A complete behavior analyst, Dr. Murray Sidman was at the forefront of the field at its inception. He was a fundamental shaper of its direction through his conceptual writings and extensive programs of research in such areas as scientific methods, avoidance behavior, stimulus control and errorless learning, the social impact of coercion in society, and so much more. For these and his other stellar achievements, he was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the Distinguished Career Award from the Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Special Interest Group of ABAI, the Dole Award, and the Ernest R. Hilgard Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association.
Dr. Sidman received a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University in 1952. He held positions as a research psychologist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the E. K. Shriver Center for Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, where he served as director of the Behavioral Sciences Department. Dr. Sidman taught countless students at Columbia University, Harvard Medical School, the University of Nevada, Northeastern University, and Johns Hopkins University. His influence was international, as he held academic appointments at the University of São Paulo in Brazil; Keio University in Tokyo, Japan; and the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Dr. Sidman's publications in peer-refereed journals number close to 100 and have defined much of our current understanding of stimulus control, stimulus equivalence, and avoidance behavior. His 1960 text, Tactics of Scientific Research, is considered the first primer on within-subject research methodology. It is a classic that is still used today. Other contributions have extended to important social problems. The second edition of his book Coercion and Its Fallout was published in 2000, and he provided the introduction to a special issue of Behavior and Social Issues that examined terrorism from a behavioral perspective.