Behavioral Development SIG

Photo by Sven Brandsma 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 a) incorporating theories and findings from other areas into our own research and b) 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.

At the 2021 annual meeting we honored Dr. Jack Gewirtz and agreed to rename the Student Research Award the Jack Gewirtz Award. We did not hold the research competition in 2021 but will be returning to it in 2022.

One notable accomplishment this past year was that we created a weekly virtual forum to maintain contact and update ourselves about new research, events, and professional advancement. The plan is to continue with this form of communication along with the traditional activities of the DEV SIG.
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.
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.”

At the 2021 convention we welcomed a very interesting B. F. Skinner lecture entitled, “Reimagining Solutions to the Persistence of Gun Violence in K-12 Schools,” by Sonali Rajan, and International Address by Dermot Barnes-Holmes entitled, “Get Me Out of this Research Silo! Recent Developments in Relational Frame Theory and Their Implications for Connecting, Collaborating and Cooperating with Fellow Travelers in Behavior Analysis,” and an Invited Tutorial by R. Douglas Greer entitled, “The Camouflaged Reinforcer for Learning to Talk, Read, Write/Think.”

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 2023 annual convention. Jagdeep Walia will be our B. F. Skinner Lecturer, Francisco Ruiz Jimenez will be our International Invited Presentation, and JeanneMarie Speckman 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!