Behavior Analysis Program

Research Laboratory: Ramona Houmanfar, Ph.D.


Philosophical & Theoretical Interests

I have focused on cultural psychology as my primary interest in the area of theory and philosophy. For instance, my invited participation in two Think Tanks on Metacontingencies and Cultural Analysis (at Campinas, Brazil in August of 2005 and at Oslo, Norway in September of 2007) has resulted in many conference presentations and recent plus upcoming publications (see Houmanfar, Rodrigues, & Ward, Fall 2010 Issue, Behavior & Social Issues; Houmanfar & Rodrigues, 2006). These gatherings were organized to facilitate the interaction of fifteen scholars in the field of behavior analysis whose work demonstrated conceptual and applied contributions to the analysis of cultural change. My interest in cultural psychology has also influenced the development of my conceptual analyses of complex phenomena in cultural entities such as organizational settings.


Basic Research Interests

My interest in the basic research is twofold. The primary focus is related to the analysis of complex phenomena in social systems such as organizations. More specifically, a series of thesis and dissertation studies in my lab have focused on analog preparations that target verbal and communication networks and associated phenomena such as buy-in, motivation, and rumor in organizational settings.



Applied Research Interests

My applied interests in the areas of behavioral systems analysis, communication networks in organization, and intructional design have led to the implementation of a series of thesis and dissertation projects, published articles, book chapter, and a book. It is important to note that I have designed and implemented a majority of my entrepreneurial and instructional design activities with an emphasis on systematic and research oriented outcome delivery (see Chase, J., & Houmanfar, R., 2009, Journal of Behavioral Education; Johnson, Houmanfar, & Smith, 2010, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management).


Federal Grant Activities

I am currently serving as the Assessment Coordinator for the following grant: NIH COBRE Grant (See:; Project Title: Center for Integrative Neuroscience (Sponsor Award number: 1P20GM103650-01).

History of Grant Activities: I served as co-principal investigator on a Federal grant with the Department of Defense (DOD) April 1, 2008 - March 31, 2011. The following is the associated reference and abstract:

Louis, Sushil (Principal), Bryant, Bobby D (Co-Principal), Houmanfar, Ramona (Co-Principal), Mahon, Jennifer (Co-Principal). "Co-Evolving Competent Strategies for Training and Decision Support", Sponsored by DOD-DON, Federal, Overall: $931,064.00 (Sponsor Award number: N00014-08-1-0781)

Abstract: The Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) in Newport, RI is enhancing the Virtual At Sea Training (VAST) capabilities of the Conning Officer’s Virtual Environment (COVE) to support officer training in Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (ATFP) scenarios. Currently, a typical training scenario requires multiple personnel to control vessels in the scenario and is thus expensive and difficult to coordinate. Having only a few vessels reduces scenario realism and relevance; training effectiveness suffers. We propose to reduce cost and increase the realism and relevance of such training by prototyping, evaluating, and integrating a revolutionary learning system that uses co-evolutionary, case-injected genetic algorithms to generate realistic, adaptive, intelligent controllers that drive the tactical and strategic behavior of adaptive opponent forces. VAST-COVE ATFP provides a direct transition path for our research and we will work closely with SWOS throughout the project duration to ease software specification and integration and to ensure a smooth transition from research to Navy use. Furthermore, the research undertaken in developing such a co-evolutionary, case-injected genetic algorithm based system generalizes, and will be applicable to ATFP efforts for ground forces in modeling, preparing for, and handling the classic action-reaction-counteraction cycle in asymmetric ground warfare.


Lab Members

Amber Candido

 Amber Candido

Research interests:Organizational Behavior Management; Performance Management; Behavioral Systems Analysis; Rule-Governed Behavior; Leadership & Motivation in Organizations.

Thesis Title: Assessing the Differential Effects of Group and Individually Determined Motivative Augmentals on Cooperative Responding

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Carolyn BraykoCarolyn Brayko

Research interests:Instructional Design; Cultural Analysis & Intervention; Verbal Behavior; Team Problem-Solving; Organizational Behavior Management; Behavioral Systems Analysis relevent to Volunteer Behavior & Behavioral Gerontology.

Thesis Title: Exploring the effects of instructors' questioning behaviors on active student participation in an introductory psychology course

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Monica GarlockMonica Garlock,M.A.

