Education Events at Virtual SQAB and ABAI 2021

I’d like to thank Dr. Traci Cihon for her comments on an earlier draft of this blog post.

This year marks the first virtual meeting of the Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior (SQAB) and the second virtual meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). While you have likely endured a year of virtual meetings already, you won’t want to miss out on these events. For tips on how to make the most of your virtual conference experience, see our blog post about last year’s conference (Swisher & Cihon, 2020, May 19).

SQAB and ABAI are offering a great lineup of speakers on various topics, and abbreviated schedules for both conferences will be included below. The live start times for the SQAB and ABAI events are listed in GMT-4 Eastern Daylight Time (New York; time zone converter), but you can also watch the recorded presentations later. ABAI presentations will be available to watch until June 9, 2021.

Three women are sitting in chairs leading a panel discussion in front of a group of women
[2] Panel discussion

Virtual SQAB Conference May 22-23

Tony Nevin and Michael Lamport Commons started SQAB in 1978. Behavior analysts often present programmatic lines of research and describe their findings in terms of quantitative models and overarching theories at SQAB. One of the goals of any field is to understand the behavior-environment relations well enough to describe them with mathematical laws (see also Critchfield & Reed, 2009; Marr, 1989), and you’ll learn more about the laws of operant and Pavlovian (or respondent) behavior here. 

The full SQAB program is available on their website, and some suggested video tutorials and readings are included below for your convenience. The general tutorial suggestions are included for those attendees who are new(er) to SQAB, and the paper suggestions are included for all attendees who want to read the presenters’ recent publications on similar topics. The SQAB single-track program offers a mixture of basic (e.g., Orsini; see Orsini et al. (2020)), applied (e.g., Fisher; Owen et al. (2020)), and translational (e.g., Reed; Jarmolowicz et al. (2019)) presentations. Continuing education credits are available for some of the SQAB presentations.


Start Time Saturday, May 22 Start Time Sunday, May 23
10:00 am President’s Introduction

Christopher Podlesnik

10:15 am Effort discounting: Recent advances and remaining challenges

Wojciech Bialaszek

10:30 am Sometimes shallow and unsystematic: Examining the qualitative differences in individual delay discounting

Elise Furrebøe



Discounting – Len Green

Bialaszek et al. (2019)



Delayed discounting – Amy Odum

Furrebøe (2020)

10:55 am Choosing what to do: Observations from a psycho-motor laboratory, including the discovery of pre-crastination

David Rosenbaum

11:10 am Using quantitative models to promote rapid, generalized, and durable decreases in destructive behavior in children with autism

Wayne Fisher



Choice – Billy Baum

Rosenbaum et al. (2019)



Introduction to quantitative analysis of behavior – Randy Grace

Owen et al. (2020)

11:35 am Poster spotlights/Nevin awards 11:50 am Poster spotlights/Nevin awards
12:00 pm Poster Session 12:15 pm Poster Session
1:30 pm Much ado about zeros: Recent thoughts on demand analyses

Mikhail Koffarnus

1:45 pm Applying behavioral economics to public health crises: Historical precedence and translational promise

Derek Reed



Modeling in behavior analysis – Jack Marr

Koffarnus et al. (2015)



Quantifying risk – Robert MacPhail

Jarmolowicz et al. (2019)

2:10 pm Hormonal regulation of cost/benefit decision making in male and female rats

Caitlin Orsini

2:25 pm The dynamics of economic behavior

Ian Krajbich



Behavior systems – Bill Timberlake

Orsini et al. (2020)



Behavioral economics – Steven Hursh

Konovalav and Krajbich (2016)

3:05 pm The maker movement in the operant laboratory: Recording a wide range of response variation

Rogelio Escobar

3:20 pm The “i” in time: A subjective conceptualization and measurement of time perspective

Zena Mello



Behavioral variability – Mike Perone

Variability of the operant – Allen Neuringer

Benavides and Escobar (2017)



Timing – Jennifer Higa

Mello (2019)

