ABAI’s 47th Annual Convention: Behavior Analysis Online and Enhanced

By Maria E. Malott

While we are eager to reunite with our members in person, the annual convention will be coming to you in online in 2021! We will be offering a new, much enhanced, virtual experience to all presenters and attendees. Conference registration will give you access to more than 450 hours of live and on-demand content; pre-convention workshops are available live for an additional fee. We are pleased to offer a safe and convenient experience packed with continuing education sessions, networking events, and engagement opportunities. In addition, you will be able to access all presentations on demand for six months after the convention.

The convention will open by honoring the vital contributions of the 2021 Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis (SABA) award recipients and listening to their remarks.

  • This year’s award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis will be given to M. Jackson Marr. Dr. Marr’s remarks will focus on his career trajectory and his reflection on our discipline to look outward, not inward.
  • Carl Hart will receive the award for Effective Presentation of Behavior Analysis in the Mass Media. Dr. Hart will speak about neurobiological, socio-environmental, and political influences on substance use, with emphasis on racial biases.
  • Allen Neuringer will be honored with the Award for Scientific Translation. Dr. Neuringer will show that levels of response variability—from repetitions to random-like responding—can be reinforced.
  • Carmen Luciano will accept the award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis. Dr. Luciano will speak about her research and teaching analysis of complex behaviors, such as problem solving, rule-governed behavior, and self-knowledge.
  • The award ceremony will conclude with the recognition of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) for its Enduring Programmatic Contributions. Doreen Granpeesheh, founder, will speak of CARD’s trajectory from a one-woman practice in Westwood, California, to the largest ABA provider in the world.
Dr. Ruth Ann Rehfeldt demonstrates some of the features for of the ABAI Virtual Convention platform during the 15th Annual Autism Conference.

Our incoming president, Dr. Carol Pilgrim, will deliver this year’s Presidential Address, “Discourse in 2021: Some Observations From a Radical Behaviorist.” She will argue that important dimensions of current events on the national scene, as well as within behavior analysis, could be described in terms of conflict in discourse and that, in seeking to find solutions, we might be wise to undertake a more broadly informed and truly radical approach to understanding the nature of discourse, its selection and transmission, and its impact on other modes of behavior.

To add to the richness of the program, our distinguished B. F. Skinner Lecture Series includes 17 scientists and professionals from disciplines compatible with behavior science. They will cover a wealth of topics, including dog domestication, worker safety, space exploration, orthopedic surgery, and segregation and racial bias. Additionally, 61 invited presentations bring our field’s top scholars to discuss recent developments across 16 program areas.

This year’s convention offers a thematic track on bias. The sessions offer discussions on bias in research and publication, as well as access to assessment, treatment, and services.

The Professional Development Series—an initiative of the ABAI Student Committee—includes panels on journal peer reviews, applying for research grants, applying and interviewing for jobs, ableist systems, and more.

The 2021 program includes 286 panels and symposia, 49 pre-convention workshops, and three poster sessions across 13 program areas. There will be multiple opportunities to interact with other convention attendees during 46 business meetings, 18 reunions and receptions, and the Expo poster session, where major constituencies are represented, including organizations, providers, affiliated chapters, special interest groups, and higher education programs.

The 47th Annual Convention would not be possible without the work of ABAI’s Program Board. Coordinator Jonathan Tarbox and Committee Chair Amy Odum have overseen the completion of an impressive program with the assistance of 31 area coordinators in applied animal behavior; autism; behavioral pharmacology and neuroscience; clinical/family/behavioral medicine; community, social, and sustainability issues; developmental disabilities; diversity, equity, and inclusion; behavioral development; experimental analysis of behavior; education; organizational behavior management; philosophical, conceptual, and historical issues; practice; science; teaching behavior analysis; and verbal behavior. This year’s coordinators are Erik Arntzen, Regina Carroll, Robin Codding Lin Du, Jessica Dudek, Erica Feurbacher, Daniel Fienup, Nicole Gravina, Nathaniel Hall, Renee Hawkins, Michael Hixson, August Holtyn, Sally Huskinson, Corina Jimenez-Gomez, Tiffany Kodak, Sarah Lechago, Karen Lionello-DeNolf, Suzanne Mitchell, Amy Murrell, Yaniz Padilla Dalmau, David Palmer, Jo Ann Pereira Delgado, Carol Pilgrim, Sarah Richling, Rocio Rosales, Kelly Schieltz, Thomas Szabo, Michele Traub, Susan Wilczynski, and Byron Wine. We also thank the ABAI Student committee—Jovonnie Esquierdo-Leal, Allyson Salzer, and Rita Olla—for assembling the Professional Development Series. Last, but not least, I want to also acknowledge the extraordinary ABAI team for their commitment, initiative, planning, and execution of the convention.

The 47th Annual Convention includes the contributions of more than 2,500 participants. We thank each of you for your support of the convention. We are excited that thousands of behavior analysts and allies continue to gather for the largest behavior analysis event of the year to learn, connect, and celebrate a science that has much to offer the world.

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