Association for Behavior Analysis International

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Applied Behavior Analysis International
FormerlyThe Association of Behavior Analysis
TypeNonprofit, 501(c)(6)
FoundedKalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
(1974 (1974))

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) is a professional association of psychologists, educators, and practitioners whose scholarship and practice derive from the work of B.F. Skinner.[1] ABAI organizes conferences in the U.S. and abroad, publishes journals, and offers accreditation programs for behavior analysis training programs. As of March 2021, ABAI has 97 regional associate chapters both in the United States and abroad, many of which offer their own annual conferences.[2] As of 2019, ABAI had over 9,000 members and membership in its affiliate chapters was greater than 28,000.[3]


The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) was founded in 1974 as the MidWestern Association for Behavior Analysis (MABA) to serve as an interdisciplinary group of professionals, paraprofessionals, and students.[4] Behavior analysis was well-represented in the midwest of the U.S., but many behavior analysts were disappointed with the level of support their relatively new field received at the existing psychology conferences. Gerald Mertens and Israel Goldiamond organized the first two-day conference, which was held at the University of Chicago, and speakers included, Sidney Bijou, James Dinsmoor, Roger Ulrich and Goldiamond.

MABA’s first headquarters were located on the campus of Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. By 1977, the annual conference was extended four days and included 550 events, and MABA had grown to 1,190 members from 42 states and five foreign countries.[5]

In 1978, MABA began publishing its first journal, The Behavior Analyst (renamed Perspectives in Behavioral Science in 2018), and in 1979, the organization changed its name to the Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA), subsequently adopting the name Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). In 2001, it sponsored its first international meeting in Venice, Italy.[1]

Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA) began offering APA credits for the first time in 1994, at their 20th Annual Convention in Atlanta, GA. [6]While the BACB solidified itself in the field, ABA offered its first BACB credits in 2000 at their 26th Annual Convention in Washington, DC. [7]



ABAI organizes conferences related to the theory and practice of behavior analysis. In addition to the annual conference, which is held at a location in the U.S. or Canada, every other year, ABAI hosts an international conference. The association also holds an annual autism conference and has hosted several single-track conferences on topics of special interest to behavior analysts, such as theory and philosophy, climate change, behavioral economics, and education.[8]

Many conference sessions offer approved continuing education credits (CEUs) for practitioners who wish to maintain their professional certification. Among the organizations that approve ABAI presentations for CEU credit are the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.[8]

Accreditation program[edit]

ABAI operates an accreditation program for universities offering master’s and doctoral degrees in behavior analysis. Degree programs that achieve ABAI accreditation meet the organization’s standards of training and will satisfy the Behavior Analyst Certification Board requirements to achieve certification as a behavior analyst.[9]

Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis[edit]

ABAI is supported by the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis (SABA), a 501(c)(3) organization that accepts tax-exempt charitable contributions. SABA maintains a number of funds to support research in child development, international development, public awareness of behavioral science, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. SABA also provides grants to support student research, student travel to the annual ABAI conference, and graduate research focused on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.[10]

Position statements[edit]

As of 2021, ABAI had released six policy statements on: right to effective behavioral treatment (1989), student’s right to effective education (1990), facilitated communication (1995), restraint and seclusion (2010), sexual harassment (2019), and commitment to equity (2020).[11]


SABA administers an awards program at the annual convention of ABAI that recognizes distinguished service to behavior analysis, scientific translation, international dissemination of behavior analysis, effective presentation of behavior analysis in the mass media, and enduring programmatic contributions to behavior analysis. Past recipients of the award for distinguished service to behavior analysis include Sidney Bijou, James Dinsmoor, A. Charles Catania, Jack Michael and Murray Sidman.[12]


The Association of Applied Behavior Analysis International publishes six peer-reviewed journals.

  • Perspectives on Behavior Science, is ABAI’s first journal, published from 1978-2017 as The Behavior Analyst. It is a semiannual journal publishing articles on theoretical, experimental, and applied topics in behavior analysis, including literature reviews, re-interpretations of published data, and articles on behaviorism as a philosophy.
  • The Analysis of Verbal Behavior is a collection of experiments and theoretical papers regarding verbal behavior and applied behavior analysis.[13]
  • Behavior Analysis in Practice is a peer-reviewed journal that includes articles on how to efficiently practice applied behavior analysis.[13]
  • The Psychological Record includes articles concerning behavioral analysis, behavioral science, and behavior theory. It was founded in 1937 by Jacob Robert Kantor.[14] Its first experimental area editor was B.F. Skinner. After being published most recently at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, the journal was adopted as an official publication of ABAI. The Psychological Record publishes empirical and conceptual articles related to the field of behavior analysis, behavior science, and behavior theory.[15]
  • Behavior and Social Issues, is an interdisciplinary journal publishing articles analyzing human social behavior, particularly with regard to understanding and influencing significant social problems such as social justice, human rights, and sustainability.
  • Education and Treatment of Children[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lattal, Kennon A. (2004). The Concise Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 87–88.
  2. ^ "ABAI Association for Behavior Analysis International". Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  3. ^ "ABAI Fact Sheet" (PDF). ABAI. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  4. ^ (1978) The Behavior Analyst, 1(1)
  5. ^ Peterson, Margaret E. (1978). "The Midwestern Association Of Behavior Analysis: Past, Present, Future". The Behavior Analyst. 1 (1): 3–15.
  6. ^ Association For Behavior Analysis An International Organization: Atlanta '94 ABA International 20th Anniversary Program Book. Association for Behavior Analysis. 1994. p. 12.
  7. ^ Association For Behavior Analysis An International Organization: 26th Annual Convention Washington DC. Association for Behavior Analysis. 2000. p. 19.
  8. ^ a b "ABAI Convention Archives". ABAI. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Accredited programs". ABAI. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  10. ^ "SABA". SABA. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Position Statements". ABAI. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis". SABA. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Welcome - Association for Behavior Analysis International". Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  14. ^ "The Psychological Record". Association for Behavior Analysis International. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  15. ^ "The Psychological Record". ABAI. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  16. ^ St. Peter, Claire C. (2020-04-01). "Editorial: A New Era for Education and Treatment of Children". Education and Treatment of Children. 43 (1): 1–2. doi:10.1007/s43494-020-00010-6. ISSN 1934-8924. Retrieved 2021-03-20.

External links[edit]