Identifying a behavior September 6, 2017

A recent thread on the Applied Behavior Analysis Facebook page asked the following question: “Can non-verbal animals mand or is this strictly a human verbal operant?” Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the resulting reactions suggested a variety of behaviors owners considered mands in their pet’s repertoire. These examples generally took the form of an animal…

read more →

You don’t have to understand August 3, 2017

One of the more common convictions shared by everyday folk – that is, those who haven’t been enlightened by training in behavior analysis – is that it is necessary to understand a contingency in order to succumb to its effects. In spite of obvious evidence to the contrary, this assumption should not be surprising. Since…

read more →

Can you step outside your history? June 28, 2017

Regardless of when you studied to become a behavior analyst, your journey was guided by the work of B. F. Skinner. Through his 20 books and hundreds of papers, he has been an instructor for all of us. Even though most have read only a limited selection of his publications, almost everything else we studied…

read more →

What are your intentions? May 29, 2017

In common parlance, when talking about human affairs it’s difficult to avoid referencing intentions. The usual assumption is that intentions are something each of us privately possesses, so we have no hesitation in describing our own. However, we’re not bashful about characterizing the intentions of others based on how we read the circumstances surrounding their…

read more →

You can’t understand feelings and emotions without behavior! April 28, 2017

Even passing contact with the mainstream research literature on feelings and emotions suggests that most investigators are content with trying to understand these phenomena without considering the role of learned behavior. This approach typically collates psychological and physiological elements to fashion explanations that somehow seem to avoid any need for bringing learned behavior into the…

read more →

Do we have to explain everything? March 30, 2017

Behavior analysts are used to explaining. Whether as researchers or practitioners, we see our job as understanding behavior. This mandate implies that we should be able to explain what is going on with behavior, both as a general phenomenon and in particular instances. After all, analyzing behavior involves studying it carefully, breaking it down into…

read more →

Research methods as a way of talking about behavior February 28, 2017

I have more than a passing interest in research methods, particularly those that have driven the basic and applied research literature of behavior analysis over the years. A fourth edition of “S&T” is well underway, which means I’ve been writing about the methods for studying behavior for more than 35 years (see Johnston & Pennypacker,…

read more →

How good are you at recognizing mentalism? February 7, 2017

Applied behavior analysts face many challenges. We always need more guidance from our science, for instance, especially its applied literature. Making the best of the opportunities presented by our field’s rapid growth and development has become particularly important. One of the central problems here concerns how we can do a better job of training new…

read more →

How do you know who you are? January 1, 2017

“Solitary confinement is not a head banging against the wall in terror or rage. Sometimes it is, but mostly it’s just the slow erasure of who you thought you were. You think you are still you, but you have no real way of knowing. How can you know if you have no one to reflect…

read more →

Should we talk about controlling as a behavior? December 6, 2016

Isn’t it obvious? We often talk about someone controlling his or her environment – especially someone else’s behavior – implying that controlling is a behavior of some sort. We also talk about control as the outcome or consequence of such behavior, perhaps a type of positive reinforcer, as when we are successful in engineering a…

read more →

close

Search