Acceptance of Labels for Behavioral Response-Reduction Procedures and the Users of Those Procedures
The acceptability of labels for behavioral response-reduction procedures and the users of those procedures was evaluated. Introductory psychology students read a lesson designed to teach the behavior analysis concept conventionally known as punishment. In one version of the lesson, the concept was labeled as “punishment,” in another version it was labeled as “disinforcement,” and in a third version it was labeled as “attenuation.” The lessons also differed in terms of how the users of the response-reduction techniques were labeled: behavior analysts, radical behavior analysts, behaviorists, radical behaviorists, psychologists, and radical psychologists. The disinforcement and attenuation labels, and nonradical labels were more favorably evaluated than the punishment and radical labels. Psychologists were more favorably evaluated on some measures than behaviorists or behavior analysts. The discussion emphasizes the advantages of replacing terms that are responded to negatively with ones that will be more favorably received.
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