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Editorial: behavioral interventions and considerations.


In this issue, we are pleased to publish four contributions that all focus on the use of behavior analytic theory and procedures in institutions. Two of the articles focus on the prison population, and analyzing the verbal behavior and metacontingencies surrounding how prisoners behave and their likelihood of recidivism. The other two articles focus on using behavioral procedures to provide effective educational systems for use in both higher education and in training practitioners. Hence, we can see the value of using behavior analysis in these articles in terms of the relevance to real-world problems.

Weatherly, Montes, Peters, and Wilson (2013) suggest that we look at gambling in prison populations as a function of escape-maintained behavior. The over-representation of gambling behavior among this population, and of those who gain release (and reentry to the prison system), provides a strong reason to study this behavior. This paper, rightly so, is a call to action to study this problem both generally, and specifically as it applies to prison populations.

Bowman and Travis (2013) present an empirical study of verbal behavior among those who were previously incarcerated, their family members, service providers, and parole officers. Their study leads to the following position: Those who are incarcerated undergo an establishing operation (deprivation) that leads them to try to behave according to the verbal stimuli that are presented (i.e., follow rule-governed behavior). If the verbal stimuli are relatively clear and easy to follow, then the individual receives verbal praise and other reinforcers. If the verbal stimuli are ambiguous or unclear, then the behavior is much more difficult to achieve, and verbal praise and other reinforcers are less likely. In the former condition, recidivism is less likely, and in the latter it is much more likely. Here too, then is an important call to action for further research.

Oliveria, Goyos, and Pear (2013) report on the use of a computer-aided personalized system of instruction (CAPSI) to provide instruction for matching-to-sample training provides an initial comparison of the traditional use of a training manual versus using the manual and CAPSI together. This study is an important addition in that it tackles the issues surrounding the use of technology to provide greater access to behavioral principles and procedures for training purposes, mastery-based criteria, and the mode in which it is delivered. The use of CAPSI has been well-documented as a method of teaching that can be used to teach higher-order thinking skills in higher education. This new application of the technology is an exciting development, and warrants further study.

Finally, Saville, Pope, Truelove, and Williams (2013) provide a needed analysis of the differential effects of behavioral teaching methods for students with different academic preparedness. Specifically, the finding that such a method provides a greater boost for students with lower GPA is good news, since they have further to move up on that scale. Also, the data show that the approach does not differentially harm any of the students' GPA. Hence, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain by using behavioral teaching interventions such as intereaching. (1)

As a whole, we hope that you find these articles to be of interest, and that they spark discussion in the field about the potential for both applications and future research.

Finally, I must thank the following people who made this issue possible: Paul Malanga (Senior Associate Editor), Kate Kellum (Associate Editor), and Richard Hennigan (Copy Editor), and of course our editorial board and guest reviewers. I am very grateful for the hard work and dedication that they demonstrate in their thoughtful contributions and reviews.

(1) As a technical note, readers should know that in the past I have published or collaborated with Joseph Pear, Bryan Saville, and Celso Goyos. In full disclosure, I feel it important to inform our readers that when individuals with whom our editorial board had close professional ties submit manuscripts, those manuscripts are then only considered under the purview of the other editors. In these two cases, only our associate editors sent out the manuscripts for review and made the final decisions on them. Similarly, in cases where our associate editors are in this position, the other associate editor or the lead editor acts as the action editor on those manuscripts.

Darlene E. Crone-Todd

Department of Psychology

Salem State University
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Author:Crone-Todd, Darlene E.
Publication:The Behavior Analyst Today
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 22, 2012
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