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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #191
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Childrearing as the Behaviorist Viewed It: John B. Watson's Advice in Perspective
Sunday, May 25, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W180 (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: DEV/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
PSY/BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Martha Pelaez, Ph.D.
Chair: Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
Presenting Authors: : EDWARD K. MORRIS (The University of Kansas), Kathryn M. Bigelow (The University of Kansas)

Other than research on behavior's basic principles, the analysis of child behavior is the longest sustained program of research in behavior analysis. It includes replications of the basic principles (e.g., reinforcement), analyses of behavior of societal importance (e.g., cooperation), applications to behavior of individual importance (e.g., temper tantrums), and extensions of these applications to parent training (e.g., child socialization). This program's brief history, however, has a long past that includes the histories of behavior analysis (e.g., childrearing practices in Skinner's Walden Two, Bijou's Institute of Child Development, Bijou and Baer's theory of child development), behaviorism (e.g., Watson's classical behaviorism), psychology (e.g., child and developmental psychology), and childrearing and child welfare in America (e.g., Child Welfare Stations). A common connection among these histories is Watson and Watson's 1928 book of childrearing advice, The Psychological Care of Infant and Child. Now more infamous than famous (e.g., "pathological," "punitive") the book is, in part, Watson’s legacy to research, application, and theory in the behavior analysis of development. As such, its fame and infamy bear close examination. In this presentation, Dr. Bigelow will describe Watson’s childrearing advice in the context of the culture, the childrearing, and the advice of his day--and our day; address the criticisms of it in those contexts--and at present; consider the nature and existence of “behavioristic” childrearing advice--then and now; and comment on the legacy of Watson’s advice for the behavior analysis of development today.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Graduate students, practitioners, research scientists, and educators.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event, participants should be able to (1) Describe the history of the study of child behavior in behavior analysis; (2) Describe Watson's influence on childrearing practices; and (3) Describe Watson's influence on contemporary issues in childrearing.
EDWARD K. MORRIS (The University of Kansas), Kathryn M. Bigelow (The University of Kansas)
Edward K. Morris (University of Illinois, M.A 1974, Ph.D. 1976) has been a faculty member in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science (ABS), formerly the Department of Human Development and Family Life, at the University of Kansas since 1975. He has been the ABS chairperson since 2000. In the profession, he has been editor of the The Behavior Analyst, The Interbehaviorist, and the APA Division 25 Recorder. In governance, he has been president of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), Division 25 for Behavior Analysis of the American Psychological Association (APA), and KU's chapter of Sigma Xi. He is currently president of the Kansas Association for Behavior Analysis, president of the ABAI Special Interest Group for the History of Behavior Analysis, and a member of the Executive Committee of Cheiron--the International Society for the History of the Behavioral Sciences. He is a fellow in ABAI, APA Divisions 25 and Division 26 (Society for the History of Psychology), and the Society for Psychological Science. His current research and scholarship is on the historical and conceptual foundations of behavior analysis and its complementarities with the psychological sciences. His professional interests include the teaching and dissemination of behavior analysis.



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