BAAM 2017 Convention Keynotes
February 16-17, 2017

David H. Freedman (left), contributing editor at The Atlantic, and Inc. Magazine is scheduled to speak on Friday February 17 on the perception of behavior analysis in the media and how to improve it.  Freedman is author of numerous books and articles including the Atlantic cover story, The Perfected Self, about the use of contingencies and feedback to help improve our diets and ourselves. You may find more about Freedman here at his site.

Janet S. Twyman (left) is

Associate Professor of Pediatrics/UMass Medical School and Director of Innovation & Technology/Center for Innovations in Learning. Dr. Twyman is a noted proponent of effective instruction and using technology to produce individual and system change.  She has published and presented widely on instructional design, evidence-based innovations in education, and the systems that produce meaningful difference in learners’ lives, and in 2015 received the Wing Award for her work in Evidence-based Education.

Featured Address: BAAM 2017

Behavior Analytic Pragmatism. Jay Moore (Dept of Psychology; UW-Milwaukee)

In recent years, many behavior analysts have suggested that the truth criterion for analytic and explanatory concepts in Skinner’s radical behaviorism and other forms of behavioristic psychology such as RFT involves pragmatic considerations, such as the degree to which the concept occasions successful working or effective action, commonly measured as prediction and control.  The current presentation further examines the compatibility between pragmatism and radical behaviorism in scientific epistemology and practice.

Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan clinical  psychology programs both make list of top ten "Hidden Gems" in clinical training.

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.

(Full article here; may require subscription.)

ABAI Practice Board Responds to Time Magazine Failure on the Concept of Time Out.

Picture of page from Time MagazineTime 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.

Behavior Classic: Read it again, or for the first time

"Some Current Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis"


"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.

BAAM 2017 Call For Papers

The Call for Papers for the BAAM 2017 convention is now available. The 2017 BAAM convention will be held February 16-17 at Eastern Michigan University.


BAAM to Use CEU Helper & EventsXD


In order to streamline the conference and reduce costly paper usage, BAAM will be using the CEU Helper and EventsXD apps.  The BACB requires electroinc CEU verifications, and CEU Helper app will greatly facilitate this.  We will be implemeting online scheduling to make it easier for our attendees to plan their days and receive news of room changes or other events. Please download and set up these apps as soon as you can.

Is getting paid weekly an example of a fixed interval schedule of reinforcement?

No. A fixed interval (FI) schedule reinforces the first specified response after a specified period has elapsed. A weekly scheduled paycheck is not issued that way, contingent on a specific response after a week, then resetting after the response. At best, going and picking up a regularly scheduled paycheck might approximate a fixed interval--but not perfectly. Your next check will not become available exactly a week after picking up the first, but a week after the first was issued.  On a true FI, the reinforcers do not accumulate until you finally respond.


Become a "Virtual Member" of BAAM


Virtual members are not official members of BAAM, but do receive email updates and selected mailings.


Free, Full Text of B.F. Skinner's 1948 William James Lectures.


Read the lectures that would eventually become B.F. Skinner 1957 classic book, Verbal Behavior.

Typed title of "Verbal Behavior"

Courtesy of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies

Western Michigan University Psychology Receives $4 Million for Autism Research and Training

Photo of Western Michigan Group receiving funding

"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

Archive of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA)

View the contents of all back issues from 1968-2012.

CEUs now required for renewal of Michigan Psychology licenses


Michigan Behavior Analysts who are also Licensed or Limited License Psychologists should be aware of the new continuing education rules for Psychologists in effect Sept. 15, 2015.

Previously, Michigan LPs and LLPs were not required to earn CEUs for renewing their licenses. CEUs are now required. These rules apply only to Psychologists. They have no effect on BCBAs and BCaBAs. But, be aware that BACB CEUs may not count for this requirement unless they are also approved for psychology.

Please note that the Michigan Psychology rules reproduced on the BAAM website and BAAM legacy site are no longer current.  Refer to the rules at the link below:

Revised Michigan Psychology Regulations

New Autism Video Practitioner Resources from Western Michigan University


The Western Michigan University Autism Center for Excellence announces the availability of a series of video interviews with experts in ABA, autism and behavioral pediatrics. See the text of the press release here.


These videos feature presentations and interviews with experts in applied behavior analysis and behavioral pediatrics. In many cases, the videos also include supplemental materials and clinical simulations that demonstrate the application of essential features of an assessment or intervention technique. These videos are designed to enhance the ability of applied behavior analysis practitioners.

"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.


Schoggen, P. (1989). Behavior settings: A revision and extension of Roger G. Barker's Ecological Psychology. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.

Discrimination Training Sequence Enables Horses to Pick Their Own Blankets in Cold Weather.

Horse choosing blanketBy selectively associating different blanket weights with different symbols, and rewarding correct choices, horses were taught to pick their own blankets.

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.


Archive of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB)

View the contents of all back issues from 1958-2012.

Archive of The Behavior Analyst

View the contents of all back issues from 1978-2013 (vol. 1)

Hear Verbal Summator Files by B.F. Skinner

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.

See also:

Rutherford, A. (2003).  B.F. Skinner and the auditory inkblot: The rise and fall of the verbal summator as a projective technique. History of Psychology, 6(4), 362-378.

Skinner, B.F. (1936).  The verbal summator and a method for the study of latent speech. Journal of Psychology, 2(1), 71-107.

Archive of the Analysis of Verbal Behavior

View the contents of all back issues from 1985-2013 (vol. 1) and issues of Verbal Behavior News 1982-1983

Ok, Pigeons Can Play Ping-Pong. Now Let's Read the Rest of Skinner's "Two Synthetic Social Relations."

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?

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.

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