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Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalĀ® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission 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.

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Category: Learning Center Videos

Hayes, Linda J. Parrott. Presidential Address: What We Know

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What we know about our world is captured in what we say about it and what we say about it is derived from our observations of it in concert with what we have previously said about it. As observations of our world continue to be made, what we say about it changes: What we once said about it is inevitably refined, necessarily revised, or rightfully abandoned. Some aspects of what we once said, in never having been derived from observations in the first place, are not subject to change by this process. If their presence in the midst of our continuing efforts to know our world were merely a distraction, they might just be ignored. They are not merely a distraction though. They are an impediment, and particularly so in the context of a science of behavior. Ironically, it is only a science of behavior that is in a position to eliminate this impediment. What we know about the world—be we physicists, priests, or grandmothers—is what we say about it and our saying it is behavior. How we come to say what we say, as well as how it persists, may be challenged and is changed, is our subject matter. We have a responsibility to share with others what our observations of such things tell us (while also recognizing that what we are saying about them is subject to change). Meeting this responsibility will require more voices, less distraction.

 

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