3:45 pm Discrete choice experiments: Modeling choice of aggregated groups

Jon Friedel

4:00 pm Examining extinction and relapse using Amazon Mechanical Turk

Christopher Podlesnik



The matching law – Gene Heyman

Multilevel modeling – Brady DeHart and Jon Friedel

Foreman et al. (2021)



Relapse – Tim Shahan

Wathen and Podlesnik (2018)

Nevin et al. (2017)

4:40 pm Sleep, unpredictability and behavioral choice: You are not the only one with problems

Divya Sitaraman

4:40 pm Business meetings and award presentations


Ecology – Elizabeth Kyonka

Chen et al. (2017)

5:20 pm Choosing a future from a murky past

Sarah Cowie

5:30 pm Meeting ends


Using the past to predict the future – Sarah Cowie

Cowie and Davison (2020)

To register for SQAB and become a member, complete the online form here. Also look out for publications from these presenters in an upcoming issue of Behavioural Processes.

A man is seated and speaking into a microphone in front of a group of seated observers
[3] Group discussion

Education Events at the Virtual 47th Annual ABAI Convention May 28 – May 31

ABAI is the professional organization for theoretical, basic, applied, and practicing behavior analysts. The annual conference is the largest meeting for behavior analysis, although there are several other international, regional, and state conferences throughout the year.

There are 98 events related to education at ABAI this year: 13 education-related workshops, 40 symposia, 14 paper sessions, 19 poster sessions, and 12 panel discussions. Workshops require a separate registration process and will occur live on Thursday and Friday. Symposia, paper sessions, poster sessions, and panels are included with the regular conference registration and will occur live on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. To register for the conference and see the full program, visit the ABAI convention homepage. Additional information on continuing education credits for these events is available here


The following education events are grouped thematically, and each presenter also specifically indicated their target audience within the linked event details. Double check that the event you plan to attend is still scheduled as there have been some recent schedule changes.

Best practices in preschool and K-12. Practitioners, researchers, and educators interested in K-12 education will want to check out the following events. There are several events on systems approaches to education, including two workshops (W18 and W44) and a symposium (470) on positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), two symposia (67 and 147) on the Morningside model of generative instruction, and a paper session (132) and two symposia (295 and 305) on fluency and goal setting in precision teaching. All learners can use and benefit from self-management techniques, and presenters in a workshop (W6) and a symposium (113) will help practitioners teach students with and without autism to apply self-management interventions in the classroom and at home. 

Several symposia and workshop presenters will describe how some evidence-based instruction techniques (117) help students learn (e.g., via behavioral skills training 190 and equivalence-based instruction 360) early numeracy (W33), literacy skills (34), and dance (199). Although there are many effective, evidence-based instructional methods that educators can use, adoption rates are low. Speakers at a symposium (159) will help practitioners working in schools to collaborate with and coach teachers to use evidence-based practices in the classroom, and a panel discussion (271) will help practitioners working in schools to assess the barriers to evidence-based instruction adoption. 

Selecting the proper learn units for improvement can enhance individual academic skills and help young learners succeed in their next steps. De Boer will provide a workshop to help attendees prepare children with autism for kindergarten (W29), and Pistoljevic will present evidence on the effectiveness of STEAM workshops during COVID for preschool children (312). To improve academic skills, learners must emit more on-task behavior and less off-task behavior. Toward that end, Cohen will discuss using an app in the classroom to promote on-task behavior (135). Daly will present a workshop on functional behavior assessment in schools (W7), and Wang will discuss a functional analysis of precursors to challenging behavior in a high school student (379). 

OBM in schools. Behavior analysts interested in organizational behavior management (OBM) and education will want to check out the following events. Robertson (203) will discuss the effects of system changes that were implemented to improve graduation rates in a paper session. Dietrich and Pinkelman (321) will discuss how Gilbert’s Behavioral Engineering Model can be applied to improve student outcomes. Several presenters will provide information about the good behavior game, nudges for learning and social skills, resilience during COVID, and multidisciplinary behavioral insights in a symposium (406). Bruce is giving two workshops (W8 and W35) on engineering schools and clinics for success, and there’s a later symposium on the same topic (449).

