Department of Psychology

Program Faculty and Professional Staff

Program faculty described below all hold the doctorate in psychology with a specialization in behavior analysis and teach one or more program courses.

John T. Rapp (Ph.D. University of Florida, 2003; Associate Professor). Dr. Rapp is the Director of the ABA program at Auburn University and a board certified behavior analyst.  His current research interests include the assessment and treatment of automatically reinforced behavior such as stereotypy, evaluating the sensitivity of discontinuous recording methods for detecting changes in behavioral events, production of false positives with single-subject designs, and procedures for increasing complaint behavior for children and adolescents with autism. In addition, recently he conducted translational research on conditioning motivating operations for stereotypical behavior.

Christopher Newland (Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology, 1982; Professor) Dr. Newland's research activity is focused on the application of basic research in behavior analysis to the examination of exposure to toxic substances or drugs that act on the nervous system. In particular he is examining experimental models of abnormal development. This includes the long-term effects of heavy metal exposure, including methylmercury, lead, and manganese, as well as behaviorally active drugs. He has worked with both human and animal models. At present his laboratory is examining the consequences of exposure, during gestation, to methylmercury, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium (alone and in combination) on development and aging. These substances are thought to impair neural development by their presence (methylmercury) or absence (omega-3 fatty acids, selenium). Dr. Newland's group is reporting that these substances can also accelerate the course of aging, even if exposure occurs only during development.

Sacha Pence (Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2012; Assistant Professor).  Dr. Pence holds a board certification in behavior analysis at the doctoral level (BCBA-D).  Her primary research area is in the area of treatment integrity.  Her research interests include evaluating training procedures for practitioners and teachers and how procedural fidelity errors affect behavior-analytic interventions (skill acquisition and behavior reduction) for children with and without developmental disabilities.  She is also interested in skill acquisition and assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior.

In addition, several professionals are employed as full-time staff and serve as supervisors in the practicum component of the program each year.

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Last Updated: August 09, 2017