Killeen and Jacobs (2016) Are Not Wrong

Tue, 4 Jul 2017, 5:00 pm




Moving Beyond Reinforcement and Response Strength

Abstract

Behavior analysis has often simultaneously depended upon and denied an implicit, hypothetical process of reinforcement as response strengthening. I discuss what I see as problematic about the use of such an implicit, possibly inaccurate, and likely unfalsifiable theory and describe issues to consider with respect to an alternative view without response strengthening. In my take on such an approach, important events (i.e., “reinforcers”) provide a means to measure learning about predictive relations in the environment by modulating (i.e., inducing) performance dependent upon what is predicted and the relevant motivational mode or behavioral system active at that time (i.e., organismic state). Important events might be phylogenetically important, or they might acquire importance by being useful as signals for guiding an organism to where, when, or how currently relevant events might be obtained (or avoided). Given the role of learning predictive relations in such an approach, it is suggested that a potentially useful first step is to work toward formal descriptions of the structure of the predictive relations embodied in common facets of operant behavior (e.g., response-reinforcer contingencies, conditioned reinforcement, and stimulus control). Ultimately, the success of such an approach will depend upon how well it integrates formal characterizations of predictive relations (and how they are learned without response strengthening) and the relevant concomitant changes in organismic state across time. I also consider how thinking about the relevant processes in such a way might improve both our basic science and our technology of behavior.


Sun, 18 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm



Reinforcing Rilkean Memories

Thu, 15 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm


Driving With the Rear View Mirror

Thu, 15 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm


NEURAL Networks and Consumer Behavior: NEURAL Models, Logistic Regression, and the Behavioral Perspective Model

Abstract

This paper investigates the ability of connectionist models to explain consumer behavior, focusing on the feedforward neural network model, and explores the possibility of expanding the theoretical framework of the Behavioral Perspective Model to incorporate connectionist constructs. Numerous neural network models of varying complexity are developed to predict consumer loyalty as a crucial aspect of consumer behavior. Their performance is compared with the more traditional logistic regression model and it is found that neural networks offer consistent advantage over logistic regression in the prediction of consumer loyalty. Independently determined Utilitarian and Informational Reinforcement variables are shown to make a noticeable contribution to the explanation of consumer choice. The potential of connectionist models for predicting and explaining consumer behavior is discussed and routes for future research are suggested to investigate the predictive and explanatory capacity of connectionist models, such as neural network models, and for the integration of these into consumer behavior analysis within the theoretical framework of the Behavioral Perspective Model.


Thu, 15 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm


The Modulated Contingency

Thu, 15 Jun 2017, 5:00 pm


Beyond Basic or Applied

Sun, 14 May 2017, 5:00 pm


Contributions of Behavior Analysis to Behavioral Economics

Abstract

This article discusses behavior analysis’ contribution to behavioral economics. Nobel Laureate Award winner Herbert Simon described the science of economics in an evolutionary context in A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice. Without claiming any relation between the two publications, it was published two years after B.F. Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior. While popular behavioral economics continues the critique of Homo Economicus, the eagerness to prove that man is not rational carries the risk of substituting one mentalistic explanation for another. Behavior analysis may contribute to developing knowledge about behavioral economics and consumer behavior. The selectionist perspective, the generic principle of reinforcement, and single-subject research are its main contributions. The conceptual framework of behavior analysis enables investigation of the selection of functional relations between human choice behavior and its environmental contingencies. The circumstance-specific research methods of behavior analysis and the possibility to extend them into large-scale analysis provide the means to explain the psychological underpinnings of behavior. Behavior economics offers good descriptions of important phenomena, and behavior analysis contributes with the technology to explain and influence them.


Sun, 14 May 2017, 5:00 pm


The Fuzzy Concept of Applied Behavior Analysis Research

Abstract

A seven-dimension framework, introduced by Baer, Wolf, and Risley in an iconic 1968 article, has become the de facto gold standard for identifying “good” work in applied behavior analysis. We examine the framework’s historical context and show how its overarching attention to social relevance first arose and then subsequently fueled the growth of applied behavior analysis. Ironically, however, in contemporary use, the framework serves as a bottleneck that prevents many socially important problems from receiving adequate attention in applied behavior analysis research. The core problem lies in viewing the framework as a conjoint set in which “good” research must reflect all seven dimensions at equally high levels of integrity. We advocate a bigger-tent version of applied behavior analysis research in which, to use Baer and colleagues’ own words, “The label applied is determined not by the procedures used but by the interest society shows in the problem being studied.” Because the Baer-Wolf-Risley article expressly endorses the conjoint-set perspective and devalues work that falls outside the seven-dimension framework, pitching the big tent may require moving beyond that article as a primary frame of reference for defining what ABA should be.


Sun, 14 May 2017, 5:00 pm



A History of the Professional Credentialing of Applied Behavior Analysts

Abstract

The need for a credible professional credential became apparent early in the history of applied behavior analysis. The first efforts to develop a system that identified behavior-analytic practitioners having a specified level of expertise in the profession began in the early 1970s. Over the years, a number of credentialing initiatives were developed in an effort to meet the profession’s growing needs for a means of establishing a meaningful professional identity. This article reviews the evolution of these initiatives, culminating with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and the more recent movement toward state licensure.


Wed, 10 May 2017, 5:00 pm




The Future of Behavior Analysis: Foxes and Hedgehogs Revisited

Abstract

Some twenty-five years ago The Behavior Analyst published a paper by David Rider (The Behavior Analyst, 14, 171–181, 1991) titled “The speciation of behavior analysis.” Rider’s thesis was that basic and applied behavior analysis, for a variety of reasons, are destined to become independent species. In a commentary on this paper I pointed out, for example, that scientists and engineers are interdependent, especially at the frontiers of application. I was sanguine about a continuing analogous relationship between basic and applied behavior analysis. However, especially in the last decade, indications are that basic and applied behavior analysis may indeed be emerging as distinct species. I discuss several themes in a review of the “literature of survival” addressing the evolving complex relations between basic and applied behavior analysis, including constraints on training leading to narrow foci of application, our often self-imposed isolation from those with whom we could productively collaborate, and the difficulties of obtaining sufficient support for our science. All these challenges reflect a briar-patch of interlocking contingencies; each one depends crucially on the others and we cannot effectively address any in isolation. Thus solutions will not be easy, but our long-term survival as a coherent discipline absolutely depends on finding some.


Thu, 4 May 2017, 5:00 pm



A Review of SAFMEDS: Evidence for Procedures, Outcomes and Directions for Future Research

Abstract

SAFMEDS is an assessment and instructional strategy pioneered in the late 1970s by Ogden Lindsley. SAFMEDS was developed as an extension and improvement of flashcards. The aims of this article are to provide an overview of the literature related to SAFMEDS and to identify further research needs. The results of this review suggest that a great deal of research is still needed to clarify the SAFMEDS procedures and the benefits of SAFMEDS over traditional instruction. These conclusions are in line with broader criticisms of fluency-based instruction.


Tue, 18 Apr 2017, 5:00 pm