Advertisement

The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 153–160 | Cite as

Misconception and Miseducation: Presentations of Radical Behaviorism in Psychology Textbooks

  • James T. Todd
  • Edward K. Morris
Article

Abstract

Behavior analysts have recently expressed concern about what appear to be misrepresentations of behaviorism in psychology textbooks. This paper presents an analysis of currently used textbooks in the areas of introductory, social, cognitive, personality, and developmental psychology that confirms this. Topics on which behavior analysis is most often misrepresented relate to the role of animal learning research, environmentalism, the “empty organism,” language, and the overall utility of the approach. Because textbooks are often a major medium of interaction between the public and behaviorism, behavior analysts must work to correct these errors and to prevent possible negative consequences of widespread misunderstanding. Several potential solutions to these problems are presented that take into account current publishing practices and the monetary contingencies which support them.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference Notes

  1. 1.
    Holland, J. G. Personal communication about his audience comments made after a paper presented by Knapp (Note 6).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    DellaLana, C. M. A source of abuse: Misrepresentation ofbehaviorism in teacher training. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, May, 1982.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Knapp, T. Skinner and secondary sources. Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, May, 1981.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lucas, A. Do interval schedules occur in “everyday life”? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, May, 1982.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Todd, J. T., & Morris, E. K. The conception of misconception: Misrepresentation of radical behaviorism in psychology textbooks. Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, May, 1981.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Knapp, T. History, biography, and behaviorism. Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Detroit, May, 1980.Google Scholar

