Explanatory Reductionism in Behavior Analysis

  • David W. Schaal

Abstract

Radical behaviorism asserts the validity of a purely functional analytic approach to the science of behavior. Reliable, general functional relations between environmental and behavioral variables constitute behavior-analytic explanations, behavior principles. Temporal gaps exist between the terms in these relations, ranging on the order of seconds (e.g., in the case of delayed matching-to-sample performance) to hours, days, and years (e.g., in the case of the lasting effects of classical and operant conditioning). Those temporal gaps almost seem like badges of honor to radical behaviorists; they are compared to the spatial gaps over which celestial bodies exert their influence. Not only is it unnecessary for radical behaviorists to fill the gaps with brain events (or cognitive events), it is suspected that it might be misleading, or perhaps impossible, to do so. As graduate students several of us memorized word for word this quote from Wittgenstein:

I saw this man years ago: now I see him again, I recognize him, I remember his name. And why does there have to be a cause of this remembering in my nervous system? Why must something or other, whatever it may be, be stored up there in any form? Why must a trace have been left behind? Why should there not be a psychological regularity to which no physiological regularity corresponds? If this overturns our concept of causality then it is time it was overturned. (cited in Malcolm, 1977, p. 166)

Keywords

Dopamine Schizophrenia Cocaine Resis Catecholamine 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Akil, H., Campeau, S., Cullinan, W. E., Lechan, R. M., Toni, R., Watson, S. J., & Moore, R. Y. (1990). Neuroendocrine systems I: Overview—thyroid and adrenal axes. In M. J. Zigmond, F. E. Bloom, S. C. Landis, J. L. Roberts, & L. R. Squire (Eds.), Fundamental Neuroscience. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 1127–1150.Google Scholar
  2. Bickel, W. K., DeGrandpre, R. J., Higgins, S. T., & Hughes, J. R. (1990). Behavioral economics of drug self-administration: I. Functional equivalence of response requirement and unit dose. Life Science, 47, 1501–1510.Google Scholar
  3. Branch, M. N., & Schaal, D. W. (1990). The role of theory in behavioral pharmacology. In Thompson, T., Dews, P. B. & Barrett, J. E. (Eds.) Advances in Behavioral Pharmacology, Vol. 7 (pp. 171–196 ). Orlando: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Carew, T. J., Hawkins, R. D., & Kandel, E. R. (1983). Differential classical conditioning of a defensive withdrawal reflex in Aplysia californica. Science, 219, 397–400.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carew, T. J., Walters, E. T., Kandel, E. R. (1981). Classical conditioning in a simple withdrawal reflex in Aplysia californica. Journal of Neuroscience, 1, 1426–37.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Carlson, N. R. (2001). Physiology of Behavior, 7th Ed. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  7. Di Chiara, G. (1995). The role of dopamine in drug abuse viewed from the perspective of its role in motivation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 38, 95–137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Donahoe, J. W., & Palmer, D. C. (1994). Learning and complex behavior. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  9. Donahoe, J. W., Palmer, D. C., & Burgos, J. E. (1997).The S-R issue: Its status in behavior analysis and in Donahoe & Palmer’sLearning and Complex Behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior,67,246–253.Google Scholar
  10. Frysztak, R. J., & Crow, T. (1994). Enhancement of type B and A photoreceptor inhibitory synaptic in conditioned Hermissenda.Journal of Neuroscience,14, 1245–1250.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Funahashi, S., Chafee, M. V., Goldman-Rakic, P. S. (1993). Prefrontal neuronal activity in rhesus monkeys performing a delayed anti-saccade task.Nature,365,753–756.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gardner, H. (1987). The Mind’s New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution. Basic Books:Google Scholar
  13. Gazzaniga, M. S. (1995). The Cognitive Neurosciences.MIT Press:Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  14. Glanzman, D. L. (1995). The cellular basis of classical conditioning in Aplysia californica-it’s less simple than you think. Trends in the Neurosciences, 18,30–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldman-Rakic P. S. (1995a). Architecture of the prefrontal cortex and the central executive. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences,769, 71–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goldman-Rakic, P. S. (1995b). Cellular basis of working memory. Neuron, 14,477’485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goldman-Rakic, P. S. (1999). The physiological approach: functional architecture of working memory and disordered cognition in schizophrenia.Biological Psychiatry, 46, 650–661.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Greenough, W. T., Black, J. E., & Wallace, C. S. (1987). Experience and brain development. Child Development, 58,539–559. PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hawkins, R. D., Abrams, T. W., Carew, T. J., & Kandel, E. R. (1983). A cellular mechanism of classical conditioning in Aplysia: Activity-dependent amplification of presynaptic facilitation. Science, 219, 400–405.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Held, R., & Hein, A. V. (1963). Movement-produced stimulation in the development of visually-guided behavior. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 56, 872–876.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lashley, K. (1963). Brain mechanisms and intelligence: a quantitative study of injuries to the brain. New York: Hafner Publications. (Original work published 1929 )Google Scholar
