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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Paper Session #330
CE Offered: BACB
The Absolute Beginnings of B. F. Skinner's Theory of Operant Behavior
Sunday, May 29, 2022
5:00 PM–5:25 PM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156B
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Advanced
Chair: Kristjan Gudmundsson (Reykjavik University)
CE Instructor: Kristjan Gudmundsson, Ph.D.

CANCELED: The Absolute Beginnings of B. F. Skinner’s Theory of Operant Behavior

Domain: Theory
KRISTJAN GUDMUNDSSON (Reykjavik University)

Operant theory is bottom-up, as opposed to top-down, in the sense that it is inductive and makes limited assumptions in the beginning. Skinner's view of theories is also well known. This paper explores the absolute beginnings of his theory, starting with his first published papers and some unpublished material too, ending with the most complicated version with verbal behavior, the book published 1957, but the research turns out to have started much earlier, in fact as early as the earliest work. Given what was just said about bottom-up theories, how can that be?

Target Audience:

Experts in behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: (1) Understand the absolute beginnings of behavior analysis. (2) Relate that to basic operant theory. (3) Appreciate how the origins of the concept of operant is intimately connected with that of verbal behavior.



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