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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Panel #165
CE Offered: BACB
Radical Behaviorism and Analyzing Private Events
Saturday, May 25, 2024
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 111 AB
Area: VRB/PCH; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Judah B. Axe, Ph.D.
Chair: Judah B. Axe (Simmons University)
JANET S. TWYMAN (Independent Contract for the BACB (mobile app development))
DAVID C. PALMER (Smith College)

Analyzing private events and covert verbal behavior is inherent in a radical behaviorist approach to behavior analysis, yet the analysis presents many challenges. How can we talk about covert stimuli when we can’t see them? How can we analyze covert verbal behavior when there is only one observer – the speaker? Is the analysis of covert verbal behavior the same as the analysis of overt verbal behavior, or are there differences? Are there discriminative stimuli and reinforcers “within the skin?” Do we have a mind? How should we think about thoughts, emotions, and feelings? Do we have perception, awareness, and consciousness? Students of behavior analysis, practitioners, and researchers continue to struggle with these questions. The purpose of this panel is to overtly consider some of these questions. The panelists will each deliver a brief summary of their current thinking and then, with the chair, discuss issues raised by the audience. The chair will also ask pre-arranged questions from students and colleagues.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Target Audience:

behavior analysts, graduate students, researchers

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Describe a radical behaviorist approach to thoughts, feelings, and awareness. 2. Explain the controlling variables of private events; 3. Explain the role of private events in generating behavior;
Keyword(s): covert behavior, private events, radical behaviorism



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