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.

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36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details


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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #198
The Pseudo-Empirical in Psychology
Sunday, May 30, 2010
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Ballroom A (CC)
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Per Holth (Akershus University College)
JAN SMEDSLUND (University of Oslo)
Jan Smedslund is Professor Emeritus and Specialist in Clinical Psychology. He received his PhD at the University of Oslo in 1955, and was appointed Professor of Psychology in 1966. He has worked at numerous foreign universities including Geneva, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Stanford. He was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences 1967-68. He has done experimental research in cognitive development with Piaget and Bruner. His clinical background includes working at a psychiatric emergency ward and a crisis intervention team, an outpatient clinic for children and youth, a treatment home with drug addicts, with group psychotherapy and in private practice. He has published 7 books and some 130 articles and chapters. His main interests have been in the foundations of psychology, in the integration of theory and practice, and in the development of a general conceptual framework and axiomatic system that he has called psycho-logic.
Abstract: A study is pseudo-empirical if, and only if, it attempts to test a hypothesis empirically and the hypothesis cannot be false. Pseudo-empiricality can be diagnosed in two ways: One can attempt to prove logically that the hypothesis follows from the meanings (definitions) of the terms involved, or one can attempt to show that denying it is meaningless (absurd). If the data do not support the hypothesis, it does not follow that the hypothesis is wrong, but merely that at least one assumed premise about the methods or the situation is not true. The reason why pseudo-empirical hypotheses are so common in psychology is that we are living with a shared linguistic and cultural system of rules, and that what appears plausible is what follows from these rules.
 

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