outcome-based therapies with the primary goal of establishing and enhancing functional independent living skills.
*BAAM is a state affiliate of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and is sponsored by the Eastern Michigan University Psychology Department.
Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan, Department of Psychology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI 48197