Dra. Gabriela E. López-Tolsa

Biography

Gabriella LopezDra. Gabriela E. López-Tolsa received her PhD in 2018 from Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED, Spain). She has almost 15 years of experience conducting research on Experimental Analysis of Behaviour, mostly with animal models including rats, pigeons, and quails. She is currently working at UNED, where she supervises PhD and master’s students, conducts her own research, and works at the Learning and Animal Behaviour Laboratory, ran by Ricardo Pellón. 

Gabriela’s research carrier started in México, her country of origin, but she has also conducted research in Colombia and Spain, as well as taken opportunities to collaborate with researchers from Norway, Portugal and New Zealand. She has also been invited to give talks in Iceland, Bulgaria, Spain and México. Her main research interest is understanding the mechanism(s) by which behaviour is acquired, organized, and maintained, particularly the inductions vs. reinforcement debate. She has also participated in projects on other topics including timing, delay discounting, suboptimal choice, activity-based anorexia, and superstition. 

She has received multiple awards and honours, including the 2017 B. F. Skinner Foundation Research Award for Students in Europe and the Extraordinary Doctorate Award. She has published in a number of international journals and currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. She also served as a Student representative for the Society for Quantitative Analysis of Behavior (SQAB). She is an advocate for female representation in Experimental Analysis of Behaviour and considers EABA to be an outstanding organization for such undertaking.

Candidate Statement

My interest in Experimental Behaviour Analysis (EAB) began when I was a bachelor’s student in México, and since then I’ve dedicated my academic and professional career to the study and dissemination of EAB. I first made contact with EABA at the 2016 Conference in Sicily, when I was a PhD student, and I was pleased to discover a European-wide organization focused on Behaviour Analysis. I was, again, happily surprised to see the support EABA offers for undergraduate and graduate students when I attended the EABA Summer School in Cadiz and when I was invited to give a talk in a Conference in Bulgaria, through an announcement I got from EABA. For those reasons, I am so honoured to have been nominated for the position of Experimental Representative in the EABA Board. The goal of this statement is to expose the reasons I think make me a suitable candidate for such position. 

I have almost 15 years of experience conducting research on EAB. Most of my research has been conducted with animal models (rats, pigeons, quails). I strongly believe the advancement of EAB should still be a priority for Behaviour Analysts, as it provides data that can be used to improve existing and/or design new techniques in the applied field. I believe EABA provides the forum for discussion and collaboration between both fields, which can lead to building stronger bridges between experimental and applied behaviour analysis, and I would focus on aiding such initiative. 

During my academic and professional career, I’ve had many opportunities to collaborate and build relations with behaviour analysts from different countries, including Spain, Portugal, Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, México, Colombia, the United States and New Zealand. I believe collaborations among experimental analysts from different countries would result in stronger training programs in Europe and in an increase on opportunities for students, so I would make efforts towards building such collaborations and strengthening those relations.

I think EAB is sometimes underrepresented in the EABA Conferences and summer schools, I would work towards increasing the interest and participation of behaviour analysts working on basic science.

I am an advocate for female and minorities representation in science in general, and in the EAB in particular. I am a volunteer in the non-profit organization “Científicas Mexicanas” (Mexican female scientists), which works in building relations between female scientists in México, as well as disseminating their (our) problematics, work, and achievements. I also actively look for opportunities to collaborate with other female behaviour analysts, and support, to the best of my abilities, the training and permanence of other women in the field. I believe that everyone, regardless of their country of origin, ethnicity, or gender, should have access to quality training and professional certification, and EABA is an outstanding platform to provide such tools to aid increase female (and other minorities) representation in EAB in Europe.

One of the main objectives of EABA is to organize conferences in experimental an applied behaviour analysis. Throughout my career I have gathered plenty of experience organizing and running conferences and academic events. Ever since I was a bachelor student I got involved in the organization of seminars at my university, and more recently, I was on the organizing committee of the 30th Conference of the Spanish Society for Comparative Psychology, which is the largest conference on behaviour analysis-related topics in Spain; and as a student representative of the Society for Quantitative Analysis of Behavior, I participated in the organization of two of their Annual Meetings. I would be happy to share my experience and aid in the organization of the upcoming EABA Conference(s) and/or summer school(s).


