2013-14 Events and Colloquia

The Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University hosts presentations each year.

Fall welcome and faculty introduction

Sep. 6, 2013

Undergraduate resource day

Featuring graduate student organizations

Sep. 18, 2013

"Data Security"

Greg Lozeau
Western Michigan University
Office of Information Technology

Sep. 20, 2013

Michigan Autism Conference

Oct. 9 to 11, 2013

Several noteworthy and prominent invited speakers present at this conference.

Career in Sales

Oliva Sitto
Total Quality Logistics

Grab some pizza and meet recruiters from TQL to learn more about how your psychology degree can fit with a career in sales.

"Preclinical Investigation of Behavioral and Pharmacological Interventions for Tobacco Addition"

Mark LeSage, Ph.D.,
Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation
Senior investigator

Oct. 11, 2013

Cigarette smoking and other forms of tobacco use are associated with over 400,000 deaths per year in the U.S.. Despite the availability of interventions for smoking cessation, their efficacy is limited and better interventions are needed. This presentation discussed the fundamentals of modeling smoking behavior in nonhumans for the purpose of evaluating behavioral and pharmacological interventions for smoking cessation. Also discussed were, findings from preclinical studies in rats that examine the effects of alternative non-drug reinforcement, vaccines and nicotine-specific antibodies and tobacco control policies being considered by the Food and Drug Administration.

"A Verbal Behavior Account of Analogical Reasoning"

Caio Miguel, Ph.D.,
California State University, Sacramento

Oct. 14, 2013

This talk described the equivalence-equivalence model of analogical reasoning and a novel procedure that involves training relational tacts of stimulus compounds to establish simple propositional analogies. Our data suggested that relational tact training may be sufficient to produce novel tacts, analogical reasoning and component equivalence relations. Implications for future research and practice were discussed.

"So, You Want to Go to Graduate School!"

Bette Ludwig
Western Michigan University
Undergraduate Advisor

The psychology undergraduate advising office shared tips on how to get into graduate school and how to become a competitive applicant. Faculty and current graduate students also spoke on a number of topics and experiences regarding admission into our graduate programs

"Applications of Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior to Older Adults"

Jon Baker, Ph.D.
Southern Illinois University
Associate Professor

Nov. 15, 2013

The presence and impact of age-related language deficits have been acknowledged both the field within the field of behavior analysis (e.g., Gross, Fuqua, and Merritt, 2013; Skinner, 1957; Sundberg 1991) as well as the broader field of gerontology (Cohen-Mansfield and Werner, 1997), though relatively little research has focused on remediation of those deficits. This dearth of intervention research is partly related to the notion that age-related language deficits are the result of biological processes. However, there is growing support that environmental variables can and do play a role in language deficits among older adults. This talk reviewed data from a series of studies aimed at the assessment and treatment of age-related language deficits among older adults, as well as discuss directions and implications of future research.

"Performance Management and Behavior Analysis at M&T Bank"

Richard S. Gold 
M&T Bank
Executive Vice President

Dec. 6, 2013

Mr. Richard Gold is an executive vice president and heads M&T Bank’s Business Banking, Mortgage, Collections and Western Business Operations and is responsible for 2,000 employees working across 13 states. Since 2001 Gold has been working with Aubrey Daniels International, a behavioral consulting firm, to develop and implement performance management systems based on the principles of behavior analysis throughout his division. Gold spoke about the role behavior analysis has played at M&T Bank, as well as his own experience getting involved in behavior analysis.

"Ethics in Behavior Analysis: Brown Bag Lunch Series"

Dr. Wayne Fuqua,
Western Michigan University

Feb. 3, 2014

Topics will include ethics in the workplace and in the field of behavior analysis, as well as answering questions about ethical dilemmas and the gray areas we may encounter.

*Ethics CEU's will be available

Research Day

Feb. 14, 2014

"Latent Responses and the Duration of Stimulus Control"

Thom Ratkos
Jessica E. Frieder, Ph.D.

"Evoking Emotion in a Laboratory Setting: Preliminary Data on the Relationship Between Personality Psychopathology, Environmental Context, and State Emotion Dysregulation"

Lauren Borges
Amy Naugle, Ph.D.

"The Effects of the Temporal Placement of Feedback on Performance"

Nate Betchel
Heather McGee, Ph.D.
Bradley Huitema, Ph.D.
Alyce Dickinson, Ph.D.

"The Evaluation of Two Feedback Schedules on Teaching Performance of Undergraduate Applied Behavior Analysis Students Delivering Direct Instruction Lessons"

Elian Aljadeff-Abergel
Stephanie Peterson, Ph.D.
Mariah Cole
Kristin Hagen
Becky Wiskirschen

"Using Behavioral Interventions Among Unionized Workers to Increase Attendance"

Marlies Hagge
Ron Van Houten, Ph.D.

Examining Barriers to Treatment of Maternal Depression in a Primary Care Setting

Jennifer Kuhn
Julie Huston
Chelsea Sage
Carmelita Foster
Amy Damashek, Ph.D.
C. Richard Spates, Ph.D.

"The Neurobehavioral Consequences of Chronic Atrazine Exposure during Early Development in Male Female Sprague-Dawley Rats"

Jennifer Walters
Lisa Baker, Ph.D.