Five students sit at desks in a classroom
[4] Learners in a classroom
Collaboration and barriers to treatment. Researchers and practitioners will want to attend these events on collaboration and barriers to treatment. Practitioners of behavior analytic interventions rarely work alone, and there are several events about working with other health care and school-based professionals to serve individual clients. Kleinert and Levine (W4) discuss how to enhance behavior analytic services in schools through both in-person and telehealth collaboration. Similarly, there’s a panel discussion about school-based behavior analysts’ experience in collaborating with school district employees (106) and an interdisciplinary project about teaching behavior analysts and school psychologists to work together effectively to improve outcomes for learners with disabilities (398). 

Interventions require procedural fidelity to be effective, and caregivers are an integral aspect of treatment delivery. Accordingly, panel speakers will focus on collaboration with parents (246), and researchers in another symposium will discuss caregiver training as part of service delivery (69). 

Part of collaboration involves identifying and working to attenuate barriers to implementation, which can make otherwise effective interventions seem ineffective. Some of those barriers for school-based interventions will be discussed in three workshops by Docter (W23), Groves and Joslyn (W24), and Zaheer and Syed (W45). Some of these barriers for parents will be discussed in a panel (475).

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). All behavior analysts will want to attend the diversity, equity, and inclusion events. Behavior analysts will describe the effectiveness of using behavior analytic interventions in schools such as the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling (CABAS) in China (232 and 379), Italy (232), and Qatar (362). Several researchers will discuss how to assess social validity in the classroom (237) and how to use behavior analysis in online higher education courses while practicing cultural humility (457). Miranda will explain how to use trauma informed practices in the classroom for learners with adverse childhood experiences (383), and several additional researchers will discuss how trauma can contribute to problem behavior (221). Conference attendees will also want to see a popular panel discussion about parent barrier behaviors to treatment (475) and Panesar’s symposium on behavior analytic treatment outcomes for learners diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders in Kenya (38).

Telehealth. The pandemic presented challenges for educational institutions as well as practicing behavior analysts and families who were used to receiving uninterrupted face-to-face services. Some service providers opted for telehealth consultations, and several presenters will discuss how this telehealth service delivery model functioned for families (45 and 390) and students in schools (148, 392, and 480) for learning academic skills. Researchers will also compare the effectiveness of in-person and telehealth service delivery (280).

A woman is working on her computer, and her daughter is upside down on a couch
[5] Telehealth consultation
Differential reinforcement and verbal behavior. Practitioners and researchers will want to see these events on differential reinforcement and teaching verbal operants. Bukszpan will describe how to build rapport with pre-session pairing to improve learner outcomes (49), and several speakers will describe the effectiveness of different error-correction procedures for listener behavior (142). Hise and Tacosik will describe examples of behavior contracting and a token economy with differential reinforcement to meet academic goals (365). Practitioners can use matrix training (36) and systematic or technology-aided instruction (213) to teach verbal behavior to learners. Baldonado and Sun will discuss naming and relational frame theory with respect to reading and mathematics outcomes (211), and Puchetti will discuss how an instructional readiness procedure decreased challenging behavior and permitted learners to integrate into their family units (297).

Interventions in distance and higher education. Practitioners, researchers, and faculty interested in higher education will want to check out the following events. There are three symposia on teaching online using behavior analytic techniques (35, 210, and 300) and one on student procrastination (419). Presenters in the symposium (210) and paper session (299) will also discuss teaching learners how to wear face masks. Speakers at two symposia will discuss interventions for teaching academic skills to undergraduate students such as studying and writing emails (22) as well as public speaking and how to interview for jobs (275).

