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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Paper Session #18
Studies in the History of Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 24, 2014
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
W175b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: TPC
Chair: Kristjan Gudmundsson (Reykjavik College of Women)

B. F. Skinner and E. G. Boring: A Love-Hate Relationship

Domain: Theory
KRISTJAN GUDMUNDSSON (Reykjavik College of Women)

B. F. Skinner had difficulties in graduating from the Harvard University Psychology Department and his Ph.D. thesis was in fact originally rejected because of the major figure in the department at that time, professor E. G. Boring. But Boring was also the person who instigated Skinner's move back to Harvard as a professor 20 years later.This paper willanalyze the complex relationship between the two: Skinner and Boring, beginning with Boring's criticism of Skinner's thesis and relate it to Chomsky's infamous but surprisingly similar criticism. This can only be done through unpublished material hinted at in Skinner's autobiography and better revealed in the Harvard University archives. An evaluation is made of the changing relationship between the two and of Boring's original criticism, that let him to reject Skinner's original thesis outright. Finally an attempt will be made to draw out this complicated and indeed conflicting relationship and it will turn out that however harsh they criticized each other, there is in fact mutual respect between the two men: Skinner and Boring.


The Construction of the Drive Concept in B.F. Skinner's Work Between 1930 and 1938

Domain: Theory
MATEUS BRASILEIRO PEREIRA (Pontifícia Universidade Catolica de Sao Paulo), Maria Amalia Andry (Pontifícia Universidade Catolica de Sao Paulo)

The concept of motivating operation (MO) is presented as a behavior analytical alternative to deal with the traditional problem of motivation and has become a wide spread verbal practice within behavior analysis over the last decades. References to motivating variables, however, can be found since the first texts from authors identified as behavior analysts, especially in the work of B. F. Skinner, the first to approach the topic and probably who most extensively discussed it. In his very first book, The Behavior of Organisms, introduces his conceptual system by presenting the compilation of an extensive research program previously carried and devotes considerable space to the motivating variables. And by presenting the drive concept he establishes the scope assigned to the traditional field of motivation in a science of behavior, as well as its place within a broader conceptual plan. Hence, understanding the origins of the treatment of motivation in Skinners work could be the basis for understanding how these variables would be handled within his explanoty system and (consequently) the analysis of behavior in general. The present study aims to conduct a systematic recovery on the development of the drive concept in Skinners work since the first reference made to the term (1930) to the first systematization of his treatment of Motivation (1938)




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