Learning By A. C. Catania
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Conclusion and Summary
Professor Catania’s book, Learning, deals with a wider variety of important issues than any other single text currently available in the experimental analysis of behavior. The book emphasizes the continuity of behavioral processes, from lower animals to humans, from maze running to lever pressing to paired-associate learning. The book also gives a true picture of what it means to be a behaviorist. It does not do so because it eschews data from runways and mazes in favor of data from operant chambers, or because it considers only intersubjectively verifiable events, but precisely because it does consider data from apparatuses other than operant chambers, and in the case of private events, consider events not themselves verifiable by more than one person. The essential feature of behaviorism, therefore, is its epistemology, not its hardware, and we get an excellent illustration of this epistemology at work in the text. Now, whether any text should be used by an instructor is a way of asking whether that text will help achieve the special reinforcers that come from teaching. Catania’s text has for me.
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