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 #415
Progressive Freethinking Between Disciplines
Monday, May 28, 2018
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 10-13
Area: PCH
Chair: Øystein Vogt (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

Behavior Analysis, Neuroscience and Mainstream Cognitive Psychology as Separate Explanatory Sub-Fields in a Modern Synthesis for Psychology

Domain: Theory
ØYSTEIN VOGT (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

It may be argued that behavior analysis and behavioral neuroscience form an ideal basis for a modern synthesis for psychology; especially centered around identifying the neural replicators and core neurological mechanisms of operant selection. The potential complementary role of mentalistic, cognitive psychology may seem less clear, important and viable. Indeed it may seem incompatible considering its adherence to mentalism. We thus address the qualitiatively different, but potenitally complementary, explanatory roles of (1) life-historical, contextual behavioral science (behavior analysis, psychology of learning), and (2a) neurophysiology (behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, among others) and (2b) mainstream mentalistic, cognitive psychology relying mainly on methodological behaviorism.The extent of the explanatory differences between 2a and 2b is discussed. It is suggested that mentalistic explanations relying on methodological behaviorism are sometimes unclearly defined with regards to realism vs instrumentalism. While the ambition is often to explain behavior as (proximately) caused by real neurocognitive mechanisms, the actual terms referring to these mechanisms rather summarize recurring observable behavior. We discuss and outline possible solutions that may promote both complementary relations between these sub-fields and clarification of their largely separate and autonomous roles.

B. F. Skinner's Involvement in the American Humanist Association in the 1970s: An Important and Forgotten Piece of Our History
Domain: Theory
BOBBY NEWMAN (Proud Moments)
Abstract: B. F. Skinner was an active member of the American Humanist Association, including winning their Humanist of the Year award. His involvement was controversial, however, and led to published paper exchanges and even refusals by some to have their signatures associated with his. Some of these key writings by Skinner and others, as well as some of the events that transpired, will be discussed and analyzed. A case will be made that Applied Behavior Analysis is squarely within the Humanist tradition, although most fail to appreciate that position.



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