Thoughts & Rants of a Behavior Scientist

Dr. Paul "Paulie" Gavoni

In the Thoughts & Rants of a Behavior Scientist Show, Dr. Paul “Paulie” Gavoni looks at common issues or phenomena in our personal and professional lives, gives you his thoughts, sometimes rants about it, and provides you with practical solutions rooted in the science of human behavior.

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Episodes

Revolutionizing Professional Sports: Brett Yaris on Behavior Analysis in the NFL
1w ago
Revolutionizing Professional Sports: Brett Yaris on Behavior Analysis in the NFL
Dive into the revolutionary world of professional sports through the lens of behavior analysis with my guest, Brett Yaris. Brett is breaking the mold by integrating Applied Behavior Analysis with NFL training methods. His unique path from special education to professional football coaching challenges traditional coaching methods and sparks new ways of thinking. In this episode, we'll take a look at Brett's career including the transition from special education to coaching NFL athletes.This conversation is essential for anyone interested in how behavior analysis can be applied outside its usual settings. If you are interested in learning more about expanding your own career and pursuing your passion,  stay tuned for an upcoming webinar titled "The Path Less Taken: A Roadmap for Behavior Analysts Seeking New Avenues" where Dr. Nick Green and I unpack the behavioral principles that have not only supported our success but can also serve as a guide for others seeking to navigate their way to fulfilling careers outside the conventional applications of ABA. This webinar promises empowerment, offering strategies, insights, and the inspiration needed to take the plunge into new domains where behavior analysts can thrive, proving that with the right mindset and tools, the world truly is an expansive oyster waiting to be explored. Football Behavior NewsletterNFL Predictions With Football BehaviorShaping the Basics w/ Kansas City Chiefs Lucas NiangPositional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
The Art and Science of Navigating a Struggling Relationship: Insights from Relationship Expert Lee Wilson
13-10-2023
The Art and Science of Navigating a Struggling Relationship: Insights from Relationship Expert Lee Wilson
Ever been dumped? Remember that pain? Being broken up with is something that most people experience at some point in their life.  Many learn and continue to move forward. But for some, it's a painful experience they try to avoid but end up living many times over.  If you are one of those people, what might you have done more, less, or differently to avoid the breakup? Perhaps you wanted to get back together, but it didn't work out. Or maybe feelings are fading while emotional outbursts are increasing in your current relationship, and you'd like to learn some tips for improving it.  In this episode, I unpack the science behind human relationships with New York Times featured relationship coach expert, Lee Wilson. In our conversation we discuss a number of relationship dynamics, offering an in-depth look at what he calls the "no contact rule," the power of self-reflection, and the role of support in relationships. Lee and I take a closer look at the concept of limerence, its role in driving us towards intimate relationships, and the dangerous consequences of imbalanced relationships. We tackle strategies to strike a healthy balance, alongside analyzing the impact of no contact in breakups, and then touch upon navigating changes in relationships and the importance of renegotiation to maintain a healthy connection. Finally, we weave our way through the complexities of interpersonal dynamics, with Lee providing real-world solutions grounded in solid behavioral principles. Coach Lee's Article on Limerence  Why feelings fade Coach Lee's YouTube Channel   Positional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
Exploring the Dynamics of Addressing Behavior Challenges in Schools with Dr. Merrill Winston
11-10-2023
Exploring the Dynamics of Addressing Behavior Challenges in Schools with Dr. Merrill Winston
Dive headfirst into the intriguing world of behavior analysis with my good friend, Dr. Merrill Winston. In this fascinating discussion, we challenge the norms of traditional functional analysis in education, shedding light on the holistic aspects of behavior challenges. Anchored in the teachings of field pioneers like Brian Iwata and Hank Pennypacker, our conversation unearths the need for a deeper understanding and more probing questions about behavior.We delve into the issue of extreme reactions stemming from the aversive stimuli of everyday life. How can we better manage these situations? How can aversives build resilience and help achieve goals? Dr. Winston expertly guides us through these complex waters, highlighting the dynamic nature of behavior problems and the impact of varying reinforcement types from adults and peers.We also touch on the essential role of behavior analysts in successful outcomes and the quest for meaningful behavior change. As we wade through the challenges of inclusion, we take a hard look at an ecological approach to behavior problems. We examine issues around curriculum, teaching, and repertoire problems, along with the complexities of punishment. We wrap up with practical tips on managing conflicts and maintaining balance in meetings. If you'd like to find out more about Dr. Winston or connect with him, check out his website, Winston Behavioral SolutionsAlso, be sure to check out the Stone Soup Conference. Dr. Winston, Anika Costa, and a stellar lineup of behavior analysts will be presenting on a range of topics!And finally, if you are a behavioral consultant in school districts and you find yourself struggling with making a positive difference, check out The Behavioral Toolbox, the first online course of its kind that's bringing Organizational Behavior Management to behavioral consulting in education!Positional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
