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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #322
Current and Topical Book Reviews: History of Science, Verbal Behavior, and Applied Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 30, 2005
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Waldorf (3rd floor)
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: John C. Malone (University of Tennessee)
Discussant: John C. Malone (University of Tennessee)
Abstract: This symposium will present review essays on three books of current and topical interest in behavior analysis. The first addresses Smith’s book, The Body of the Artisan, which traces the origins of modern science to the arts of 15th and 16th century Europe, as did Bacon and Skinner. The review describes how her book supports Skinner’s views and how psychology has faltered by not anchoring it knowledge in behavior-qua-behavior. The second essay reviews Patterson et al.’s Crucial Conversations, a self-help book whose popularity illustrates the unmet demand for practical information about verbal behavior. The book parallels Skinner’s (1957) treatment in some ways, but extends it to analyses of verbal behavior that matter to people. The third paper argues that Lucyshyn, Dunlap, and Albin’s Families and Positive Behavior Support outlines a agenda for enhancing the ecological validity of applied behavior analysis, in particular, one that fills the gap between state of the art applied research and the everyday needs of practitioners and caregivers (e.g., in settings where individuals live, work, and go to school. The symposium will conclude with discussant comments from John Malone.
The Roots of Science in Art: Review of Smith’s The Body of the Artisan
EDWARD K. MORRIS (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The origins of knowledge in modern science are variously ascribed to (a) contemplation and theory or (b) manual labor and arts. Although traceable back to Francis Bacon, the latter remains the minority view, forgotten in the history of science. The historian of art, Pamela Smith, however, offers new evidence in support of it. In The Body of the Artisan, she argues that artisans saw knowledge as rooted in matter and nature. As evidence, she offers detailed descriptions of how early science was bound up in how 15th and 16th century artists knew nature (e.g., the chemistry of colors, the physics of clay) in order to do art, for instance, to paint and sculpt, and in order to represent nature faithfully, for instance, in paintings and statues. Her thesis is exactly Bacon’s and Skinner’s thesis about the origins of natural science. In my review, I describe, first, how Smith’s book supports and extends Skinner’s view. Second, I describe how psychology – having succumbed to 20th century “physics envy” over theory construction – faltered in basin its knowledge in the forms and functions of behavior-qua-behavior in nature.
Crucial Issues in the Analysis of Verbal Behavior: Review of Patterson et al.’s Crucial Conversations
THOMAS S. CRITCHFIELD (Illinois State University)
Abstract: This self-help book is reviewed and evaluated with an eye to deriving lessons from it for the analysis of verbal behavior. I will explain how the book’s popularity illustrates a sizeable and unmet demand for practical information about verbal behavior, and discuss how some aspects of the book’s analysis -- though often speculative and based on anecdote -- have parallels in Skinner’s (1957) treatment of verbal behavior. Although behavior analysts may find works originating outside of their field to be vague and mentalistic, such works can nevertheless inform us about the proper scope and level of analysis for the behavioral treatment of the topics in verbal behavior that matter to people.
Expanding Applied Behavior Analysis: Review of Lucyshyn, Dunlap, and Albin’s Families and Positive Behavior Support
CYNTHIA M. ANDERSON (West Virginia University), Tyler B. Weeks (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Although a large body of research exists on the utility of behavior-analytic interventions for affecting changes in the lives of individuals with disabilities, a gap exists between state of the art research and the needs of practitioners in the field. Practitioners often report that much published research is not useful because most studies (a) are conducted in atypical settings (e.g., laboratories rather than settings where individuals live, work, and go to school), (b) focus on only one or two relatively discrete target behaviors (e.g., self-injury), whereas practitioners are asked by caregivers to focus on many complex responses (e.g., several problem behaviors, increasing happiness, facilitating inclusion), (c) use intervention strategies that are not appropriate or feasible for real-world settings, and (d) do not demonstrate durability or maintenance over time or generality to new settings. I argue that Lucyshyn, Dunlap, and Albin provide a research agenda that enhances the ecological validity of applied behavior analysis.



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