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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Paper Session #432
Historical and Conceptual Changes in Methodological and Radical Behaviorism
Monday, May 28, 2018
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Rancho Santa Fe 1-3
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Christoffer K. Eilifsen (Oslo and Akershus University College)
The Historical and Conceptual Development of Research on Mediated Generalization
Domain: Theory
CHRISTOFFER K. EILIFSEN (Oslo and Akershus University College), Erik Arntzen (Oslo and Akershus University College)
Abstract: As a field of research concerned with the experimental investigation of emergent behavior in the context of arbitrarily related stimuli, the study of stimulus equivalence has several historical predecessors. One such predecessor is the study of mediated generalization. This tradition was concerned with the study of indirect associations among stimuli, and early work in the 1940s was commonly presented in the language of classical conditioning. Later, the tradition became tightly linked to the field of paired associate learning, and research on mediated generalization greatly declined together with studies of paired associate learning in general in the 1970s. The current paper will describe mediated generalization and trace its historical development through a quantitative analysis of publications on the topic. In addition, conceptual developments in the study of mediated generalization will be considered as a possible case study of the view that the history of 20th-century experimental psychology consists of a gradual shift from S-R methodological behaviorism to S-O-R neobehaviorism, and eventual concern with hypothetical constructs as explanations of behavior.
Conceptual Changes in Skinner's Behaviorism
Domain: Theory
KRISTJAN GUDMUNDSSON (Reykjavik University)
Abstract: At the ABAI 2017 International Conference my abstract was: "It is generally accepted that B. F. Skinner first approach to behaviorism was closely related to Pavlov's reflexology and that he, at some point, distanced himself from that Stimulus-Response theory, especially with his theory of operant behavior. When exactly that occurred is debatable, however. Some argue that this occurred quite early in his career, while others argue that this happened alter and gradually. Instead of positioning myself somewhere on that continuum, I will address the issue conceptually. The question then becomes when and how did Skinner change his basic concepts, from those that derive from a simple stimulus-response model towards what in the end became the modern day experimental analysis of behavior. Put differently, when did Skinner amend his conceptual apparatus, in relation to the fact that his theory was no longer a pavlovian theory, but a full blown functional account of behavior? To answer that Skinner's basic theoretical terms are presented as they originally appeared and an attempt made to describe the gradual change towards his final version of radical behaviorism. At the end of the lecture an attempt will be made to suggest how this gradual change has continued and what an experimental and functional analysis of behavior will look like in the future." Now I will continue this arduous work that requires a careful reading of each and every paper published the first 10 years of his experimental work. I will continue to trace the origins of each and every basic theoretical term in the behaviorist terminology and in the end compare the original terminology to the final one.



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