Creating Equitable Workplaces: The Role of Behavioral Science and Humane Leadership with Portia James
15-09-2023
Creating Equitable Workplaces: The Role of Behavioral Science and Humane Leadership with Portia James
What does it mean to create healthier, equitable workplaces? How does behavioral science play a key role in this transformation? Join us as we welcome the insightful Portia James to answer these questions. Portia, a prominent leader in the field of behavior analysis, shares her experiences and passion for constructing fair workforces where people feel valued. She sheds light on the rapidly evolving industry, underlining the escalating demands and complexities of leadership.Embark with us on Portia's personal odyssey as she navigates the challenges of leading in a domain that often prioritizes corporate power, money, and titles over human-centric approaches. Journey with us through the intricate world of entrepreneurship and leadership, where Portia emphasizes on the necessity for decision-making prowess and perspective-taking. We delve into the science of behavior analysis as the very DNA of leadership, stressing on the alignment of values and behaviors. As leaders, we must ensure accountability and resist the temptation to get overly absorbed in daily business trivialities.In our concluding act, Portia and I focus on the essential subject of feedback and perspective in leadership. We scrutinize the dangerous notion of 'selling your soul' and how it cannibalizes a person's essence over time. Portia highlights the essence of humility in leadership and the need for feedback, both from industry veterans and team members within our organization. We wrap up with Portia sharing her insights on using social media effectively for communication and fostering engaging conversations. Tune in for an enlightening discussion on the significance of vision, integrity, and humility in leadership.Positional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
Trauma Informed Care: Some ThingsYou Should Know
28-07-2023
Trauma Informed Care: Some ThingsYou Should Know
From a behavior analytic perspective, trauma can be seen as an aversive event or series of events that have led to maladaptive behavior patterns or reactions to certain stimuli.  When we understand that an individual's behaviors might be a response to trauma, we can respond more effectively. But how can we better understand trauma? And what constitutes effective responses from a behavior analytic lens? In this episode, I gathered accomplished behavior analysts Steve Ward, Dr. Adithyan "Dithu" Rajaraman, Dr. Jennifer Austin, and David Roth to dig into a number of questions as a call for nuance on the topic. AN IMPORTANT AND PERSONAL NOTE ON THIS EPISODE:I believe there are a number of very good and compassionate behavior analysts who feel one way or another about the concept and approaches associated with TIC. Unfortunately, in some cases, it's led to a classification of behaviors that might be labeled "cancel culture." This is an important topic, and engaging in these types of cancel culture behaviors can create defensiveness and division as opposed to open dialogue and learning. In addition, it tends to punish philosophical doubt, a fundamental underpinning of science.Using coercion to drive a point home, even if it's a good point, too often leads to counter-control, which usually makes things worse. Let's make a stand on our points, but do so respectfully and in a way that keeps the conversation going. I was grateful to learn from these brilliant and compassionate behavior analysts.. #walkthetalkLinks:1) Trauma-Informed Care, Assent, and Compassion - A Call for Nuance in ABA2.) An Intellectually Honest Discussion about Punishment and CESS3.) Assent and Compliance - When to Use Which4.) Punishment on Trial in Behavior Analysis5.)Trauma-Informed Care, Assent, and Compassion - A Call for Nuance in ABA6.) Towards Trauma-Informed Applications of Behavior Analysis: Inside JABA Series7.)  American Medical Association support for ABA 8.) Toward Trauma-Informed Applications of Behavior AnalysisPositional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
Using ABA to Improve Sleep Performance and Organizational Outcomes with Dr. Emily Ice
15-07-2023
Using ABA to Improve Sleep Performance and Organizational Outcomes with Dr. Emily Ice
As an entrepreneurial Behavior Analyst, Dr. Emily Ice  has participated in founding organizations within the non-profit and profit sectors for over two decades. Additionally, she has expertise in consultation and mentorship with applying Applied Behavior Analysis for the treatment of sleep disturbances.In this chat we discuss behavioral approaches for improving sleep; in addition, cover key principles for improving the performance and sustainability of behavior analytic organizations.Dr. Ice’s consultation link: stepinautism.com/sleepHere is a great overview of behavior analytic research provided by Dr. Ice Luiselli, J. K. (2021). Applied behavior analysis measurement, assessment, and treatment of sleep and sleep‐related problems. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 54(2), 654-667. (link: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James-Luiselli-2/publication/351117293_Applied_behavior_analysis_measurement_assessment_and_treatment_of_sleep_and_sleep-related_problems/links/60885e34907dcf667bcac1b4/Applied-behavior-analysis-measurement-assessment-and-treatment-of-sleep-and-sleep-related-problems.pdf) *Check out his reference list and deep dive into some of the great articles out there exploring this realm!Dr. Ice is on the public outreach committee for the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM). The SBSM is an interdisciplinary organization committed to advancing the scientific approach to studying the behavioral, psychological, and physiological dimensions of sleep and sleep disorders and the application of this knowledge to the betterment of individuals and societies worldwide. (link: https://www.behavioralsleep.org/)There is also a Facebook group to connect with other behavior analysts interested in sleep-related behaviors: (link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/403669074259028) Positional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
