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December 17 - Behavior Analysis - Buck/Weigle
Behavior Analysis: Science and Application
RET members Dave Buck and Karen Weigle will present this topic.

From Dave Buck:

Hi, all,

Karen and I are leading the roundtable next week. The title is Behavior Analysis: the science and application. The bulk of the discussion will be on application (Karen) but the beginning will touch on history, concepts, terminology, philosophy, and basic science (me).

The biggest hurdle for me is getting beyond the misrepresentations of behaviorism that are still prevalent today. In fact I just read a brand new study uncovering the frequency of completely inaccurate summaries of behaviorism in college textbooks. The authors suggested that textbook writers appear to base their summaries from 2nd or 3rd sources such as a limited # of reviews or critiques of Skinner and behaviorism and have clearly never read a single word of what Skinner actually wrote. The other tragedy is that the textbook writers often define behaviorism as all the stuff Watson did as though it was Skinner’s work and then never get to what behaviorism became or how it continues to evolve. They never get into the richness and reality of Skinner’s contributions.

So, as a short introduction, I suggest reading the first chapter of Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior. It’s just 8 short pages in which he proposes his radical idea, radical for the time anyway. It is here he suggests that ‘science’ is the best means for understanding human behavior and culture, but wonders if humanity is ready for the ramifications. You’ll get the impression that Skinner would fit right in at RET. Click the link below. It’s an online PDF version of the book provided free to the public by the B.F. Skinner Foundation.

I also invite you to glance at the table of contents. Anyone who was taught that Skinner ignored ‘the mind’, or emotions or other complex psychological concepts will wonder where someone would ever such an idea.



B. F. Skinner (1953). Science and Human Behavior.

For those who wish to go a step further…. http://www.bfskinner.org/aboutbfskinner.html

And for the seriously curious… http://www.bfskinner.org/educational.html

Dave Buck

Posted by pking
Dec. 11, 2006