Tag Archives: aba

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Easter!

I wrote a post about Passover, and now here’s a post about Easter… well actually Easter eggs… and yes, this was sorta/kinda inspired by a tweet by Behavior Guy, which leads to this (either someone from the game development team really liked ABA… or not). Anyway, for those who have no ideas what an Easter egg is… it is like a hidden message/secret code/inside joke. Some of the examples I can think of is in the Iron Man 1, Captain America’s shield is on Tony Stark’s workbench and Thor’s hammer in the end of Iron Man 2. These days you just have to sit through the entire movie (plus credits) or you will regret

Well, before I started to pursue the BCBA certification, I struggled mightily with my Master’s degree… I wasn’t sure which direction I was going… It took me a long time (6 years), a new location (moving to another state), and a new profession (becoming a stay-at-home dad, a topic which I would like to write about). I eventually finished my thesis with lots of help and I did 2 little stinky things to honor my professors and my family. Just don’t tell the grad adviser. Shhh…

We all have heard the definition of insanity is “repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” (wanna give proper credit but I am not sure if it’s by Ben Franklin or Einstein). In our field, we design and implement plans for behavior change. In my case, I repeatedly did the same thing for over a year (or two) thinking I would get done but I didn’t do anything progressive. I felt stuck/trapped/whatever word you could use… eventually I realized that a change, a drastic change, was needed. And viola! Here I am working toward my BCBA.

Yes, we can do it. Thanks and Happy Easter!

May the ham be with you!

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.

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…