“No es Cierto!” Countering Misinformation About Behavior Analysis in Spanish: Creation and Dissemination of Materials Based on an Evidence-Based Template by Paynter et al. (2019)
By Camilo Hurtado-Parrado, 2022 awardee of an Public Awareness Grant
The impact of Behavior Analysis on societal problems not only depends on the scientific advancements of the field but also on how behavior-analytic science and application are incorporated into cultural practices. Despite important education, dissemination, and advocacy efforts aimed at increasing positive recognition and uptake of behavior analytic science and application, anti-behavior-analysis incorrect information keeps circulating, often promoted by academics, professionals, or advocates (Keenan et al., 2019). The resulting lack of proper recognition of our discipline makes it unavailable, misunderstood, misrepresented, and misapplied in several countries.
Keenan et al. (2018) highlight some of the reasons for this situation. “…Communicating with parents [and stakeholders] about ABA interventions is already challenging in a context where the available teaching material is readily available in English… It is easy to appreciate how much more difficult it is to do the same job in a context with many different languages, cultural practices, diverse regulatory environments, idiosyncratic national educational structures, and limited teaching materials.” (p. 3).
These extra challenges apply to the case of Hispanic communities within the US and in Spanish-speaking countries, due to the lack of appropriate behavior-analytic materials in Spanish. The SABA Public Awareness Grant funds will be used to (1) translate strategic articles to Spanish, and (2) use these translations to design materials that will aid with education, dissemination, and advocacy of behavior-analytic science and practice across target populations (parents and caregivers, educators, students, policymakers, and health-services providers). The design of these materials will be guided by research on effective procedures to reduce misinformation about behavioral interventions (Paynter et al., 2019, 2021). This “template for countering misinformation” includes manipulations related to (a) increasing source credibility, (b) alignment with values of the target population, (c) using strategic types of rules (e.g., descriptive or injunctive), (d) using warning stimuli that guard against engaging with misinformation sources, (e) increasing salience of relevant stimuli, and (f) designing graphics tailored to boost corrective impact, increase attention and retention, and reduce counterarguing behavior. These materials will be hosted in an online hub dedicated to countering misinformation about Behavior Analysis and will be distributed across key organizations.