2017-18 Events and Colloquia

The Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University hosts presentations and a variety of events each year.

ABA and Peace Corps

David Eisenhart, M.A., BCBA, RPCV
Sr. Program Manager
Logan Center Inc.

Sept. 22, 2017

This talk is about the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer in a foreign country and the different experiences you are able to gain. I will also talk about unique opportunities you would have as a Peace Corps volunteer to help others outside of the USA and the impact you can have on the lives of parents, caregivers, children, and professionals with your experience and expertise. I will also share the life changing impact living abroad in a third world country can have on you as a person and a professional. I will share the unique experiences you will encounter as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Finally I will talk about some of the unforeseen difficulties that you may have when you are living abroad and serving as a behavior analyst and a volunteer representing the United States.

How can behavior analysts account for structural regularities in verbal behavior (i.e., grammar)?

Dave Palmer, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer
Smith College

Sept. 29, 2017

As the focus of discussion, I would like to ask whether basic behavioral principles are sufficient to account for the subtleties of grammar.  For example, (following Pinker) why do we find "I gave the library the manuscript" to be fine, but we find "I donated the library the manuscript" to be odd, or even ungrammatical? Can we find behavioral translations for standard concepts like agent, action, object, and indirect object, or the more abstract concepts like subject and predicate? I will suggest that the correlated nonverbal behavior of the speaker (i.e., the cascade of discriminative responses to the verbal and nonverbal context) is a fruitful, but experimentally intractable, source of stimulus control for on-going verbal behavior, but whether it can take the place of grammatical concepts is surely open to debate.

A behavioral interpretation of aesthetics

Dave Palmer, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer
Smith College

Sept. 29, 2017

Perhaps there are phylogenetic reasons why we find some things beautiful, but what explains acquired tastes? I will explore the hypothesis that “aesthetic responses” entail Skinner’s concepts of multiple control and saltations in response strength. We appreciate most those stimuli that evoke behavior that was already at partial strength, typically as the consequence of the combined effect of a panorama of other stimuli. We find texts incomprehensible when relevant responses have little strength and boring when relevant responses are at high strength. Poetry is commonly judged more beautiful than prose because it exploits multiple sources of control—cadence, rhyme, thematic relations—to strengthen an otherwise weak response. When the relevant textual stimulus is encountered, the jump in response strength is therefore considerable and stands out against the background of other textual responses. An analogous account can be offered for art, music, dance, and sport. Experience in a domain greatly enriches the web of multiple controlling variables, and the connoisseur finds beauty in subtleties to which the rest of us are insensitive. Thus the novice enjoys the thumping rhythms of the poetry of Poe, while the literary critic finds beauty in the esoteric, multi-layered literary allusions of James Joyce.

How do we train lay providers in low resource settings? A closer look at the apprenticeship model of training and supervision

Laura Murray, Ph.D.
Alumni Achievement Award Recipient 2017
Associate Scientist, Clinical Psychology
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Oct. 13, 2017

This brown bag presentation will present the apprenticeship model for lay counselor training and supervision in mental health treatments in LMIC, developed and used in a range of mental health intervention studies conducted over the last decade in various low-resource settings. It will include a description of the elements of this approach, the underlying logic, and provide examples drawn from our experiences working in 12 countries, with over 100 lay counselors. Methods to assess fidelity within this model will be reviewed, as well as ratings to track competency.

Global mental health: current work and future directions

Laura Murray, Ph.D.
Alumni Achievement Award Recipient 2017
Associate Scientist, Clinical Psychology
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Oct. 13, 2017

This presentation will use the conceptual model of Proctor et al., to describe various implementation science strategies for global mental health in low-resource settings, highlighting projects in Zambia with traumatized children, and Iraq and Myanmar/Thailand with torture affected adult populations.

Undergraduate Research Colloquium and Practicum Fair

Oct. 17, 2017

Learn about opportunities to fulfill psychology general or behavioral major research and practicum requirements.

A historical case study of frontotemporal tbi: mental status, medications, and gage

Alan Lewandowski, Ph.D., FACPN
Clinical Assistant Professor WMed Psychiatry
Department and Critical Care Surgery, Trama Services

Oct. 20, 2017

This presentation will familiarize psychology faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates students interested in neuroscience and functional neuroanatomy with the critical facts of the case of Phineas Gage, one of the most frequently cited cases from 19th century medical literature and the first in a series of famous case studies involving the brain and behavior, through first-hand information that includes photographs from the accident site, Gage’s skull, the tamping bar, interactive images of his injury, and accounts of those who witnessed the accident and cared for Gage during his recovery and later in his life. The medications and medical procedures employed to ensure his survival and the implications for behavioral changes after injury to the prefrontal cortex and its pathways will be discussed.

