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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Invited Paper Session #349
Observations and Recommendations on the Interaction of Behavior Analysis and Developmental Psychology
Monday, May 30, 2005
1:30 PM–2:20 PM
Lake Michigan (8th floor)
Area: DEV; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Martha Pelaez, Ph.D.
Chair: Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
PETER HARZEM (Auburn University)
Peter Harzem was educated at the Universities of London and Wales. Together with T.R. Miles he was founder of a new Department of Psychology at the University of Wales-Bangor, where he established the “Experimental Analysis of Behavior Unit”. In 1978 he moved to Auburn University where, again, it fell on him to found a graduate program in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. He is now the Hudson Professor of Psychology at that university. He has been an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior responsible for papers reporting human research and has processed the early papers on stimulus equivalence including Sidman’s seminal papers. Together with Emilio Ribes he is founder of the biennial series, “International Congress on Behaviorism and the Sciences of Behavior”. The 9th in the series will be held in 2006 He has lectured in many countries, and his works have been translated into several languages. He is working on two books: a biography of John B. Watson nearing conclusion after many years of work, and a book tentatively entitled, “The Search for the Mind” on the history of the concept of mind and the place of the behavioral perspectives in that search. (Dr. Harzem’s picture, left, is a detail of a portrait painted by Denise Ross.)
Abstract: The basic concepts and techniques of behavior analysis have had a presence in developmental psychology for some 70 years. Although that presence has increased in recent decades, and some of the basic behavioral techniques have tacitly been adopted, explicit recognition of the place of behavior analysis in developmental literature remains scanty. This needs to be corrected--not, of course, merely in pursuit of fame and fortune but because recognition of the significance of behavioral principles should lead the deveopmental theorist/researcher/practitioner to go to the literature of behavior analysis in search of conceptual and practical solutions, with untold consequent benefit to theory and practice. To that end there are two fundamental questions that need answers: Given that behavioral contingencies naturally operate everywhere, and the effectiveness of the techniques of behavior analysis have been shown, why does behavior analysis still not have a broad place in developmental psychology? And how can this be corrected? This paper briefly reviews the roots and entry of the behavioral perspective into developmental psychology and its subsequent progress, and explores answers to the questions posed here.



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