New Zealand ABA

The New Zealand ABA (NZABA) chapter consists primarily of staff, students, and recent graduates of the seven universities in New Zealand.  Additionally, our membership includes therapists, business consultants, and some international members.

The most noteworthy event for the year was our 8th annual conference hosted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Waikato in Hamilton (26th– 28th August 2011) and attended by seventy people.  The very full conference programme included 35 paper presentations as well as an expanded poster session with 13 poster presentations. The wide range of topics covered in papers and posters included both applied human and applied animal studies and a broad range of contemporary issues in the experimental analyses of behaviour.  Participants in the studies reported included humans, rats, pigeons, hens and possums. A significant proportion of the papers also provided opportunities for CE credits.

As in our previous conferences many of the papers were presented by postgraduate students.  The standard of all of these was very high but particularly so from the recipients of the annual student awards. John Bai (The University of Auckland) received the award for the best student presentation in the experimental analysis of behaviour for his presentation, “Context Matters: Resistance to Change in a Combined Stimulus Context”.  Victoria Burney (the University of Auckland) received the award for the best student presentation in the applied analysis of behaviour award for her presentation, “Using Brief Functional Analysis to Determine the Functions of Emerging Speech in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder”.

The very full conference programme also included informal opportunities to discuss research and issues relevant to the discipline with a social welcome event on the Friday evening and a conference dinner on Saturday evening.

A notable event at the conference was the presentation by NZABA of a lifetime contributions award to Professor Michael Davison (The University of Auckland) to acknowledge his extraordinary and sustained contribution to the development of behavior analysis in New Zealand.

The 9th annual conference of the NZABA will be hosted by the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand from the 31st of August to the 2nd September 2012.  The call for papers is open until August 1st and those interested should contact Maree Hunt at maree.hunt@vuw.ac.nz for more information.  The conference welcomes international participants and those interested might note that the conference will be held in our beautiful capital city. Of interest also, the dates of our conference are arranged so that anyone interested, particularly those in the behavioural pharmacology field or with an interest in addiction or neuroscience, can also attend the Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research.  That conference is held in the ski town of Queenstown from the 25th to the 29th of August (for more information, please see their website at http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html)

People interested in joining NZABA should note that there is no formal application process or fee. Active membership is achieved by attending the annual conference and paying any necessary fees (note that there are no fees for student presenters).  Any interested individuals should contact Celia Lie (celia@psy.otago.ac.nz) to register for membership, or complete the online form on the NZABA website (https://nzaba.org/membership/). For up-to-date news and more information about NZABA, please see our website at www.nzaba.org.

Written by Maree Hunt, Chair 2012