Behavioral Development SIG Annual Report 2023

By Gladys Williams, Chair

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 83 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 now has up to 78 members! We hope it will succeed in reaching a wider audience and increasing the SIG membership: and our web page: 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. In 2022 three students were rewarded with $400 each to pay ABAI membership and related expenses. Currently, we are waiting for university ABA department chairs to nominate students for the 2023 Jack Gewirtz Award.

The DEV SIG is represented in the ABAI annual convention program in 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 2022 annual convention hosted 12 posters, 3 papers, 1 panel, and 8 symposia. We had an interesting B.F. Skinner Lecture titled, “Reimagining Solutions to the Persistence of Gun Violence in K-12 Schools,” by Sonali Rajan, an 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.” The 2023 annual convention hosted 15 posters, 8 symposia, 1 paper, and 4 workshops. In addition, we hosted a series of prominent speakers. The Skinner Lectures Series invited Marlene Suk and the title of her presentation was: “How Behavior Evolves, and Why it Matters.” The International Invited address was for Francisco Ruiz Jimenez, and he spoke about “Process-Based Analysis of Diffusion and Self-Based Exercises in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”; and the Tutorial in the Area of Behavioral Development was addressed by Dr. Jeanne Marie Speackman and her title was: “Teaching to Condition.” These sessions well represent 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 are very much appreciated. 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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