Research interests: Computer Work; Organizational Behavior Management; Performance Management

Thesis Title: The Effect of Tangible and Social Reward Systems on Changing Behavior in an Elementary School Setting

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Daniel Reimer, M.A.Daniel Reimer, M.A.

Research interests: Organizational Behavior Management; Performance Management; Instructional Design; Behavioral Systems Analysis; Cultural Analysis

Thesis title: Examining the Effects of Active Responding on Student Performance in an Introductory Psychology Course

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Greg Smith, M.A.Greg Smith, M.A.

Research interests: Organizational Behavior Management; Behavioral Systems Analysis; Cultural Analysis & Intervention; Team Problem-Solving; Tactical Decision-Making; Verbal Behavior/RFT

Dissertation title: Exploring the Predictive Utility of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) with respect to Performance in Oragaizations

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Todd Ward, M.A.Todd Ward, M.A.

Research interests: Cultural Psychology; Behavioral Systems Analysis; Organizational Behavior Management; Acceptance and Commitment Training; Relational Frame Theory; Behavioral Theory & Philosophy

Dissertation Title: The Additive Effects of Values-Clarification and Perspective-Taking on Team Adaptation in a Computerized Combat Simulation

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Recent Selected Publications



Houmanfar, R., & Rodrigues, N.J. (2012. The Role of Leadership and Communication in Organizational Change. Journal of Applied Radical Behavior Analysis. N1, 22-27.

Houmanfar, R., & Ward, T.A. (2012). Value Clarification & Perspective Taking in Effective Organizational Change Processes. Journal of Applied Radical Behavior Analysis. N1, 92-97.

Houmanfar, R., & Ward, T.A. (2012). An Interdisciplinary Account of Martyrdom as a Religious Practice. Latin American Journal of Psychology, 44, 65-75.

Smith, G.S., Houmanfar, R., & Denny, M. (2012). Impact of rule accuracy on productivity and rumor in an organizational analog. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 32(1), 3-25.



Smith, G.S., Houmanfar, R., & Louis, S.J. (2011). The participatory role of verbal behavior in an elaborated account of metacontingency: From conceptualization to investigation. Behavior and Social Issues, 20, 122-146.

Ward, T.A., & Houmanfar, R. (2011). Human simulations in behavior analysis (1987-2007): Facilitating research in complex human behavior. Behavior & Social Issues, 20, 72-101.

Ward, T.A., Smith, G., & Houmanfar, R. (2001). Leadership and communications: Lessons from the Tipping Point. Non peer-reviewed article published online in the Behavior in Organizations section of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies website (



Houmanfar, R. Rodrigues, N. J., & Ward, T. A. (2010). Emergence & Metacontingency: Points of Contact and Departure.  Behavior and Social Issues, 20, 122-146 .

Johnson, R.A., Houmanfar, R., & Smith, G. S. (2010). The Effect of Implicit and Explicit Rules on Customer Greeting and Productivity in a Retail Organization. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 30(1), 38-48

Smith, G., Avery, P., Houmanfar, R., & Louis, S. (2010). Using co-evolved RTS opponents to teach spatial tactics. In: Proceedings of IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games, 2010 (pp. 146-153). Dublin, Ireland.



Chase, J., & Houmanfar, R. (2009). Differential effects of elaborate feedback and basic feedback on student performance in a modified PSI course. Journal of Behavioral Education, 18(3), 245-265.

Herbst, S. A., & Houmanfar, R. (2009) Psychological approaches to values in organizations and organizational behavior management. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 29, 47-68.

Houmanfar, R. A., Rodrigues, N. J., & Smith, G. S. (2009). Role of communication networks in Behavioral Systems Analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 29, 257-275.

Ward, T.A. (2009). Piracy in Somalia: Interbehavioral assessment and intervention. Behavior & Social Issues, 18, 136-154.

Ward T.A., Eastman, R.L., Ninness, C. (2009). An experimental analysis of Cultural Materialism; The effects of various modes of production on resource sharing. Behavior & Social Issues, 18, 1-23.



For further information please contact Dr. Houmanfar at:

Ramona Houmanfar, Ph.D.
Behavior Analysis Program
Psychology Department
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

Office: (775) 682-8693
Fax: (775) 784-1126


Behavior Analysis Program
Mack Social Science, Room 404, Depart. of Psychology, Mail Stop 296, Reno, NV 89557-00240 | Phone: (775) 682-8689 | FAX: (775) 682-1126 
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Site last updated on June 4, 2013