Dr Ciara Padden, PhD, BCBA-D

Biography

Ciara PaddenDr. Ciara Padden is a Doctoral Board Certified Behaviour Analyst®. Ciara began her career in Ireland, where she gained her PhD in Applied Behaviour Analysis from the National University of Ireland Galway. She currently works as a Senior Lecturer in Learning Disability at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent where she is the Director of the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis and MSc in Positive Behaviour Support, and manages the Centre’s consultancy portfolio. 

Dr. Padden’s primary research interests are skills teaching and supporting adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, ensuring fidelity in the delivery of behaviour-analytic intervention, and understanding the systems that influence behaviour change. She is passionate about caregiver support and collaboration. Dr. Padden has published in and reviewed for a number of international journals. She is a member of the Sharland Foundation Developmental Disabilities Research and Impact Network (SF-DDARIN), which draws together and facilitates collaboration among like-minded researchers and practitioners working in the field of behaviour analysis in the UK. She has also contributed to the development of training standards as a member of the PBS Academy. She is passionate about the dissemination of behaviour analysis and increasing the number of professionals trained in behaviour analysis, ensuring that we maintain high standards of behaviour-analytic services and integrity of our discipline.     

Dr. Padden has been involved with a number of behaviour-analytic organisations and networks. From 2017-2019 she served as a Director to the Board for the UK Society for Behaviour Analysis (UK-SBA), and was involved in the Society’s ongoing efforts to achieve professional recognition of behaviour analysts in the UK. More recently she has been involved in the UK-SBA’s credentialing task force, following the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s decision to withdraw international certifications.

Candidate Statement

In recent years, there have been many positive developments within the field of behaviour analysis, with many areas seeing growing demand for behaviour-analytic services, increasing recognition of the valuable contributions that behaviour analysts can make to society, and expansion of behaviour analysis to new and exciting areas of application. However, the field also faces many challenges, including gaps in formal recognition, funding, and professional regulation of behaviour analysis. The latter has been highlighted in recent years by  the withdrawal of international certification by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB). While this presents  an opportunity for countries to develop more tailored credentialing processes, it is particularly challenging for communities where the development and expansion of behaviour analysis is in its infancy. 

Throughout my career I have been passionate about the importance of ensuring high-quality behaviour-analytic services, which is vital to protect those who benefit from these services and to maintain the integrity of our field. As a Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent (Tizard Centre), I am Director of Studies for postgraduate courses in Applied Behaviour Analysis and Positive Behaviour Support, both of which currently include an ABAI-verified coursework sequence. This is a very rewarding role, teaching and mentoring a wide range of students and having the opportunity to influence new generations of behaviour analysts. We ensure that graduates are equipped with both the experimental and applied knowledge required to play a leading role in the delivery of behaviour-analytic services. I have also previously had the privilege of serving members of the UK Society of Behaviour Analysis, having served on the Board of Directors from 2017-2019. During this time, I was involved in ongoing work seeking professional recognition of behaviour analysts in the UK, and to protect consumers of behaviour-analytic services. More recently, I have been involved in the UK-SBA’s work to develop credentialing processes within the UK following the withdrawal of international certification by the BACB. In the past, I contributed to  the development of accreditation standards for training in Positive Behaviour Support as a member of the PBS Academy.

These experiences have all cemented my belief that we as a field must work collaboratively – both within and outside the field – to increase capacity of professionals who are trained to consistent professional and ethical standards and to disseminate our work more broadly, while ensuring that we remain faithful to our philosophical and scientific underpinnings. I believe that EABA plays a crucial role in this process, providing a forum for dissemination of behaviour analysis and collaboration across Europe. The challenges and opportunities we face as a field are not limited to a single country.  Collaboration and knowledge-sharing with our friends, colleagues, and communities across Europe can only serve to enrich our field. I would be honoured to have an opportunity to contribute to EABA’s objectives, and to serve the members of EABA and the field more broadly.


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