What Kind of Change Are You Talking About?

Change happens

Change happens…

I put the picture up because 1) I wanted to play with the word, and 2) for those who live in the US, you can see a dip in your paycheck (hope it’s not forming a descending line…) as the price of [insert an item] is not getting any cheaper.

Get the Exact Change

You see, just “change” or “do something” isn’t going to be helpful/descriptive enough for everyone. BE SPECIFIC! Do you want the change (of the behavior) to increase or decrease? Different directions they are heading to but both are “doing something” right?

And how gradual (or some might even say “natural”) should the change be? I remember a story I heard in high school that some rich guy became homeless very, very slowly. The change took years, one misfortune/bad judgement/impulsive decision at a time that, even this guy couldn’t figure it out.

Or how sudden/drastic should the change be? I read something that Dwight Eisenhower used to smoke 4 (FOUR!!!) packs of cigarette a day and he quit cold turkey! Kudos to the commander but his strategy is not for everyone (anyone ever tried to quit or start something or anything?)

Say “I want my BCBA!” Great, let’s do something and do it gradually. And what’s that something?

Take Action

I created this blog, started a study group and I have been studying here and there a bit everyday. I am also putting my application together… slowly. In the past, I had spent too much time thinking and not enough doing. I still do that but I am working on more doing. The excuses are disappearing one by one (not enough supervision hours, the transcripts were not ready…). Yes, there ALWAYS things that are out of our control and we can only adapt the environment (“do with what you are dealt”) and perform our best. No, I can’t control when some little boy is going to get up but I can  swap my video game time with some study time (yes, my study challenge is very CHALLENGING). Hopefully, a little Premarck principle might do wonder?

Manipulate the EOs and SD, prevail we can!

Passover.. Moses, BCBA (Updated)

A Seder table setting

חג פסח שמח (Happy Passover)!

Well, technically it started last night and it will end on the 2nd of April… I am obviously not a Jewish descendant (have you seen my picture?) but I do have some Jewish ties (I do own a yarmulke) and I have been to a few Passover seder(s). It marked the history that the Israelites left Egypt under the leadership of Moses. To learn more about this Jewish holiday, please click here. Allow me to nitpick this a little bit and dissect it in some ABA ways.

The Power of the MO

The great Don Corleone must have learned some valuable lesson from what Moses did to Pharaoh and he had done it wisely (“I’ll make [someone] an offer he/she/it/they can’t refuse”). Unfortunately, the Egyptian king was a bit stubborn and needed a little more (well, 10 more) persuasions to comply. Moses did not manipulate Pharaoh, but the environment he did (with a little help from above). Long story short, the AO had significantly altered the value of the Jewish people, and Pharaoh let them go (let’s skip the Red Sea part).


It took the Israelites 40 years to find their home but they overcame a lot of challenges. Long time, yes. Lots of people, yes. Crowd control ain’t easy, people! Ask a teacher about classroom management, let alone a whole nation! Ask me about dealing with my son! And for those who are working toward the BCBA certification, you and your loved ones are making sacrifice today (delaying your reinforcement schedule) for a better tomorrow. Let me borrow a play from Behaviourist at Play’s playbook. Better tomorrow we will have but difficult journey we shan’t forget!

Stimulus Pairing

This is a little far-fetched but I can see some stimulus pairing here. There is no doubt that I had made an association between many fond memories and nice people I met (SR+), and the Jewish traditions (Neutral Stimulus) . In some strange way, I do my weird little thing to honor these kind and gentle people who offer me their friendship. Thanks and I hope I have made their lives a little more… reinforcing as well. Heck, that’s the same way we all like that General Conditioned Reinforcer called money!

So, no, I didn’t have that pork for dinner!

I dedicated this post to my professional/mentor/אמא, Madeleine L.

The Bachelor Curse

One Less Excuse to NOT Study

March Madness? You don’t see me watching (much of the rest of) March Madness no more…

Mostly because my school made a swift (first-round), low rate-of-success (low filed-goal percentage) and shocking (losing to a lower-seeded team) early exit!

Roast beef
Will you accept this roast? (Photo credit: adactio)

I blame the team’s sub-par performance on the Bachelor, yes that show The Bachelor!


For those who never heard of this “reality” show, it was one of the first of its kind and still running strong (I suppose, and I ain’t checking the data, people). The show is about some guy (or a girl, then the show is called The Bachelorette) finding a (potential) love of his life/spouse/soul mate in a pool of a number of X women. A rose is given to each contestant who is chosen to the next round, and so on, til the final rose is given. (Why don’t we do it on a more “mainstream” setting, say the

This past season, the producer/creator/host of the show decided that the main guy should go “connect” with the audience, so they traveled all over America and crashed viewing parties. One of the locations was a sorority house of some university, MY alma mater! Talking about aversive stimulus stimuli!

I have no doubt that the universe is overcoming the disgrace by handing out an early vacation to my college team. Gotta blame somebody, right?

However, in our field, there is no such behavior as superstition. Admit it, we all do it: some kind of (excessive, non-practical) behaviors for “luck” one way or another. Some guy blows onto his hand before he rolls the dice, a baseball player adjusts his batting gloves 7 times clockwise before he takes a pitch… you name it.

So now what?

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it” or the Samuel Goldwyn version, “the harder I work, the luckier I get.” So I guess the good news is now I can focus on some other things I have control over, let’s say, this blog and studying for the board exam but not before I turn off the TV remote, or shovel snow, a LOT of snow.

