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


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.


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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

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