Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #253
CE Offered: BACB
Giving the History of Behavior Analysis Away in Teaching Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 27, 2018
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom A
Area: PCH/TBA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Edward K. Morris (University of Kansas)
Discussant: Philip N. Hineline (Temple University - Emeritus)
CE Instructor: Edward K. Morris, Ph.D.

The purpose of this symposium is to promote teaching the history of behavior analysis (HoBA) across the curriculum by giving it away. Many behavior-analytic curricula could be strengthened by teaching a stand-alone HoBA course or by systematically integrating HoBA with the content of other courses (e.g., on research methods, principles, application, theory, ethics). Few instructors, though, are historically trained to teach a stand-alone course or to integrate HoBA into their courses. This symposium is designed to help. It will consist of four presentations: (a) one on teaching HoBA as a course unto itself and one each on teaching HoBA in courses on (b) the conceptual foundations of behavior analysis (e.g., radical behaviorism), (c) the experimental analysis of behavior (i.e., basic principles, processes), and (d) applied behavior analysis (e.g., dimensions, interventions). The latter three presentations will address teaching HoBA as a one-week stand-alone unit in their courses and/or as integrated into the courses' other units (e.g., operationism, reinforcement, social validity). All four presentations describe assigned and recommended readings and rationales for including them. [Footnote: The symposium's title was inspired, in part, by George Miller's 1969 presidential address to the American Psychological Association.]

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): HoBA
Target Audience:

Instructors of behavior analysis courses wanting to integrate the history of behavior analysis into their curriculum and courses.

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe and explain the historical readings assigned in an EAB course 2. Describe and explain this historical readings assigned un an ABA course 3. Describe and explain the historical readings assigned in a course of the conceptual foundations of behavior analysis
A Course on the History of Behavior Analysis
EDWARD K. MORRIS (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The purpose of this presentation is to describe a one semester, stand-alone course on the history of behavior analysis (HoBA) that meets the ABAI-accredited doctoral program requirement for a course on the field’s conceptual foundations. Teaching HoBA is one means of meeting that requirement. The presentation offers an overview of the course content (400 B.C.E-present). Describes the course requirements (e.g., quizzes, take-home assignments, projects). Reviews the assigned texts (e.g., Leahey, 2013; Rutherford, 2009). And, covers the course topics, beginning with an overview of the field’s history, the academic department’s history, and historical methods. Among the topics is the Scientific Revolution, the assent of science in psychology, the psychology of adaptation, John B. Watson and classical behaviorism, neobehaviorism and Interbehavioral psychology, B. F. Skinner and the experimental analysis of behavior, cognitivism and the putative cognitive revolution, B. F. Skinner’s contributions to applied behavior analysis, and the history of applied behavior analysis. For each topic, the assigned readings are described, along with rationales for their inclusion, and the recommended readings are reviewed.
Conceptual Foundations: The Historical Development of Radical Behaviorism
JAY MOORE (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: B. F. Skinner’s interest in history and philosophy of science began during his graduate school days. One of his strongest interests at the time was epistemology. This led to a uniquely behavioral view of verbal behavior, especially of scientific verbal behavior. As his career progressed, he also developed views on a host of other theoretical, philosophical, and conceptual matters, among them, operationism, scientific reasoning and methods, theories, explanation, mentalism, methodological behaviorism, private events, pragmatism, and selection by consequences as a causal mode. Collectively, these views have come to be called radical behaviorism. As a result, we now say that radical behaviorism is the underlying philosophy of science for the twin scientific domains of behavior analysis: the experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis. Certain aspects of radical behaviorism also influence the third domain of behavior analysis: the delivery of professional behavior analytic services. This presentation will examine the development and nature of several of these radical behaviorist views, for example, as illustrated by Skinner and others, as well as how those views differ from traditional views.
Experimental Analysis of Behavior: Confluences of Science and History in the EAB Course
KENNON ANDY LATTAL (West Virginia University)
Abstract: The experimental analysis of behavior (EAB) has a rich history that encompasses philosophy, technology, branches of psychology, and other sciences, all operating in the cultural and political contexts of their times. In reflecting the confluence of these forces at any point in history, the EAB course is a history course, although the history usually subliminal. This paper will describe how to increase the visibility of historical forces in an EAB course at the discipline’s cutting edge and how they might be integrated into the course. Integration might start with the contributions of individuals and the Zeitgeist to the evolution of a science, as well as the role of conceptual frameworks and conflicts in providing the impetus for change in science. Examples of historically significant experiments and research trends can be prepared as a stand-alone unit or integrated into the content throughout the course. Another way of driving home the historical roots of contemporary research is through directed and focused class discussions of these themes at different points in the course. Integrative exam questions related to historical forces are another means of encouraging students to consider contemporary research from a historical perspective.
Applied Behavior Analysis: History of Behavior Analysis in ABA
STEPHANIE M. PETERSON (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The American Historical Society notes that all subjects of study need justification and that understanding their histories can help explain why they are worth studying. The subject matter’s history can help us understand how people behave, why they behave this way, and factors that cause change. It can provide identity and lessons in ethics. Furthermore, it can help develop “good citizens” in behavior analysis – behavior analysts who are well-informed and understand how our science impacts the lives of those with whom we work. Incorporating historical readings and discussion into applied behavior-analytic coursework may be important in developing well-rounded “good citizens” in the behavior-analytic community. This presentation will provide a syllabus for a graduate-level, principles of behavior course taught from an applied perspective. A reading list of historical content related to each unit will be provided, along with a rationale for selecting these articles. Finally, an overview of how these readings might be integrated into a specific unit will be provided. Throughout the presentation, history of behavior analysis will be used to provide the contextual backdrop for current applied best practices in the applied behavior analytic course.



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