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The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 73–107 | Cite as

A study in the founding of applied behavior analysis through its publications

  • Edward K. MorrisEmail author
  • Deborah E. Altus
  • Nathaniel G. Smith
Article

Abstract

This article reports a study of the founding of applied behavior analysis through its publications. Our methods included hand searches of sources (e.g., journals, reference lists), search terms (i.e., early, applied, behavioral, research, literature), inclusion criteria (e.g., the field’s applied dimension), and (d) challenges to their face and content validity. Our results were 36 articles published between 1959 and 1967 that we organized into 4 groups: 12 in 3 programs of research and 24 others. Our discussion addresses (a) limitations in our method (e.g., the completeness of our search), (b) challenges to the validity of our methods and results (e.g., convergent validity), and (c) priority claims about the field’s founding. We conclude that the claims are irresolvable because identification of the founding publications depends significantly on methods and because the field’s founding was an evolutionary process. We close with suggestions for future research.

Key words

applied behavior analysis history publications priority claims method evolutionary epistemology 

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward K. Morris
    • 1
    Email author
  • Deborah E. Altus
    • 2
  • Nathaniel G. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Behavioral Science, 4001 Dole Human Development CenterUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Washburn UniversityUSA

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