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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Paper Session #268
CE Offered: BACB
Walden Two: An Analysis of Behavioral Concepts in Skinner's Novel
Sunday, May 26, 2024
12:00 PM–12:25 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon E
Area: TBA
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Scott Dueker (Ball State University)
CE Instructor: Scott Dueker, Ph.D.

Walden Two: An Analysis of Behavioral Concepts in Skinner's Novel

Domain: Theory
SCOTT DUEKER (Ball State University), Jill Grande (Ball State University)

Applied behavior analysis textbooks can be difficult to read for novice parties to the field. The terms behavior analysts use are complicated and often at odds with use in general conversation. In particular, the scientific works of B. F. Skinner can require multiple readings before the ideas are absorbed. However, he also wrote a novel, Walden Two, in 1948 that may serve as an easier introduction to the concepts and principles of behavior analysis. In this novel, Skinner presents a story of a utopian community based on the science of behavior. In describing a visit to the community, he works through different uses of behavior analysis through narrative vignettes. The purpose of this study was a content analysis of Walden Two viewed through the lens of current behavior analytic textbooks. The authors identified the main concepts in four different commonly used textbooks and searched Walden Two using keywords and colloquial translations to find plain explanations for behavioral principles. The authors found many of the concepts common to both the textbooks and the Behavior Analysis Certification Board’s Task List within the narrative of Walden Two. The authors will discuss their findings and the implications for use in introductory behavior analysis courses.

Target Audience:

RBTs, BCaBAs, BCBAs, instructors of ABA

Learning Objectives: By the end of the session: 1. attendees will understand that the field of behavior analysis was originally thought of as universal to society as a whole and not specifically focused on disabilities. 2. attendees will understand how behavior analytic terminology may be represented using common language and scenarios. 3. attendees will understand the position of Walden Two in the behavior analytic landscape.



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