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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Special Event #11
SQAB 2006 Tutorial: Explicit Methods and Implicit Human Values in Quantitative Behavioral Models
Saturday, May 27, 2006
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
International Ballroom South
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Randolph C. Grace (University of Canterbury)
Presenting Authors: : CHARLES P. SHIMP (University of Utah)
Abstract: Quantitative models of behavior will be described, sorted, and informally categorized in terms of their underlying metaphors, including geometric, mechanical, hydraulic, electromechanical, statistical, computer, cosmological, philosophical, political, ecological, and logical metaphors. They will also be categorized in terms of the purposes for which they are constructed, including to summarize data, predict new phenomena, to identify basic mechanisms, and to integrate diverse phenomena in terms of similar underlying mechanisms. The diverse means by which they are evaluated will also be described, for example, in terms of parsimony, descriptive accuracy against data, descriptive accuracy compared to that of other models, whether they can submit to a critical test, and the breadth of data to which they apply. Evaluative tools such as clarity, elegance, intuitive accessibility, biological plausibility, practical relevance, and the persuasiveness of the arguments advanced by their inventors, will be described. The relevance to model evaluation of historical trends, fads, and technological limitations will also be addressed. A sense in which quantitative models have only the appearance of being quantitative will be discussed.
CHARLES P. SHIMP (University of Utah)
Charles Shimp began his scientific career believing that science, especially quantitative science, offered a path to important knowledge about the human condition that was fundamentally different from those offered by art, literature, and music. Over the course of his career, he has come to question that belief. He now believes there are implicit and unevaluated



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