Graduate programs, certification, and training. Practitioners, researchers, and faculty interested in higher education will want to check out the following events. Practitioners will want to attend Olive’s workshop on special education law and ethical issues (W34), and school-based practitioners will want to see Petri (151) discuss a virtual program for teaching educators to manage disruptive classroom behavior. Undergraduate students and working professionals who are thinking about attending graduate school will want to catch the symposium on looking for quality indicators of ABA programs (324), the panel on transitioning from a school-based professional to PhD student (368), the panel on ABAI accreditation for master’s and doctoral programs and verified course sequences (384), and the paper session to learn about advice and career trajectories of professionals in behavior analysis who pursued certification (484). Part of graduate training necessarily involves contributing to the field via publication, so students and professionals will want to listen to the panels on publishing (418) and the peer review process (109). The general rule of thumb is to review three papers for every one paper that you publish because three reviewers will have evaluated your published paper. Events on research for students and practitioners include Kinney’s paper session on improving visual inspection of data (73), the symposium about evaluating practitioner intervention programs for challenging behavior (200), Skinner’s paper session on alternating treatments designs (292), and Page and Griffith’s quality standards for evaluating single-case designs (367). Graduate students who want to remain in academia will want to attend the panel on finding success after graduation for more information on interviewing (291). Academics need research grants to continue their lines of research and to remain employed by their institution, so graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early career researchers will want to attend the panel on how to obtain a research grant (141).

A sign at a march says "There is NO Planet B"
[6] Global challenges
BFSR Events at ABAI 

The Behaviorists for Social Responsibility (BFSR) is involved in several events at ABAI. You can check out current BFSR research at the poster session [91(52)] on Saturday at 1 pm, in three symposia (229, 278, and 307) on Sunday between 11 am and 5:50 pm, and at the panel (462) with our own former blogger and sometimes guest editor Traci Cihon on Monday at 4 pm. If you’re interested in getting started with BFSR, you can chat with poster presenters at ABAI Expo [11(96)] on Friday from 8-10 pm and attend the BFSR business meeting (331) on Sunday at 7 pm. The Behavior and Social Issues editorial board meeting (177) is on Saturday from 7-7:50 pm. 

ABAI Expo and the reunions aren’t listed in the schedule below, but they occur on Friday from 8-10 pm and Sunday from 8-10 pm, respectively. As a reminder, all live events are listed by their GMT-4 Eastern Daylight Time start times.

Start Time Thursday, May 27 Friday, May 28 Saturday, May 29 Sunday, May 30 Monday, May 31
9:00 am Workshops

W18, W23, W24, W29, W33, W34, W35 

22, 34, 3536 190, 199, 200, 203 360, 362, 365, 367, 368, 379
10:00 am 38, 45, 49 210, 211, 213 383, 384, 390, 392
11:00 am 67, 69 221, 229, 232 398, 406
12:00 pm 73 237, 246 418, 419
1:00 pm Workshops

W44, W45

Poster Sessions

89, 90, 91, 91(52), 93, 94, 95, 97

Poster Sessions

254, 255, 256, 258, 261, 262

Poster Sessions

429, 433, 434, 435, 436, 437

2:00 pm
3:00 pm 106, 109, 113, 117  271, 275, 278, 280 449, 457
4:00 pm Workshops

W4, W6, W7, W8 

132 291, 292, 295, 297 462, 470
5:00 pm 135, 141, 142, 147, 148, 151 299, 300, 305, 307, 312 475, 480, 484
6:00 pm 159 321, 324
7:00 pm 177 SIGs and journals meet

326, 331

With all the events provided by SQAB and ABAI, everyone should be able to fill their weekend with all the cutting-edge research and lively discussions with colleagues that they would experience with the in-person conferences. Even if you can’t attend the live presentations, you’ll be able to access all the great content from ABAI for the next 6 weeks.

Image credits:

  1. Image provided courtesy of Christina Morillo under the Pexels license
  2. Image provided courtesy of Dani Hart under the Pexels license
  3. Image provided courtesy of Matheus Bertelli under the Pexels license
  4. Image provided courtesy of RODNAE Productions under the Pexels license
  5. Image provided courtesy of Ketut Subiyanto under the Pexels license
  6. Image provided courtesy of Markus Spiske under the Pexels license