  22. Lattal, K. A. (1984). Signal functions in delayed reinforcement. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 42, 239–253.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lederhendler, I., Gart, S., & Alkon, D. L. (1986). Classical conditioning of Hermissenda: Origin of a new response. Journal of Neuroscience, 6, 1325–1331.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Ledoux, J. (1995). Emotion: Clues from the brain. Annual Review of Psychology, 46, 209–235.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lejuez, C. W., Schaal, D. W., & O’Donnell, J. (1998). Behavioral pharmacology and the treatment of substance abuse. In J. J. Plaud & G. H. Eifert (Eds), From Behavior Theory to Behavior Therapy (pp. 116–135 ). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  26. Malcolm, N. (1977). Memory and Mind. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  27. Marr, M. J. (1990). Behavioral pharmacology: Issues of reductionism and causality. In J. E. Barrett, T. Thompson, & P. B. Dews (Eds.), Advances in behavioral pharmacology (Vol. 7, pp. 1–12 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  28. Mayr, E. (1982). The Growth of Biological Thought. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  29. Pickens, R., & Thompson, T. (1968). Cocaine-reinforced behavior in rats: Effects of reinforcement magnitude and fixed-ratio size. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 161, 122–129.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Schaal, D. W., Shahan, T. A., Kovera, C. A., & Reilly, M. P. (1998). Mechanisms underlying the effects of unsignaled delayed reinforcement on key pecking of pigeons under variable-interval schedules. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 69, 103–122.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schaal, D. W., Schuh, K. J., & Branch, M. N. (1992). Key pecking of pigeons under variable-interval schedules of briefly signaled delayed reinforcement: Effects of variable-interval value. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 58, 277–286.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schreurs, B. G. (1989). Classical conditioning of model systems: A behavioral review. Psychobiology, 17, 145–155.Google Scholar
  33. Selye, H. (1936). A syndrome produced by diverse nocuous agents. Nature, 138, 22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sizemore, O. J., & Lattal, K. A. (1977). Dependency, temporal contiguity, and response-independent reinforcement. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 27,119–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Skinner, B. F. (1931). The concept of the reflex in the description of behavior. Journal of General Psychology, 5427–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  37. Skinner, B. F. (1950). Are theories of learning necessary? Psychological Review, 57,193–216.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Skinner, B. F. (1974). About Behavorism. Random House: New York.Google Scholar
  39. Stein, L. (1997). Biological substrates of operant conditioning and the operant-respondent distinction. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 67, 246–253.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stein, L., Xue, B. G., & Belluzzi, J. D. (1993). A cellular analogue of operant conditioning. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 60, 41–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stein, L., Xue, B. G., & Belluzzi, J. D. (1994). In vitro reinforcement of hippocampal bursting: A search for Skinner’s atoms of behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 61, 155–168.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tessel, R. E., Schroeder, S. R., Loupe, P. S., & Stodgell, C. J. (1995). Reversal of 6HD-induced neonatal brain catecholamine depletion after operant training. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, & Behavior, 51, 861–867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Thompson, R. E. (1994). Behaviorism and neuroscience. Psychological Review, 101, 259–265.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Thompson, R. E, & Krupa, D. J. (1994). Organization of memory traces in the mammalian brain. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 17, 519–549.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Thompson, T. (1984). Behavioral mechanisms of drug dependence. In T. Thompson, P. B. Dews, & J. E. Barrett (Eds.), Advances in Behavioral Pharmacology (Vol. 4, pp. 1–45 ). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  46. Thompson, T., & Schuster, C. R. (1968). Behavioral Pharmacology. Englewoord Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  47. Uttal, W. R. (1998). Toward a New Behaviorism: The Case Against Perceptual Reductionism. Lawrence Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ.Google Scholar
  48. Wilson, F. A., Scalaidhe, S. P., Goldman-Rakic, P. S. (1993). Dissociation of object and spatial processing domains in primate prefrontal cortex. Science, 260, 1955–1958.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • David W. Schaal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

Personalised recommendations