Punishment on Trial in Behavior Analysis
06-05-2023
Punishment on Trial in Behavior Analysis
There have been a lot of concerns about the use of punishment regarding the appropriateness and effectiveness of it as a behavior-change tool. And rightfully so, as the use of punishment can have a number of unintended side effects like emotional distress, retaliation, R- of undesired behaviors, the suppression of other adaptive behaviors, and more. In addition, the use of punishment raises questions related to individual rights, autonomy, consent, and assent.Given the dangers inherent in punishment, is it avoidable? In other words, is it possible to live in a society where there is no punishment? Or are some forms of punishment acceptable to use sometimes? If so, what kind of punishment and when? And how can we design punishment procedures to ensure they are ethical?In this episode, Steve Ward, David Roth, and I tackle the controversial topic as we try to answer these questions and more! Show Notes:Articles: Assent & Trauma Informed Care: A Call for Nuance in Behavior Analysis Dr. Carbone Article Podcasts: Trauma-Informed Care, Assent, and Compassion - A Call for Nuance in ABAAssent and Compliance - When to Use Which with Steve WardAn Intellectually Honest Discussion about Punishment and CESSSteve Ward:Whole Child ConsultingDavid Roth:LinkedIn ProfilePositional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
Trauma-Informed Care, Assent, and Compassion - A Call for Nuance in ABA
31-03-2023
Trauma-Informed Care, Assent, and Compassion - A Call for Nuance in ABA
In his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Skinner (1971) reminds us that “culture is the social environment that shapes and maintains the behavior of those who live in it. A given culture evolves as new practices arise, possibly for irrelevant reasons, and are selected by their contribution to the strength of the culture as it “competes” with the physical environment and with other cultures.”Now, we (Steve Ward and I) mention the term culture because there are words in our culture that have strong connotations and evoke conditioned emotional responses, bias, and bias confirmation as people tend to unknowingly search out data and surround themselves with other people who reinforce their bias.  Words that are common yet evoke strong emotional responses from those both outside and inside of our field like:• Positive, negative, consequence, manipulate, control, and punishment• Assent, trauma-informed, and compassionIn other sciences, this may not be an issue. But when you begin talking about behavior and using any one or combination of the words above, people, including behavior analysts, are going to fall back on their extensive learning history, which may or may not be directly related to the science of human behavior.  Those newer to the field may have a stronger emotional response than veterans who have, over time, been conditioned to respond differently. Still, many responses, in both cases, might fall into a classification of behaviors that might be considered rule-governed behavior. And while rule-governed behavior may serve a general set of circumstances that meet our personal and shared values, it can also lack nuanced and functional sophistication to produce socially valid outcomes for those we serve.  When we exceedingly follow rules, we sacrifice empiricism. We become less likely to recognize when an intervention is not working.  This, of course, preempts analysis. There is no impetus for problem-solving if a problem is not identified.  We can’t begin to analyze why an intervention is not working if we don’t realize that it is not working.In the episode, Steve Ward, Kayla Perry, and Dr. Merrill Winston take a deep dive into the concepts of assent, trauma-informed care, and compassion; moreover, they illuminate current challenges within the field of behavior analysis as they relate to the exceedingly broad use of terms like these that lack nuance and seemingly promote rule-governance. NOTES:Article by Steve and Paulie referenced in the podcastSteve Ward:Whole Child ConsultingKayla Perry:Honestly UnorthodoxMerrill Winston:Winston Behavioral SolutionsTrauma Informed? Or Trauma Misinformed? A Behavioral AnalPositional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
Reaching Results through Behavioral Leadership with Dr. John Austin
22-12-2022
Reaching Results through Behavioral Leadership with Dr. John Austin
In this episode, Dr. John Austin and I talk behavior science, leadership, and practical approaches for improving climate, culture, and reaching results.  Dr. Austin is an internationally recognized expert in providing behavior-based solutions to organizational challenges. He is the founder of Reaching Results, a consultancy for management, motivation, leadership, and safety.   Dr. Austin was a Professor of Psychology at Western Michigan University. He has consulted with organizations for 20 years to improve productivity and safety in various industries. In addition, in the area of improving human performance, he has published nearly 100 articles and chapters, and delivered over 200 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. He has published three books, Organizational Change, Handbook of Applied Behavior Analysis, and Mindfulness at Work. Show Notes References:When They Win, You Win: Being a Great Manager Is Simpler Than You ThinkDr. Austin's new website for ABA leadersDr. Austin's website for professionals interested in improving safetyInfo on Dr. Austin's courses and services is on both sites.Positional Authority Ain't Leadership: Behavioral Science for Navigating Bull$hit, Optimizing Performance, and Avoiding A$$ CLOWNery The Behavioral Toolbox  Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.