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 #91
Conceptual Work in Behavioral Neuroscience and the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich BC
Area: EAB
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Abdulrazaq A. Imam (John Carroll University)
How Behavior Analysis Avoided Psychology’s Methodological Ouroboros: A Historical Look
Domain: Theory
ABDULRAZAQ A. IMAM (John Carroll University)
Abstract: Psychology is undergoing major cultural changes methodologically, with efforts to redefine how psychologists analyze and report their data. Davidson (2018) argues that psychology’s methodological crises stem from mechanical objectivity involving the adoption of an analytic tool as source of dependable knowledge, which leads to institutionalization, and eventually uncritical ritualistic use, such as happened with null hypothesis statistical testing (NHST). The ritualized tool then is subjected to severe criticism resulting in its demise and replacement with another tool. This is psychology’s methodological Ouroboros that Davidson fears will befall the new calls for the adoption of effect sizes in psychological research reporting. His antidote to breaking the cycle is expert judgment. I argue that behavior analysis has avoided the cycle because there is certain premium placed on the experience, expertise, judgment, and decision-making of the scientist in Sidman’s (1960) methodology classic that appear to be absent in psychology’s ritualized processes, which led Davidson to invoke the wrath of the Ouroboros. Davidson, I. J. (2018). The ouroboros of psychological methodology: The case of effect sizes (mechanical objectivity vs expertise). Review of General Psychology. Sidman, M. (1960). Tactics of scientific research. Boston, MA: Author Cooperative.
Consciousness and Decision-Making: A Neuro-Operant Analysis
Domain: Theory
DANIELE ORTU (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Consciousness and decision making are arguably hot topics in current neuroscientifc research. Here we discuss these topics from a neuro-operant perspective, proposing interpretations consistent with a Skinnerian perspective and arguing that such a perspective can lead to more pragmatic defnitions and potentially transformative technologies compared to phenomenological and reductionist alternatives.



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