References

  1. Abroms, K. I., & Bennett, J. W. Current genetic and demographic findings in Down’s Syndrome: How are they presented in college textbooks on exceptionality? Mental Retardation, 1980, 18, 101–107.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Ayllon, T., & Azrin, N. The token economy: A motivational system for therapy and rehabilitation. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey, R. E., & Bailey, M. B. A view from outside the Skinner box. American Psychologist, 1980, 35, 942–946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bavelas, J. B. Personality: Current theory and research. Monterey, Calif.: Brooks/Cole, 1978.Google Scholar
  5. Bijou, S. W. Some clarifications on the meaning of a behavior analysis of child development. Psychological Record, 1979, 29, 3–13.Google Scholar
  6. Bourne, L. E., Jr., & Ekstrand, B. R. Psychology: Its principles and meanings (3rd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1979.Google Scholar
  7. Brownstein, A. J. Letter to the editor. Division 25 Recorder, 1981, 16(3), 6.Google Scholar
  8. Buys, C. J. Freud in introductory psychology texts. Teaching of Psychology, 1976, 3, 160–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Catania, A. C. (Ed.). Contemporary research in operant behavior. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1968.Google Scholar
  10. Chomsky, N. Review of Skinner’s verbal behavior. Language, 1959, 35, 26–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cornwell, D., & Hobbs, S. The strange saga of Little Albert. New Society, 1976, March 18, 602–604.Google Scholar
  12. Day, W. F. Contemporary behaviorism and the concept of intention. In W. J. Arnold (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (Vol. 25). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976.Google Scholar
  13. Day, W. F. The historical antecedents of contemporary behaviorism. In R. W. Rieber & K. Salzinger (Eds.), Psychology: Theoretical-historical perspectives. New York: Academic Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  14. Epstein, R., Lanza, R. P., & Skinner, B. F. Symbolic communication between two pigeons (Columba livia domestica). Science, 1980, 207, 543–545.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Fein, G. G. Child development. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1978.Google Scholar
  16. Ferster, C. B., & Skinner, B. F. Schedules of reinforcement. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fodor, J. A. The mind-body problem. Scientific American, 1981, 244, 114–123.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Foss, D. J. CP speaks. Contemporary Psychology, 1981, 26, 3–4.Google Scholar
  19. Freedman, J. L. Introductory psychology. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1978.Google Scholar
  20. Geiwitz, J., & Moursund, J. Approaches to personality: An introduction to people. Monterey, Calif.: Brooks/Cole, 1979.Google Scholar
  21. Hall, C. S., & Lindzey, G. Theories of personality (3rd ed.). New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1978.Google Scholar
  22. Harris, B. Whatever happened to Little Albert? American Psychologist, 1979, 34, 151–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Herrnstein, R. J. The evolution of behaviorism. American Psychologist, 1977, 32, 593–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hogan, R., & Schroeder, D. Seven biases in psychology. Psychology Today, 1981, 15(7), 8–14.Google Scholar
  25. Honig and J. E. R. Staddon (Eds.), Handbook of Operant Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977.Google Scholar
  26. Jones, M. C. A laboratory study of fear: The case of Peter. Pedagogical Seminary, 1924, 31, 308–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Katz, R. C., & Zlutnick, S. Behavior therapy and health care: Principles and application. New York: Pergamon Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  28. Lefton, L. A. Psychology. Rockleigh, N.J.: Allyn and Bacon, 1979.Google Scholar
  29. Liebert, R. M., & Spiegler, M. D. Personality: Strategies and issues. Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  30. London, P. Beginning psychology (rev. ed.). Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  31. Lovaas, O. I. Learning theory approach to the treatment of childhood schizophrenia. In California Mental Health Research Symposium, No. 2. Behavior and theory and therapy. Sacramento, Calif.: Department of Mental Hygiene, 1968.Google Scholar
  32. Lux, D. F., & Daniel, R. S. Which courses are most frequently listed by psychology departments? Teaching of Psychology, 1978, 5, 13–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MacCorquodale, K. On Chomsky’s review of Skinner’s Verbal behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 1970, 13, 83–99.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. McKearney, J. W., & Barrett, J. E. Schedule-controlled behavior and the effects of drugs. In D. E. Blackman & D. J. Sanger (Eds.), Contemporary research in behavioral pharmacology. New York: Plenum Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  35. Meyer, M. E. (Ed.). Foundations of contemporary psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.Google Scholar
  36. Miller, D. R. An analysis of the treatment of “Jen-senism” in introductory psychology textbooks. Teaching of Psychology, 1980, 7, 137–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moore, J. On the principle of operationism in a science of behavior. Behaviorism, 1975, 3, 120–138.Google Scholar
  38. Moore, J. On behaviorism and private events. Psychological Record, 1980, 30, 459–475.Google Scholar
  39. Moore, J. On mentalism, methodological behaviorism, and radical behaviorism. Behaviorism, 1981, 9, 55–77.Google Scholar
  40. Mussen, P. H., Conger, J. J., & Kagan, J. Child development and personality. New York: Harper & Row, 1979.Google Scholar
  41. Nietzel, M. T., Winett, R. A., MacDonald, M. L., & Davidson, W. S. Behavioral approaches to community psychology. New York: Pergamon Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  42. Papalia, D. E., & Olds, S. W. A child’s world: Infancy through adolescence (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979.Google Scholar
  43. Prytula, R. E., Oster, G. D., & Davis, S. F. The “rat-rabbit” problem: What did John B. Watson really do? Teaching of Psychology, 1977, 4, 44–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Richelle, M. Formal analysis and functional analysis of verbal behavior: Notes on the debate between Chomsky and Skinner. Behaviorism, 1975, 4, 209–221.Google Scholar
  45. Ryckman, R. M. Theories of personality. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1978.Google Scholar
  46. Schwartz, B. On going back to nature: A review of Seligman and Hager’s Biological boundaries of learning. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 1974, 21, 183–198.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  47. Segal, E. F. Psycholinguistics discovers the operant: A review of Roger Brown’s A first language: The early stages. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 1975, 23, 149–158.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. Segal, E. Toward a coherent psychology of language. In W. K. Honig & J. E. R. Staddon (Eds.), Handbook of operant behavior. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977.Google Scholar
  49. Sidman, M., & Tailby, W. Conditional discrimination vs matching to sample: An expansion of the testing paradigm. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 1982, 37, 5–22.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. Skinner, B. F. The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1938.Google Scholar
  51. Skinner, B. F. The operational analysis of psychological terms. Psychological Review, 1945, 52, 270–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Skinner, B. F. “Superstition” in the pigeon. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1948, 38, 168–172.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Skinner, B. F. Are theories of learning necessary? Psychological Review, 1950, 57, 193–216.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Skinner, B. F. Science and human behavior. New York: MacMillan, 1953.Google Scholar
  55. Skinner, B. F. A case history in scientific method. American Psychologist, 1956, 11, 221–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Skinner, B. F. Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Skinner, B. F. The phylogeny and ontogeny of behavior. Science, 1966, 153, 1205–1213.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Skinner, B. F. Contingencies of reinforcement: A theoretical analysis. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1969.Google Scholar
  59. Skinner, B. F. Beyond freedom and dignity. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971.Google Scholar
  60. Skinner, B. F. Answers for my critics. In H. Wheeler (Ed.), Beyond the punitive society. San Francisco: Freeman, 1973.Google Scholar
  61. Skinner, B. F. About behaviorism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974.Google Scholar
  62. Skinner, B. F. Why I am not a cognitive psychologist. Behaviorism, 1911, 5, 1–10.Google Scholar
  63. Skinner, B. F. Selection by consequences. Science, 1981, 213, 501–504.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Wasserman, E. A. Comparative psychology returns: A review of Hulse, Fowler, and Honig’s Cognitive processes in animal behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 1981, 35, 243–257.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  65. Watson, J. B. Behaviorism. New York: Norton, 1930.Google Scholar
  66. Watson, J. B., & Rayner, R. Conditioned emotional reactions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1920, 3, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wolf, M. M. Social validity: The case for subjective measurement. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1978, 11, 203–214.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  68. Zimbardo, P. G. Psychology and life (10th ed.). Glen view, Ill.: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • James T. Todd
    • 1
  • Edward K. Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

Personalised recommendations