By Christy Alligood & Kathryn Kestner
The Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis (SEABA) is a regional affiliate of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Like its parent organization, SEABA seeks to promote scholarly discourse within and about behavior analysis. SEABA membership is open to anyone with a scholarly interest in Behavior Analysis who registers for our annual meeting. Current members include established scholars, professionals, and students in psychology as well as related disciplines such as education, psychopharmacology, and social work. Most members reside in the southeast, although some members participate from other parts of the U.S.
In 1984, Aaron Brownstein (UNC Greensboro) rallied a group of prominent behavior analysts in the Southeastern U.S. around the idea of a regional conference on the science and philosophy of behavior analysis. The Southeastern U.S. contained a large number of strong but geographically scattered academic and research groups (e.g., Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and others) and without a venue for scholarly interaction. For many, the Southeastern Psychological Association had served this purpose, but the content of that conference had become overwhelmingly professional rather than scientific (i.e., following the direction of APA). SEABA was founded to be that venue for behavior analysts. SEABA was structured specifically to foster high-level discourse on research and theory in behavior analysis. The organization’s sole activity would be to conduct an annual conference. The conference format was developed specifically to replicate the environment of early behavioral conferences, and scientific specialty organizations (e.g., the Behavioral Pharmacological Society). To this end, the conference was to be a day and a half, single-track program so that all participants could conveniently attend all presentations establishing a common basis for discussion and interaction. Speakers were to be selected based on content and quality of their empirical and theoretical work, and to comprise a well-balanced program of basic, applied, conceptual and philosophical presentations. The fall was selected to complement the main ABAI convention held in the spring, and the first meeting was held in the fall of 1984 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
A Special Emphasis on the Future of Behavior Analysis
A guiding philosophy of SEABA is that students are junior colleagues, with an emphasis on the latter portion of the term. Consequently, SEABA strives to keep membership and convention registration fees low to facilitate student attendance. By SEABA tradition, students typically assist in the planning and orchestration of the annual meeting, introduce the invited speakers, and contribute to its scholarly well-being through numerous poster presentations.
Mission for Behavior Analysis
SEABA serves the development of behavior analysis by advancing and reinforcing its scientific underpinning. A SEABA member who served as student introducer, speaker, and president summarized SEABA’s role in the development of behavior analysis as follows:
“SEABA has never sought to influence behavior analysis directly, but its influence is wide, nevertheless. A disproportionate number of JEAB and JABA editors and editorial board members in recent years are SEABA members and alumni. One could argue that the nurturing of students in the science and philosophy of behavior analysis is the organization’s greatest accomplishment.”
The 38th annual SEABA conference was held October 20–22, 2022 in Columbia, SC. More information is available at www.SEABAonline.org.