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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Paper Session #213
Observability, Perceptual, Function, and the Operant: Diverse Conceptual Issues
Sunday, May 30, 2010
1:30 PM–2:20 PM
Bonham C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: TPC
Chair: Jose' E. Burgos (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC))
Is Behavior Factually Observable?
Domain: Theory
JOSE' E. BURGOS (Universidad de Guadalajara (CEIC))
Abstract: Behavior is regarded as the primary subject matter of scientific psychology, largely on the basis that it supposedly is observable, whereas the mind, as conceived in a functionalist philosophy of mind (i.e., neither neutrally nor behaviorally), is unobservable in principle. However, exactly what does it mean that behavior is observable in principle? This question is the main topic of the present paper. Aside from a very rough common-sense (and hence, not quite scientific) intuition, there is no obvious answer to this question. The term “observable” suggests a potentiality that the more definite term “observed” lacks. Future behavior has the potential of being observed when it occurs, provided that certain minimally necessary observation circumstances obtain (viz., the presence of an able observer with right observation devices, etc.). Presently occurring behavior too is observable, whether casually or not. What of behavior that has occurred but has not been observed? Is it observable? Yes it is, but only counterfactually: Unobserved behavior is observable in that an observer would have observed it, had the minimally necessary observation circumstances obtained. Much if not most of behavior thus becomes factually unobservable.
Bi-Directional Substitution of Perceptual Functions
Domain: Theory
MARIA ISABEL MUNOZ BLANCO (University of Nevada), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Operant and respondent-type procedures are commonly used to study learning transference; however, little investigation of the complex phenomena of substitution has been undertaken. Turkkan (1989) proposed that functions other than those previously investigated may be shared by stimuli due to their history of temporal and spatial contiguity. In the present paper, Turkkan’s argument is utilized to discuss the transference of these other functions using words as stimuli. According to Kantor (1926), perceptual functions of objects may substitute for one another when organisms confront these objects in spatial / temporal proximity. This paper addresses the bi-directional substitution of subtle perceptual functions among stimuli that have been presented together.



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