The Psychological Record

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 23–30 | Cite as

A History of “Behavior” and “Mind”: Use of Behavioral and Cognitive Terms in the 20th Century

  • Javier Virues-OrtegaEmail author
  • Joseph J. Pear
Original Article


If we assume that the terms used in a book tend to reflect its orientation, this provides a way to compare the relative trajectories of the influences of cognitivism and behaviorism. In Study 1, we used the search engine Google Ngram to search for the terms behavior and mind in all books printed in English over the period 1900 to 2008. The results for all books tend to support the pattern of standard accounts of the so-called behavioral and cognitive revolutions. In Study 2, we replicated the analysis with a selection of terms specific to behavioral psychology and to cognitive psychology. Again, the results supported the pattern of the so-called behavioral and cognitive revolutions. Neither study showed any indication that cognitivism had replaced behaviorism, although it has in fact overtaken it. The present methodology may open the way for a new quantitative approach to study trends in scientific theories.


Behavior Mind Cognition Causal analysis 


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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