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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #394
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

The Syncretic Analysis of Behavior (SAB)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Lucerne, Swissotel
Area: EAB; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Peter R. Killeen, Ph.D.
Chair: Eric S. Murphy (University of Alaska Anchorage)
PETER R. KILLEEN (Arizona State University)
Dr. Peter Killeen is professor of psychology at Arizona State University, and has also been visiting scholar at the University of Texas, Cambridge University, and the Centre for Advanced Study, Oslo. He is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, has held a Senior Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, has been president of the Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior (from which organization he appropriately received the Poetry in Science Award in 2002), held the American Psychological Association F. J. McGuigan Lectureship on Understanding the Human Mind, and received the Ernest and Josephine Hilgard Award for the Best Theoretical Paper (Killeen & Nash, 2003). Dr. Killeen has made many highly innovative and fundamental contributions to the experimental and quantitative analysis of behavior. His major work includes the development of incentive theory, culminating in the mathematical principles of reinforcement (Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 1994), and the behavioral theory of timing (Psychological Review, 1988). He is the author of 80 peer-reviewed papers, many of which have been heavily cited. He has served on the boards of editors of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Behavioural Processes, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Psychological Review, Brain & Behavioral Functions, and Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews. Dr. Killeen's quantitative and conceptual developments have enriched behavior analysis and the world beyond.

Any perturbation of the stream of behavior has numerous effects. Delivery of a food reinforcer will activate approach and alimentary responses, elicit search modes, and instigate species typical foraging or predation repertoires. Any correlated stimuli will become conditioned--as an occasion-setter, conditioned stimulus, discriminative stimulus, or conditioned reinforcer. If the correlation is positive those stimuli will be approached; if negative avoided. Theories of conditioning have focused on one or another of these factors; that is called analysis. Synthesis requires understanding the development of these processes, each at its own rate, and as each interacts with the others. The resulting system is complex, in that it involves dynamic networks of interactions. The degree to which responses support or compete with each other, and each with higher-level organizations, may be described with the Price Equation. The evolution of dynamic and average steady states requires other models. This lecture provides an introduction to this next step in the evolution of the experimental analysis of behavior, toward the Syncretic Approach to Behavior, SAB.

Target Audience:

Researchers in both basic and applied behavior analysis who are wondering "where next?".

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to: (1) outline in a few sentences the syncretic approach to behavior; (2) apply the syncretic approach to situations of interest to them, in laboratory or classroom; (3) discuss with peers how the syncretic approach unifies the various threads of learning theory; (4) relate the price equation to field theories such as Kantor's.



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