ABAI 2020 Goes Virtual!

Authored By: Angelica Aguirre, PhD, BCBA-D

Minnesota State University, Mankato

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) made the incredibly difficult decision to move the 2020 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. to a virtual format due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This will be my 10th consecutive year attending the annual convention and I was definitely excited to celebrate in a new location. However, the health and safety of all attendees should be and is the main priority of ABAI.

Despite the switch to a virtual format, I am still looking forward to attending the largest behavior analysis conference from the comfort of my home with over 300 sessions, poster presentations, and workshops available. Skinner (1974) defined visual imagining as ‘‘seeing in the absence of the thing seen’’ (p. 91) which can develop through respondent and operant conditioning. I will definitely be engaging in a lot of visual imagining this Memorial Day weekend. I’ll imagine the 10+ reunions with friends and colleagues in the hotel lobby on Friday evening, walking over 10 miles through the hotel and convention center over four days, enjoying late night dinners and bar conversations with old friends and new, attending the Verbal Behavior (VB) SIG business meeting, sneaking in to a few reunions, looking through all the books in the ABAI Bookstore, networking at the Saturday Expo, and going to bed at 3am only to wake up at 7am to attend an early morning session.

For new and returning ABAI convention attendees, looking through program can be a grueling task! As a verbal behavior researcher my convention schedule typically revolves around attending sessions related to Verbal Behavior. If you are like me, look no further! Below you will find direct links to all of the VB-related invited talks, symposia, and posters. If you are interested in attending a business meeting, make sure to stop by the VB SIG meeting on Sunday May 24th from 7-7:50pm EDT.

I hope you all enjoy the FIRST virtual ABAI annual convention. You will definitely find me watching Dr. Alan Kazdin’s Presidential Scholar Address Saturday evening in yoga pants on my couch with a cocktail, but I am hoping those same reinforcing properties will be there as if I were listening at the main exhibit hall in Washington’s D.C. convention center.

B.F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #239

Title: How Children Learn Early Communicative Gestures

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 3-3:50pm EDT

Presenter: Elena Nicoladis (University of Alberta)

B.F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #181

Title: Keys to School Success: Bridging the Outcomes of the Boehm Test of Basic Concepts-3 (BTBC-3) to Language Development

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 10-10:50am EDT

Presenter: Ann Boehm (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Invited Paper Session #54

Title: Recent Advances in Relational Frame Theory: Implications for Education and Clinical Behavior Analysis

Date/Time: Saturday 5/23 12-12:50pm EDT

Presenter: Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (Ghent University)

Business Meeting #131

Interest Group: Verbal Behavior SIG

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 7-7:50pm EDT

Symposium #22

Title: Three Examples of Autistic Stimulus Control Verbal Behavior

Date/Time: Saturday 5/23 10-10:50am EDT

Symposium #58

Title: Conditional Discrimination, Derived Relations, and Efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Training in Older Adults

Date/Time: Saturday 5/23 12-12:50pm EDT

Symposium #60

Title: A Behavioral Approach to Teaching Writing Behaviors

Date/Time: Saturday 5/23 12-12:50pm EDT

Symposium #64

Title: Topics in Verbal Behavior: Winners of the VBSIG Research Competition Present Their Findings

Date/Time: Saturday 5/23 12-12:50pm EDT

Symposium #85

Title: Assessing and Training Complex Behaviour (Classification and Analogy) Using Relational Frame Theory

Date/Time: Saturday 5/23 3-3:50pm EDT

Symposium #89

Title: Behavioral and Verbal Behavioral Cusps: Research and Practical Applications

Date/Time: Saturday 5/23 3-4:50pm EDT

Symposium #153

Title: Research on Imagining and Problem Solving: Investigation into Private Events and Complex Behavior

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 8-8:50am EDT

Symposium #154

Title: Teaching the Use of Different Speech-Generating Device Displays to Individuals with Autism During Natural Routines

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 8-9:50am EDT

Symposium #157

Title: Stimulus Classes, Transfer of Function, and Verbal Behavior

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 8-9:50am EDT

Symposium #168

Title: So What’s the Function? The Application of Behavior Analysis to Ethical Standards and Belief Systems

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 9-9:50am EDT

Symposium #213

Title: Investigating Complex Bi-Directional Relations and Joint Attention in Both Monolingual English and English Language Learners

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 12-12:50pm EDT

Symposium #214

Title: Interbehaviorism and Psychological Events as a Field of Interactants: A Possible Future Path for Behavior Science

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 12-12:50pm EDT

Symposium #256

Title: Advances in Increasing Verbal Behavior Children With and Without Developmental Disabilities

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 4-5:50pm EDT

Symposium #273

Title: Changing the Unchangeable: Treatment Advances in Relational Frame Theory Can Influence Global Measures of Intellectual and Adaptive Functioning in Children

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 5-6:50pm EDT

Symposium #285

Title: Telling Secrets: Behavior-Analytic Investigations of Private Events

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 6-6:50pm EDT

Symposium #319

Title: Multiple Exemplar Instruction and its Implications on Rate of Acquisition of Textual, Vocal, and Written Responses and Joint Stimulus Control

Date/Time: Monday 5/25 8-8:50am EDT

Symposium #340

Title: Putting the “ACT” in ACTion: Behavior-Analytic Efforts to Improve Applications of Acceptance and Commitment Training

Date/Time: Monday 5/25 9-10:50am EDT

Symposium #353

Title: Pushing Language Relations to the Edge: Advanced Investigations of Derived Relational Responding as a Generalized Operant

Date/Time: Monday 5/25 10-10:50am EDT

Symposium #384

Title: Expanding the Summit: Advancements in PEAK Relational Training System Applications

Date/Time: Monday 5/25 12-12:50pm EDT

Symposium #450

Title: Verbal Behavior: From Private to Public

Date/Time: Monday 5/25 5-5:50pm EDT

Paper Session #369

Title: Effect of Multi-Step Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention on Three Partner-Directed Communicative Behaviors During Play in Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 5-5:20pm EDT

Paper Session #373

Title: Relational Autoclitics of Order and the Analysis of Language

Date/Time: Monday 5/25 12-12:20pm EDT

Poster Session #75

Date/Time: Saturday 5/23 1-3pm EDT

Posters: 103, 105, 107-110

Poster Session #226

Date/Time: Sunday 5/24 1-3pm EDT

Posters: 89-97

Poster Session #392

Date/Time: Monday 5/25 1-3pm EDT

Posters: 83-89


Dr. Angelica Aguirre is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She has worked in the field of ABA and autism/learning disabilities for over 12 years. Her research focuses on evaluating basic and complex verbal behavior, private events (i.e., thinking and problem-solving strategies), derived relational responding, and social skills. Her research has been published in a variety of ABA journals and currently sits on the editorial board of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and The Psychological Record. She will start co-editing the Verbal Behavior Matters Blog with Dr. Rocio Rosales beginning this month.