A Simulation-Oriented Formalization for a Psychological Theory

  • Paulo Salem da Silva
  • Ana C. Vieira de Melo
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4422)


In this paper we present a formal specification of a traditionally informal domain of knowledge: the Behavior Analysis psychological theory. Our main objective is to highlight some motivations, issues, constructions and insights that, we believe, are particular to the task of formalizing a preexisting informal theory. In order to achieve this, we give a short introduction to Behavior Analysis and then explore in detail some fragments of the full specification, which is written using the Z formal method. With such a specification, we argue, one is in better position to implement a software system that relates to an actual psychological theory. Such relation could be useful, for instance, in the implementation of multi-agent simulators.


Conditioned Stimulus Formal Method Behavior Analysis Psychological Theory Operant Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Skinner, B.F.: Science and Human Behavior. The Free Press, New York (1953)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jacky, J.: The way of Z: practical programming with formal methods. Cambridge University Press, New York (1996)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    d’Inverno, M., Luck, M.: Understanding Agent Systems. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    d’Inverno, M.: Modelling and simulating the behaviour of adult stem cells using agent-based systems (2006),
  5. 5.
    Bush, P.C., Sejnowski, T.J.: Simulations of a reconstructed cerebellar purkinje cell based on simplified channel kinetics. Neural Computation 3(3), 321–332 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lytton, W.W., Sejnowski, T.J.: Simulations of cortical pyramidal neurons synchronized by inhibitory interneurons. Journal of Neurophysiology 66(3), 1059–1079 (1991)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Woodcock, J., Davies, J.: Using Z: Specification, Refinement, and Proof. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (1996)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    W3C: Web ontology language (2004),
  9. 9.
    Stanford Medical Informatics: The protégé ontology editor and knowledge acquisition system (2006),
  10. 10.
    Saaltink, M.: The Z/EVES 2.0 User’s Guide. ORA Canada (1999)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Catania, C.A.: Learning. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (1998)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Watson, J.B.: Psychology as the behaviorist views it. Psychological Review 20, 158–177 (1913)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paulo Salem da Silva
    • 1
  • Ana C. Vieira de Melo
    • 1
  1. 1.University of São Paulo, Department of Computer Science, São Paulo –Brazil

Personalised recommendations