Failure = AO? (Pic Updated)

Master Yoda - origami.

I think I am applying to sit for the exam. I think I am scared. I think I am procrastinating…

I have been studying but the thought of actually filling out the application is kinda intimidating. I finally got on the website and then for whatever reason the site shut me down. That gave me a moment to think. And thinking was exactly what I didn’t need. Behavioral momentum was just gone. In came lots of “what-ifs” and “maybes” which I might or might not tackle after this post… (of course I will… eventually!)

So how are y’all doing? All signed up for the May exam? Still getting the supervision hours? Please share with me.

Oh… if you got a moment, go on to Facebook and check out the study group I created, Students of Applied Behavior Analysis,

I will post some advice from a brand new BCBA, Lukin Murphy (a big shout-out to his support and encouragement!) on the study group.

Do or Do not…

Social Significance and Social Media (Updated)

Social Media Path
Social Media Path (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

I just came out of the digital stone age this past week: I created a blog and I joined Facebook. I kinda feel like Michael Corleone here (I didn’t want to but it’s not my choice when it comes down to it). Well, years of inactivity/reluctance/ignorance of NOT participating in the social media is no different than other (harmful/bad/junk) behaviors… so yes I need intervention, major ones but when Dr. Phil and/or Dr. Drew call, you can bet that I would say “I must say no to you and I’ll give you my reasons” (go watch the original)

First, they are not behaviorists… and they will end up telling me to lose weight or blame my mother (“no, it was that Lego pirate ship or the $400 Death Star which my parents didn’t buy me for Christmas that destroyed my self-image and super ego, and eggo and the full scholarship to Harvard or Cambridge, DUH!”)

Second, skill acquisition is what I need. How to hashtag, link, comment, follow (and the obvious bi-product of all, making a fool of myself, which I am already at the fluency stage). As my exposure to the social media is short, I need HUGE contrast… any takers? NO, seriously, can someone please tell what is the etiquette on posting pictures and videos here? PLEASE!

And let’s come back to the title… Is participating in the social media (i.e. joining Facebook, twitting…) actually socially significant? If so, we must do so and encourage/support/help others to do so, right? There are both advantages (being accountable, sharing infos, expanding/creating friendships, etc.) and disadvantages (information overload, Don-Draper-is-actually-Dick-Whitman secret identity issue, over-sharing, distraction to name a few).

Share your thought anyone?

P.S. just got all my transcripts… getting closer…

Master Skinner, Happy Birthday! (Updated)

B. F. Skinner
Our Yoda B.F. Skinner is? (Photo credit: Laura B. Dahl)

My fellow Jedi, today is a great day. Our great master (Yoda?) was born this day in 1904. We won’t be quite radical or verbal without his contribution. A little Psych 101 here but he’s the one that makes Palvov’s dog do more than just drooling. For more info, please click on this post from the BF Skinner foundation.

This also gets me thinking about the history of this field… and what I call, my ABA lineage. Obviously, Yoda, I mean Skinner has influenced all of us. So he’s always with us. Then there are different Jedi schools/regions (i.e. KU, Michigan, West Virginia, Arizona…). Well, I was one of the lucky ones who got to attend Lovaas’s lecture. Though I went a slightly different direction with the Lovaas way, I do think I am from his line.

And then there’s my current schooling: the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) bloodline: the ABA guru, Jose Martinez-Diaz, and Behavior Guy (Corey Robertson) and other great co-instructors.

I am going to get this lineage all drawn up one day. What characters do you think your mentors/instructors are?

What’s your ABA lineage?

BCBA aside…

As I have set up a study group on Facebook… and I am thinking (autoclitic) that I should do something else on this blog.

Things I consider:

Classroom management (aka crowd control)


Life events

Movie characters

And of course, Star Wars

Any suggestions?

Keep thinking, and I need more fuel to get some studying done…

SAFMEDS… down go you will!


SABA on FB = Academy, Jedi My

Like I said, I joined Facebook to create a study group. Here’s the name of the group, Students of Applied Behavior Analysis. Join me, Obi-won?

I would have come up with something funky but I was advised not to. After all, getting those four letters is serious business. On the private event level, I feel like I just opened a few cans of worms (not so reinforcing schedule of SR+/- in the past?!)

Currently, I am going through different experimental designs. How are you doing?

BCBA Study Group, FB Concession

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

For years I fought to not join Facebook… and I lost. Now my wife finally can do these:

1)say that she’s married to some BCBA-wannabe

2)defriend half the people she never met

When I was telling several people about my desire to start a study group on a blog, and I could not figure out the best way to tackle my ideas to study and yelp… that was until Behavior Guy suggested me to start a study group on Facebook, so here I am.. a few moments from signing up for an account.

Alright, I will get things organized and get the ball rolling.

Be patient with me… I am learning how to post/link/do more stuff on my blog (i.e. showing you how great Behavior Guy’s blog is!)

A FB study group, I will start!

My BCBA, Study Challenge, Yes?

This thing I want so BAD!!!

I know (well, knowing is not a behavior), well, I realized that I have been slacking mightily and I need to study for the exam (though I have yet to apply officially). I am sure my EO is high on this one and I am challenging myself to study everyday.

Here’s my game plan:

30+ minutes of study guide /the White book

2 x SAFMED (Say All Fast a Minute Every Day Shuffled) Let me know if anyone needs help looking for some..

Do it I can?

Anyone game?

Oh yeah, let me give a shout-out to my mentor, Behavior Guy, “May the Environment Be With You!”

New Home of Behavior Jedi