A West Virginia University professor will be leading an international association dedicated to the science of behavior analysis, a strong, growing field in part due to its success in the treatment of autism.

Michael Perone, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology at West Virginia University, was recently named president-elect for the Association of Behavior Analysis International.

Perone studies basic principles of learning and motivation in his behavior analysis lab and is recognized for translating basic methods in animal research to lab analysis of human behavior.

He will serve on the executive council for a total of three years as president-elect, president and past president. Perone previously served on the executive council from 2001-04, this marks the first time in the organization’s history that a past president has been re-elected to the position.

“There is a competitive atmosphere to remain in the top 100 departments of psychology within the U.S.,” said Tracy Morris, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Psychology. “Through his dedication to research and enthusiasm for teaching, professor Perone’s contributions to behavior analysis at WVU have helped our department achieve national and international acclaim. We are very fortunate to have benefitted from the ideas he has brought to the labs here in Morgantown.”

In his new position, Perone hopes to increase the number of basic and applied scientists in behavior analysis. He also plans to form strong ties between scientists and practitioners within the field. These ties are important for the growth of behavior analysis as a scientific discipline and a clinical profession to address behavioral problems such as autism.

“The issue is difficult because practicing behavior analysts are diverse both in their training and in their professional goals,” Perone said. “We must support some of these goals, but we cannot support them all. Some goals are better taken up by other organizations such as the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and various state associations. We must forge new relationships with such groups. It will take time and perseverance, but if we work together, practice as well as research and education will face a bright future.”

Perone received his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1981. In 1982, he was assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Beginning in August 1984, Perone became a professor of psychology at WVU. Since then, Perone served for 12 years as the chair of the WVU Department of Psychology. His research and teaching interests include: operant conditioning in humans and animals, positive and negative reinforcement, incentive shifts, research methodology, radical behaviorism and laboratory applications of microcomputers. In addition to his recent appointment to the association, Perone has also served as president for the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International is a scholarly membership organization of scientists and practitioners in the psychological specialization known as behavior analysis. The group’s mission is to contribute to the well being of society by developing, enhancing and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education and practice. The association is generally recognized as the world’s largest and most influential organization of behavior analysis. Since 1974, it has acquired more than 6,600 members in 48 countries including Canada, Brazil, Japan, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand.

For more information, contact Michael Perone, at 304-293-1785 or Michael.Perone@mail.wvu.edu

-WVU-

gd/6/19/12

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