Applied Animal Behavior SIG Annual Report (2022–2023)

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By Lindsay Mehrkam, Laura Perkins, Erica Feuerbacher, Kimberly Truong, & JoAnna Platzer

The mission of the Applied Animal Behavior (AAB) SIG is to promote applied animal behavior analytic research, set high standards in methods and techniques of animal training, support those in the applied animal behavior field, and promote the well-being of animals in applied settings wherever they are found. This year, the AAB SIG celebrates its 30th year!  

Throughout 2022, the AAB SIG, as an approved ACE provider for BACB CEUs, worked to continue providing virtual continuing education opportunities in the form of a virtual journal club for members. The journal club features researchers who have published work that extends behavior analytic approaches to applied animal behavior issues.  

Throughout the year we also hosted several virtual chats, open to members and non-members, to connect with each other and exchange ideas.  

The AAB SIG is developing a new Experts Directory for members. This directory will serve to connect members who are new to applied animal behavior or new to a specialty within AAB with experts in that specialty. In addition, the SIG provided its members with a comprehensive listing of undergraduate and graduate programs offering applied animal behavior analysis opportunities, as well as a resource listing of publications and CE opportunities in applied animal behavior analysis. 

Each year the SIG offers an annual student research award in honor of Marian Breland Bailey. This year, we also offered our new Diversity Award (established in 2022) for the second year in a row. Both of these awards were presented at the SIG business meeting at the ABAI Convention Denver.  

The 2022 winners for the Marian Breland Bailey award were JoAnna Platzer (paper presentation) and Hannah McGee (poster presentation). The recipient for the Diversity Award was Ran Courant-Morgan.  

Our B. F. Skinner Lecture Series invited speaker was Gareth Arnett with the paper session “Why Animals Fight? Using Principles From Behavioral Ecology to Understand Aggression”.  

The Invited Paper Session speakers were Lindsay Mehrkam and Simon Gadbois. Lindsay Mehrkam’s paper session was “Beyond the Operant Chamber: Behavior Analytic Approaches to Training and Enrichment for Companion Animals.” Simon Gadbois’ paper session was “Motivation in Working Dogs: Problems, Myths, and Forgotten Solutions”.  

Finally, the SIG features a website as well as a Facebook page titled, “Applied Animal Behavior Special Interest Group” with over 2,000 members.  

We look forward to continuing to serve our members and pursue our mission through the 2023-2024 year. 

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