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Confluence of Science and History in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Course

  • SI: Teaching the History of Behavior Analysis
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This is a review of content and method for incorporating the history of the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB) into the EAB course, although the material also could be adapted for any course related to the topics of learning and behavior change, or the history of psychology. Six elements associated with establishing a new discipline are considered as a framework for introducing the history of EAB: the intellectual leader/founding scientist(s), early proponents of the new area who advance and elaborate on the founder’s ideas, the cultural context in which the discipline develops, a set of methods, a textbook, and means of communicating with other, similarly inclined scientists. The historical ebb and flow of research and some of the reasons for these shifts are discussed next, with examples of EAB research themes that have shifted over time. Illustrating the history of EAB with specific milestone experiments seems a useful way to both introduce substantive research and its history. To that end, milestone experiments in EAB are discussed. The review ends with considerations about locating historical material within the EAB course.

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Correspondence to Kennon A. Lattal.

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Lattal, K.A. Confluence of Science and History in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Course. Perspect Behav Sci 45, 743–755 (2022).

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