"Identifying and Teaching Children who do not Demonstrate Repertoires Critical for Academic Success"

Joseph Shane
Jennifer Mrljak
Sarah Lichtenberger
Katie Ouellette 
Richard Malott, Ph.D.

"Motivational Interviewing an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A Stepped-Care Approach to the Treatment of Adolescent Depression"

Rachel Petts
Julissa Duenas
Scott Gaynor, Ph.D.

"Training Giant African Rats to Find People: An Initial Demonstration"

Kate LaLonde 
Amanda Mahoney, Ph.D.
Tim Edwards, Ph.D.
Christopher Cox
Bart Weetjens
Amy Durgin, Ph.D.
Alan Poling, Ph.D.

"Starting Your Own Michigan LLC"

Dan Sundberg
Western Michigan University
Ph.D. Graduate Student

March 28, 2014

Thinking about doing private consulting work or even starting your own small business? Whether you work with the developmentally disabled, in the clinical setting, or in the business world this can be a very attractive option. This brown bag gave options for setting up a small business, and specifically how to start a Michigan Limited Liability Company. Discussed were the ins and outs of this process as well as pros and cons of various business structures. Included was an open discussion on what it means to be self-employed.

Department of psychology Awards celebration

April 11, 2014

"Stimulus Control Among Adults with Cognitive or Developmental Disabilities"

Jonathan Baker, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Associate Professor
Southern Illinois University

June 30, 2014

Functional analyses and function-based treatment are often predicated on effective stimulus control. In functional analyses, successful multi-element designs require that, as conditions rapidly change, stimuli effectively evoke the response so that the response can contact the contingency. Once the function of behavior has been determined, treatments like functional communication training may require signaled extinction components to ensure that new responses do not decrease in strength when caregivers are unable to provide reinforcing stimuli. This presentation covered data from two studies in Baker's lab. The first was a study evaluating the impact of researcher-programmed discriminative stimuli on functional analysis results among older adults with neurocognitive disorders. The second was a study evaluating the role of visual and auditory stimuli on a functional communication treatment, with periods of extinction for both the communicative response and the challenging behavior, for adults with developmental disabilities.

"Establishing Verbal Capabilities for Secondary Students with Reading Delays"

Denise Ross, Ph.D.
DePaul University
Associate Professor 

July 7, 2014

Verbal capabilities are developmental stages that enable a learner to acquire more complex, advanced verbal behavior. Research suggests that identifying and teaching verbal capabilities, and their subcomponents when they are missing, can facilitate the acquisition of more advanced verbal stages. For example, teaching a non-vocal student to match auditory stimuli can facilitate the acquisition of speech when cannot be acquired incidentally or with direct instruction. Ross discussed verbal capabilities and reader-writer repertoires for secondary students with reading delays. She described the characteristics of secondary students with reading delays and discussed verbal capabilities that may potentially help them acquire reading comprehension. She described a research program designed to identify and teach missing verbal capabilities for secondary students with reading delays.

"Behavior Analysis for Neurocognitive Disorders: Improving Health, Independence, and Quality of Life"

Claudia Drossel, Ph.D.
University of Michigan 
Postdoctoral Fellow

July 31, 2014

Many individuals who have cognitive losses, due to acquired brain injuries or degenerative diseases, experience difficulties in everyday functioning and social interactions that would not be predicted based upon the neurodegenerative process alone. This excess disability is commonly a function of modifiable factors. While the effects of modifiable factors on health, maintenance of independence, and quality of life are increasingly recognized in the general population and targeted through public health promotion and disease prevention programs (e.g., stress management, diet and exercise regimens), programs to prevent the excess disability commonly associated with neurocognitive disorders have not been adequately developed and disseminated. Behavior analysis is uniquely suited to fill this gap: The continuum of behavior analytic assessment and intervention strategies–basic, applied, and clinical–supports a unique and functional understanding of cognitive losses and associated behavioral and emotional changes and of the specific factors that potentially decrease an individual’s ability to maintain participation in a variety of life domains. Behavior analysis promotes individually tailored, collaborative and innovative treatment strategies and suggests a new vision for improving the health, independence and quality of life of the many individuals with neurocognitive losses and the people who care about them.

"Contingent Payments as a Treatment for Severe Behavioral Health Problems"

Anthony DeFulio, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Assistant Professor

Aug. 4, 2014

There is broad consensus that health-related behaviors are critical targets for modern medicine. This provides a fantastic opportunity for behavior analysts to improve the human condition. The general approach is to deliver desirable consequences contingent upon healthy behavior change. This approach is branded contingency management. Over the last seven years DeFulio has applied contingency management to address problems of drug abuse and medication adherence. These problems jeopardize individual well being and are a source of substantial costs for our society. This presentation included a brief description of the training history that led DeFulio to his current line of research. There was a review of the basic procedures and evidence base for contingency management in the treatment of drug abuse. The core of the presentation featured descriptions of controlled trials of employment-based contingency management. This work has been the focus of his clinical research, and includes drug use and medication adherence targets. He described his next steps. He recently began work on a smartphone-based medication adherence intervention for HIV+ drug users and hopes to develop a nationwide system for delivering contingency management treatment to drug abusers.