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Resolving Barriers to an Applied Science of the Human Condition: Rule Governance and the Verbal Behavior of Applied Scientists

  • Martin Ivancic
  • Jordan BelisleEmail author
Review Article
  • 53 Downloads

Abstract

Rules / verbal behavior governing applied behavior scientists since Skinner have achieved great success resolving challenges experienced by individuals with severe developmental and intellectual disabilities. We extend prior work by Dixon, Belisle, Rehfeldt, and Root (2018, “Why We Are Still Not Acting to Save the World: The Upward Challenge of a Post-Skinnerian Behavior Science,” Perspectives on Behavior Science, 41, 241–267) by suggesting that many of these rules, applied inflexibly, are unlikely to resolve significant problems experienced by humans without these same intellectual challenges (i.e., most humans). Particularly, methodological models of human behavior that ignore both private events and advances in relational frame theory and that favor a bottom-up inductive theorizing have not, and we argue cannot, address uniquely human challenges. Instead, we propose alternative rules developed in part within contextual behavior science that are more consistent with Skinner’s radical behaviorism than are current approaches and that may expand the scope of applied behavior science. Only by adapting our own public and private verbal behavior as applied scientists can we move toward solving the wide range of challenges within the human condition.

Keywords

Radical behaviorism Contextual behavior science Pragmatism Reticulated theory Private events Automatic contingencies 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

No human participants were involved in the current study.

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.J. Iverson Riddle Developmental CenterMorgantonUSA
  2. 2.Missouri State UniversitySpringfieldUSA

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