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 #39
International SQAB 2006 Tutorial: Neural-Network Modeling in Conditioning Research
Saturday, May 27, 2006
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
International Ballroom South
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Jeffrey L. Elman (University of California, San Diego)
Presenting Author: JOSE E. BURGOS (Universidad de Guadalajara, Centro de Estudios e I)
Abstract: This tutorial is a primer to neural-network modeling in conditioning research. After a brief historical introduction to this kind of modeling and philosophical disquisition on model plausibility in empirical science, the elementary concepts of neural processing element, connection, activation function, and learning function, are presented. Emphasis is made on the concept of a neural network as a set of (inter)connected realizations of a neurocomputational model. Then three well-known models (McCulloch-Pitts, perceptron,and backpropagation) are reviewed and judged as neuro-behaviorally too implausible. The model proposed by Donahoe, Burgos, and Palmer (1993; JEAB, 60, 17-40) is presented as a more plausible (albeit admittedly incomplete) alternative. Its behavioral plausibility is exemplified through simulations that have implications for persistent conceptual issues in behavior science, such as the operant-respondent dichotomy. To show its heuristic value, two novel predictions for Pavlovian conditioning are discussed.
JOSE E. BURGOS (Universidad de Guadalajara, Centro de Estudios e I)
Dr. José E. Burgos holds a License in Psychology (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Caracas, 1983), an M.S. in Experimental Analysis of Behavior (Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, 1989), and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Behavior (University of Massachussetts/Amherst, 1996, under the advisement of Dr. John W. Donahoe). During his undergraduate studies he discovered Skinner and became a Skinnerian bulldog (much to the detriment of his social relationships with his peers). His undergraduate thesis was on the effects of cyclic AMP injected to the nucleus accumbens on FR and FI performance in rats. His Master’s thesis was on autoshaping and automaintenance in pigeons. His current scientific work sprung from his doctoral dissertation, a massive set of computer simulations of the phylogeny of Pavlovian conditioning. He has published numerous scientific papers on computer simulations of conditioning phenomena using a neural-network model devised with Dr. John W. Donahoe and Dr. David C. Palmer. He has also published papers on the metaphysics of behavior and neurobehavioral epistemology of neurobehavioral science. He also is interested in human behavior and has started a research line on counterfactual thinking. Currently he is Full Professor and Researcher at the Center for Behavioral Studies and Research at the University of Guadalajara, member of the Board of Editors of Behavior and Philosophy, and Editor of the Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis. His hobbies include playing classical guitar, listening to classical music, reading fiction, going to the movies, and playing computer games. He lives in Guadalajara with his lovely wife Rocío (no pets and no kids ... yet).



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