Behavioral Development SIG

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

By Jessica Singer-Dudek

The main mission of the Behavioral Development (DEV) SIG is to promote a behavioral developmental thrust within behavior analysis. We strive to bring behavior analysis to the wider world of child psychology and learning, comparative psychology, adult development and gerontology, sociobiology, education, behavioral economics, developmental disabilities and autism, and language development, among other fields. We do so by incorporating theories and findings from other areas into our own research and by bringing professionals from outside traditional behavior analysis, including developmental psychology, to ABAI events and forming collaborations.

The DEV SIG’s membership includes faculty, students, and practitioners, many of whom are also members of other SIGs (e.g., Autism, Verbal Behavior) and are interested in the DEV SIG’s mission, conference program, and discussions. Our SIG has 85 current members. We have a large international presence, with countries including Norway, Germany, Mexico, Italy, Spain, China, Korea, UK, Bosnia, Canada, and France represented. Students from programs affiliated with the SIG and others whose interests align with our mission are encouraged to join. The DEV SIG has a Facebook page and is now up to 78 members! We hope it will succeed in reaching a wider audience and increasing the SIG membership. The page is currently closed to the group, but those wishing to view it can request access just by clicking a button. We are always looking to grow our membership and are planning on establishing a newsletter with updates on SIG-related research in the coming year.

On the agenda at the 2020 annual meeting were ways to spend our growing SIG funds. We decided to hold a Student Research Award competition in October, coinciding with the submission dates for the annual convention. The students submitted their applications with the understanding that, if selected, they would be expected to present their research at the 2021 ABAI annual convention. We received six submissions and chose three to receive monetary awards of $400.00 each designed to offset ABAI membership and conference registration fees. The winners were Hung Chang, Francis Hwang-Nesbit, and Maninder Virk. Hung presented his research, entitled, “The Effects of the Observational Procedure on Conditioned Reinforcement for Books for Preschoolers with and without Disabilities” as part of a symposium chaired by Jaime DeQuinzio entitled, “Observational Learning Research: A Review of Trends and Current Examinations of Complex Repertoires.” The other two award recipients presented their papers as part of the Behavioral Development Special Interest Group (DEV SIG) Graduate Student Research Award Presentations. Francis presented her paper, “Comparing Two Interventions on Establishing Multiple Stimulus Control” and Maninder presented her paper, “The Effects of Parent Training During Telehealth Sessions on the Students’ Rate of Learning and Parents’ Delivery of Accurate Instruction.” The student research competition will continue for the 2022 annual convention and we hope to see more submissions in the future.

The DEV SIG is represented in the ABAI annual convention program in the area of Human Development (DEV). DEV SIG members consistently serve as DEV program area coordinators who help bring exciting presentations on a variety of topics related to behavioral development to the annual convention.
At the 2020 annual convention the DEV area was represented by 21 posters, 1 panel discussion, 2 paper presentations, and 9 symposia. The majority of these presentations focused on research related to verbal behavior development, acceleration of academic skills, and behavioral development across the lifespan. Co-program area chairs Jessica Dudek and Jo Ann Delgado also recruited an exciting Invited Tutorial entitled, “Designing Instruction for All Learners: How Verbal Development Informs Pedagogy and Instruction” by Jennifer Weber.

The 2021 annual convention hosted 12 posters, 3 papers, 1 panel, and 8 symposia. We had an interesting B.F. Skinner Lecture by Marla Brassard entitled, “Improving Observed Parenting and Enhancing Well-Being in Parents of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” an International Address by Kieva Hranchuk entitled, “The Interaction Between Development and Instruction,” and an Invited Tutorial by Lin Du entitled, “0 to 60: Establishing Conditioned Reinforcers and Inducing Observing Responses.”

These sessions well represented the breadth of research interests by members of the DEV SIG, particularly in terms of the population of participants studied (those with and without developmental disabilities; children and adults) and the focus on verbal, academic, and behavioral development across the lifespan. The contributions of all the session chairs, presenters, and discussants was very much appreciated.

We are also excited to announce that have already lined up invited speakers for the 2022 annual convention. Sonali Rajan will be our B.F. Skinner lecturer, Dermot Barnes-Holmes will be our International speaker, and R. Douglas Greer will give an Invited Tutorial.

The DEV SIG has a poster at the ABAI Expo and holds a business meeting every year. All are welcome to attend. When we can meet in person, the DEV SIG members like to gather for a no-host SIG dinner. This enjoyable occasion is also open to all. In addition to being friendly, interdisciplinary by our very nature, and interested in many different topics and approaches, we have been a relatively informal SIG. Come find us at one of our presentations or invited talks, attend our business meeting, or Expo. We look forward to welcoming new members!

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