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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Paper Session #272
Behavior Analytic Approaches to the Concepts of "Mind" and Tonal Memory
Sunday, May 26, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Swissôtel, Lucerne Ballroom Level, Lucerne 1/2
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Edward K. Morris (University of Kansas)

Teaching the Construct and Concept of Mind: “The Climate Is to the Weather As…”

Domain: Theory
EDWARD K. MORRIS (University of Kansas)

Teaching mentalism and naturalism in the behavioral, cognitive, and social sciences – and in the culture at large -- is difficult, especially when advancing a naturalistic perspective. Western philosophy and languages teach a mentalistic construct of mind. Behavior analysis teaches a naturalist concept of mind. This presentation teaches the distinction through an analogy based on the everyday relation between the climate and the weather. Although the content of the analogy can vary, its underlying logic is the same. One form of the analogy is this: “the climate is to the weather as personality is to behavior.” The climate does not cause of the weather. It describes uniformities in the weather over time (e.g., heat, humidity). Likewise, personality is not the cause of behavior, but describes uniformities in behavior over time (e.g., altruistic and aggressive behavior). According to Gilbert Ryle (1900-1976), to assume that climate and personality exist independently of weather and behavior is a “category mistake.” The presentation then expands on the analogy in other domains, among them, the relations between knowledge and knowing, competence and performance, memory and remembering, and language and verbal behavior. It concludes with a discussion of effective pedagogy in teaching behavior analysis.

The Contribution of Tonal Memory in Basic Musical Abilities
Domain: Basic Research
BENJAMIN REYNOLDS (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: This paper discusses the history of music education as integral to the early development of Psychology through reviewing the work of Drs. Carl Seashore and Raleigh Drake as exemplars of early psychometric and applied approaches to understanding musical behavior in the absence of explicitly mentalistic postulates. This early work is contrasted with the work of Dr. Edwin Gordon and the concept of audiation, which entrenched mentalistic concepts into music instruction from the 1960's to the present. An explicitly naturalistic framework for the study of music aptitude is discussed, as well as some inherent advantages in the use of the theremin as an experimental apparatus. Finally, preliminary data from a study of tonal memory and theremin instruction are shown and suggestions are offered for structuring studies of musical behavior with postulates derived from behavior science.



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