Radical behaviorism at 72

Tim Hackenberg, Ph.D.
Professor
Reed College

Nov.11, 2017

Skinner’s (1945) essay, An Operational Analysis of Psychological Terms, planted the roots of Radical Behaviorism. Although the paper was not long—roughly eight journal pages—it was remarkable in scope. It not only included a cogent analysis of private events and self-knowledge, but also outlined an approach to science as social process that was well ahead of its time. These topics were later fleshed out in more detail, but the distinctive characteristics of Radical Behaviorism were evident in the 1945 essay. We will read and discuss Skinner’s 1945 essay and explore some of its still-current implications.

Social behavior: a new frontier for behavior analysis

Tim Hackenberg, Ph.D.
Professor
Reed College

Nov. 11, 2017

Social behavior is a topic of enormous scientific importance that spans disciplines from neuroscience to anthropology. While the topic has received a good deal of empirical and theoretical attention outside behavior analysis, it has largely been neglected within the field. This is unfortunate because behavior analysis has much to contribute to this field, both methodologically and conceptually. In this talk, I will share some recent work from our lab in two areas of social behavior in rats, cooperation and social reinforcement, designed to illustrate some ways in which behavior-analytic methods and concepts might contribute to the burgeoning area of social behavior.

Obm q&a with manuel "manny" rodriguez, executive director of the obm network

Manny Rodriguez
Executive Director
OBM Network

Dec. 1, 2017

Similar to many Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) Practitioners, when disseminating or presenting on OBM, people come up to me with various questions. Over the years, I have enjoyed mentoring people in the applications of OBM - from clients to up and coming practitioners. On the rare occasion, I have worked with professors at universities to conduct applied research. In each case, questions come up about the practice and being a practitioner in OBM. This "brownbag" event is intended to be a question and answer session for the students and faculty of WMU. No question is off the table. What does an OBM practitioner do? What has been the biggest success? Challenge? How much income can an OBM practitioner make? Where are the jobs? What research is needed? All questions are welcomed.

OBM: Past, present, future?

Manny Rodriguez
Executive Director
OBM Network

Dec. 1, 2017

OBM has a rich history, and yet is a young science. Over the years, academic programs have developed, jobs emerged, and the OBM Network has grown from double digits to more than 500 members in 2017. And yet, with all that we have come to learn and enjoy about OBM, we are in many ways just seeing the beginnings of what could be. I started out as a student, learned the ropes as an entrepreneur, succeeded in many ways as an external consultant, gained insight from the "inside" of a fortune 1000 organization, and now am working hard to support the future growth and vitality of OBM. This colloquium will offer a perspective from a practitioner of almost 20 years of OBM's past, present and potential future. During this journey, I have learned some critical attributes to being a successful OBM practitioner, and thus I will share those as well, given the implications they may have towards a prosperous future.

Holiday Colloquium

Cynthia Anderson, Ph.D.

Dec. 8, 2017

Abstract: TBA

Graduate research Day

Department of Psychology graduate students

Feb. 9, 2018

Presenters: TBD

Apply for practitioner jobs

Feb. 23, 2018

Presenters: TBD

Midwestern Behavior analysis job fair

Feb. 23, 2018

Department of Psychology’s 5th Annual Midwestern Behavior Analysis Job Fair. The mission of the Midwestern Behavior Analysis Job Fair is to provide students of all educational backgrounds and expertise the opportunity to engage in professional and social interactions with potential employers in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Companies hosted a colloquium to discuss their business and open position.

Brown bag discussion and colloquium: TBD

Mark Mattaini, DSW, ACSW

March 16, 2018

Abstract: TBD

Clinical internship panel discussion

Date: TBD

Students who have applied for clinical internship will discuss the experience of the application and interview process. Students interested in applying for internship are encouraged to attend and ask any questions they may have.

Department of psychology student awards celebration

April 20, 2018

Undergraduate and graduate students are recognized and honored for grants, scholarships, and awards given during the academic year.

Jack michael annual golf scramble

May 4, 2017