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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #245
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

The Public Lives of Animal Behavior

Sunday, May 26, 2019
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: PCH; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Darlene E. Crone-Todd, Ph.D.
Chair: Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Salem State University)
MICHAEL PETTIT (York University)

Michael Pettit is an associate professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, CA where he teaches in their unique Historical, Theoretical, and Critical Studies of Psychology program. He is the author of The Science of Deception (University of Chicago Press, 2013) and over a dozen articles on the history of the social and behavioral sciences.


The behavior of nonhuman animals continues to elicit considerable interest not only from scientists, but from a wide range of publics. This fascination means studies of animal behavior often have a double life, a source of a scientific knowledge while also providing edifying entertainment. For this reason, students of animal behavior have had to grapple with an array of (both wanted and unwanted) audiences for their research. In this talk, I will offer examples from the history of psychology, with a particular focus on the controversies over animal sexuality and cognition, to illustrate the ways in which scientific knowledge has been consumed and contested.

Target Audience:

The audience includes those interested in the history and theory of psychology and the behavioral sciences.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe important episodes in the history of animal behavior; (2) challenge the diffusionist model of the public understanding of science; (3) put contemporary concerns into historical perspective.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh