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Behaviorism Still Alive and Kicking

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Unit 1 Discussion Board
Applying Learning Theories
EDU622-1304C-02
Regina Dzwonar

Most records acknowledged formal education as existing as least as far back as ancient Greece. The big three names universally known are Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Education at this time was concerned mainly with reason, logic and philosophy. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle differed in preferences of extremes. Socrates is infamous for pushing limits while Aristotle preached balance. Many historians consider Plato the most sophisticated of the three; Socrates taught on the streets of Athens. Sources, such as the American Psychological Association, credit Plato, with founding the first formal institution of education, “After returning to Athens, Plato set up his own school, which was called the Academy. Philosophy and other subjects were taught there, and the Academy continued to produce scholars for many centuries after Plato died.” (Downey, 2006, para. 6). Aristotle, according to legend, was the teacher of Alexander the Great. The most notable theory from this time the Socratic Method, which consists of posing probing questions to students rather than espousing a hierarchy of knowledge.
Brief History of its Founding
Modern theories such as behaviorism, founded in the early twentieth century, are associated with theorists including Watson, Skinner, Pavlov and Thorndike. Watson known as the father of behaviorism proposed an alternative to the views of Wilhelm Wundt the founder of the discipline of psychology in1879. (Moore, 2011, p. 1). According to Moore, “Wundt assumed that the study of consciousness or subjective mental life was the appropriate subject matter for psychology.” (Moore, 2011, p. 1, para.1). Watson proposed that study and analysis should focus on observable behavior and that concerns with consciousness only hampered the process. (Driscoll, 2005, p. 31) The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, defines the theory in these terms,
Behaviorism, school of psychology which seeks to explain animal and human behavior entirely in terms of observable and measurable responses to environmental stimuli. Behaviorism was introduced (1913) by the American psychologist John B. Watson who insisted that behavior is a physiological reaction to environmental stimuli. (2013)..
Watson, insisting that the study should be more objective, borrowed measurement and analytical techniques from “animal psychology.” (Moore, 2011, p. 3, para.1). Skinner went on to create an approach now known as behavioral analysis and “The philosophy of science underlying behavior analysis is called radical behaviorism.” (2011, p. 8, para. 2).
Main Components
J. Moore of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, lists eight main components or basic principles of behaviorism. The first is Behavior, the name for that part of the functioning of an organism that consists of its interacting with its surrounding environmental circumstances. The second is Analytical concepts: Functional, relational, and generic such as what how one defines reinforce in terms of its function. The third is Behavior: public and private. The fourth is Opposition to mentalism and its concerns with the internal causes of behavior. The fifth is Selection by environmental consequences such as what is the species being studied. The sixth is Verbal behavior as operant behavior such as knowledge that one expresses by speaking or reciting. The seventh and eight principals are Pragmatism and Social activism. The ninth is Summary, which is a comprehensive science of behavior concerned with accounting for, predicting, controlling, influencing, explaining and in a very broad sense understanding behavior. (2013, pp. 8-12).
Driscoll explains behaviorism, in much more practical terms, as involving the experimental analysis of behavior, which leads to the principles of behavior management, providing the basis for applications including behavior modification, PSI, instructional objectives, and performance analysis and improvement. (2013, p. 29). She goes on to list the principals of behavior management as strengthening and weakening operant behaviors, teaching new behaviors, maintaining behavior and planning a program of behavior change. (2013, p. 30).
There are four types of Operant Conditioning, Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Punishments and Extinction. (Plaskon, 2013, slide 6). According to Driscoll, Skinner’s learning principles account for the strengthening or weakening of existing behaviors as well as the learning of new ones (Driscoll, 2005, p. 36). Strengthening a response is positive reinforcement, which refers to the presentation of a satisfying stimulus contingent upon a response that results in the strengthening of that response. (Driscoll, 2005, p. 37). Examples of positive reinforcement include giving a dog a reward for sitting or staying or giving a child a sticker each time he picks up his toys. Negative reinforcement also strengthens behavior. It may occur, at least at my house, when a child is relieved of the horror of accompanying his parents to the movies if he behavea responsibility while the parents are absent. An example of extinction, designed to weaken behavior, is taking away computer time when if child visits inappropriate websites. Punishment, likewise designed to weaken behavior, can consist of forcing a child to clean the entire bathroom each time he leaves wet towels on the floor.
Three Behaviorist Experiments One of the more controversial experiments attributed to the theory of behaviorism is “The Little Albert Experiment.” Rumors about as to what became of the infant that Watson studied in his effort to prove the superiority of the concepts of classical conditioning over Freud’s concepts of psychoanalysis. (Rilling, 2004). Watson rejected Freud’s ideas concept of the unconscious and that all neurosis was sexual and wanted to take issue with these views based on the experimental evidence he gathered. (Rilling, 2004). The following summarizes the experiment as described in more detail in an article from the American Psychological Association. (Beck, Levinson, and Irons, 2009). During the winter of 1919-1920, according to the article, there was an experiment involving a child named Albert who Watson and Rosemary Raynor assessed at eight, eleven, and twelve months of age. (Beck, et al., 2009). They describe him as a healthy, unemotional child who rarely cried. (Beck et al., 2009). In a baseline assessment, Albert at the age of eight months responded inquisitively but not fearfully to bocks, a marble, a crayon, a fire, a monkey, a dog, a rabbit, and a white labrotory rat. (Beck et al., 2009). At eleven months, Watson’s first attmepted to condition him, Albert was shown sevel pairings of the rat and a loud noise. (Beck et al., 2009). This now evoked what Watson interpreted as fear, and similar but less intense reactions were observed to a rabbit, a dog, a fur coat, and Santa Clause Mask. (Beck et al., 2009). Watson concluded that, “He did not have to appeal to Freud’s concept of the unconscious, to explain that a when rat, which previously did not elicit fear from Albert, was paired with the loud sound, it produced through the mechanism classical conditioning a response of conditioned fear in Little Albert.” (Rilling, 2004). Skinner believed that the best way to understand behavior is to look at the causes of an action and its consequences and he called this approach operant conditioning. (Plaskon, 2013, slide 13) He believed that we could fully understood behavior in terms of environmental variables and behavior. (Driscoll, 2005, p. 23) According to Driscoll, “By systemically observing behavior and manipulating environmental variables surrounding it, Skinner set out to discover the laws that govern learning. (Driscoll, 2005, p. 34)
Skinner, in an Indiana University article describes design objectives for his experimental box, “The apparatus here described was designed to provide an escape-from-shock motive in connection with a lever-pressing response in rats, to permit the use of automatic controlling and recording devices which require little or no supervision.” (1947). He explains process involved and how the responses were calculated,
This apparatus has been in use for more than 350 hours. At no time has a rat been observed to escape punishment except by the desired response of pressing the lever. The records (shown in figure 3) were obtained by conditioning rats to press the lever to eliminate shock. The shock recurred 15 seconds after each response so that at an advanced state of conditioning (with no anticipatory responding), the curve should be a straight line with a slope of four responses per minute. (Skinner and Campbell, 1947).
Ivan Pavlov conducted one of the most famous experiments in any field. Not everyone knows the details, but even children’s cartoons reference Pavlov’s Dog. What most people do not know is that Pavlov argued fiercely against the suffering animals experienced during, believe it or not, live dissections. (Fields, 2006). During a study, he began to notice some dogs beginning to salivate before they were given food. (Fields, 2006). He referred to this a “psychic secretion,” and suspected the dogs were responding to other stimuli such as the smell. (Fields, 2006) He conducted experiments in which food was placed at different distances from the animals, discovered that some began to salivate even when no food was presented and conclude that they were responding to environmental factors they had learned to associate with the food. (Fields, 2006) The following is a description of his study of conditioned reflexes,
In order to reduce the number of external influences, Pavlov isolated some of the dogs and began to pair the unrelated stimuli (sounds, flashing lights, etc.) with their feeding, which was now done by machine. He discovered that a neutral stimulus (such as the ringing of a bell) could become a conditioned stimulus, and could produce a conditioned reflex (such as salivation) if the neutral stimulus was consistently pared with an unconditioned stimulus (such as food). (Fields, 2006).
Developing New Behaviors Driscoll makes a distinction between behaviors already that we perform in our natural environment. Walking talking in our repertoire, “One might say that the learner already knew the behavior; what was learned seemed to be the frequency with which the behavior was to be performed.” (2005, p. 44). I remember from the instructor one of my childbirth classes saying that a child left “in the woods” will learn to walk instinctively, but they will not learn language, as we know it unless they hear it. While a child’s initial acquisition of language may be imitation, we build on this with teaching them to read, write and even sing. Piaget said, “When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself.” That may be true of adolescents, however my experience especially with toddlers is that they love being taught. The simple ideas or concepts of colors, shapes, and numbers, for example provide a foundation for a child to explore the concrete world. They may eventually discover this information on their own, but the earlier you give them these basics, the faster they are able to make other discoveries. According to Driscoll, “Behaviorists have defined three principles for teaching new, and in many cases, complex behaviors: shaping, chaining and fading.” (2005, p. 44). As she explains, “Shaping refers to the reinforcement of successive approximations to a goal behavior,” (2005, p. 44). In the case of shaping, the desired behavior reinforced each only approximates the desired behavior. And successively closer approximations are required for the reinforcement to be presented.” (2005, p. 45). Driscoll explains the difference between chaining and shaping in this way,
Whereas shaping is used to teach new behaviors that are relatively simple and continuous in nature, chaining serves to establish complex behavior made o up of discrete, simpler behaviors already known to the learner. Shaping is a way of adding new behaviors to a person’s repertoire and is used when the target behavior does not yet exist. (2005, p. 47). (Shaping and Chaining, June 2002).
A new dance, memorizing longs passages, or soldiers reassembling their weapons are examples of forward chaining. (Driscoll, 2005, p.47). Autism spectrum disorders “are developmental disorders characterized by important impairments in social and communication behavior. Although ASD are lifelong developmental disorders, education can lead to improvement in skills.” Teaching autistic children is especially challenging. A mother of an autistic boy in my neighborhood often talks about her frustration with being unable to know what is going on inside her son’s head. While she never used the term “black box,” I trust she would understand the metaphor. This is why, I believe, behaviorism can serve a specific purpose in that there is no need to ascertain this seemingly unknowable information. The techniques of chaining and shaping relieve her of the burden of having to determine her son’s intrinsic motivation, which would just add to her anxiety.

SEE IF I USED THIS QUOTE ALREADY An autism support website with information posted by parents of autistic children, BBC Autism gives simple step by step by step instructions for parents who may want to utilize shaping and chaining although they warn that his process while simple is not always to implement. (2002). It lists three rules for shaping: “Define the target behavior, and reinforce successive approximations of the target behavior, and monitor results.” (2002). An example of shaping is a game Hot & Cold where you reinforce any movement that takes the player closer to the prize. (2002). The rules for chaining are listed as, “Define the target behavior, reinforce successive elements of the chain, and monitor results. An example given is teaching A to Z,
Breaking the chain into small manageable steps is called performing a task analysis and a simple way of describing it is teaching A to Z and every single letter in between. Children with autism/pdd have shown that they can learn very effectively using this method.
Driscoll points out that that, “Most learning in formal instructional situation is accompanies by cues.” (2005, p. 48). Common examples of cues include bells, words like SALAMI , which means stop and listen to me, or hand signals like putting a finger to the lips to signal quiet. According to Driscoll, “The concept of fading as it has been applied to human performance is has come to refer to the fading out of discriminative stimuli used to initially establish a desire behavior.” (2005, p. 48). The desired behavior continues to be reinforced as the cues are gradually withdrawn, and an example in instruction is Skinner and Krakower’s (1968) Handwriting with Write and See program. (2005, p. 48). She explains,
In this program, children trace letters in an instructional workbook. Gradually, portions of the letters, which serve as the discriminative stimuli for forming the right shapes, are faded, thus requiring the children to compose increasingly more of each letter. Reinforcement is accomplished through a chemical reaction between the pens used by the children and the paper. They form a black line when their letters are correct, but the paper turns orange when the pen moves from the prescribed pattern. (2005, p. 48). Driscoll gives several other examples of applying theories of behaviorism to facilitate the learning of new behaviors using shaping for teaching rats, children and adults. In 1938, he used the Skinner Box to teach rats to press a lever. (2005, p. 38). The experiment consisted of using operant conditioning, the changing of behavior by the use of reinforcement, which is give after desired response. (Plaskon, 2013, slide 16). The food deprived rats learned to press levers in order to activate a food magazine, which dispensed food pellets. (Driscoll, 2005, p. 38). Pressing a bar is not something a rat does in his natural environment; therefore, one can consider it a learned behavior.
Another example Driscoll gives is a 1967 experiment conducted by Harris, Wolf, and Baer in which they attempted to teach a boy how to climb on a jungle gym to which he paid little attention previously. (2005, p. 46). Using teacher attention as the contingent reinforce, they paid attention to the boy first when he went near the jungle gym, then when he climber on it, and eventually he climbed on it extensively. (2005, p. 46). Driscoll also gave an example of adult teaching himself a new behavior. A waiter was able to serve tea by holding the pot high above his head and pour it into a cup without spilling a drop. (2005, p. 46). He practiced by systematically holding the pot higher as he successfully poured it at each new level. (2005, p. 46).
The Legacy of Behavior
In Stephen F. Ledoux’s article Behaviorism at 100, (Jan/Feb, 2012). he states that, “In its second 50 years, the value and legacy of behaviorism broadened substantially.” Skinner’s radical behaviorism has emerged as an extensive multifaceted discipline. (Ledoux, 2012). It will continue to expand because of the effectiveness of approaching human behavior naturalistically, and current discoveries of the science help move human nature and human behavior beyond superstition. (Ledoux, 2012). There are ongoing challenges with influencing change in behavior, but research continues in fields such as of education, psychology, and economics. (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1991). Other contributions came from Pavlov and Thorndike’s conditioned-reflex experiments, and were central to the development of behaviorism. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2013). John B. Watson’s 1920, Little Albert Experiment helped establish evidence of his theories of classical conditioning. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2013). Since his 1913 speech at Columbia University in which he insisted that “Psychology as the behaviorists views it a purely objective branch of natural science” it has and will continue to flourish. (Kimble and Thompson, 1994). http://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Autistic-Children .
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia® Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Behaviorist+psychology

Note: Editor's Note. This article is a partial reprint of an original work published in 1913 in the Psychological Review, 20, 158–177. Comments by Gregory A. Kimble and Richard F. Thompson follow this article. uthors: Watson, John B., Johns Hopkins U, MD, US
Source:
Psychological Review, Vol 101(2), Apr, 1994. Special issue: The Centennial Issue of the Psychological Review. pp. 248-253

The conditioned-reflex experiments of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov and the American psychologist Edward Thorndike were central to the development of behaviorism. The American behaviorist B. F. Skinner contended that all but a few emotions were conditioned by habit, and could be learned or unlearned. The therapeutic system of behavior modification has emerged from behaviorist theory

Authors:
Ledoux, Stephen F.
Source:
American Scientist. Jan/Feb2012, Vol. 100 Issue 1, p60-65. 6p.
(http://www.bfskinner.org),

Attitude change does not always equate to behavior change http://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/html/0335217036.html
p.3

Abstract:
Influencing behavior change is an ongoing challenge in psychology, economics, and consumer behavior research

Source: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Vol.60 (4) US : American Psychological Association pp. 493-498.
Accession Number: 1993-02727-001 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1037/0022-006X.60.4.493
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http://ehis.ebscohost.com.proxy.cecybrary.com/eds/detail?sid nurture nurture Investigators in behavioral medicine are often faced with decisions about how to best develop
Nurture versus this marriage of disciplines throughout their training and professional careers. Some investigators trained in behavioral science choose to become more expert in biomedical science; other investigators choose to specialize in behavioral sciences but to ally themselves with biomedical specialists to study problems in behavioral medicine. In either case, behavioral medicine involves applying research methods and principles from the primary behavioral or biomedical disciplines to problems in behavioral medicine. Many behavior change strategies in behavioral medicine attempt to change a specific target behavior by the use of skill enhancement or motivational techniques, and these techniques often pay little attention to the environmental structure that supports the complex of targeted and alternative behaviors that require change. This analysis is relevant whether the behavior to be changed is a deficit behavior, such as the person does not exercise, and treatment is designed to increase exercise, or the behavior is an excess behavior, such as smoking, and the treatment is designed to stop smoking. If the behavior is a deficit, such as the person does not exercise, the person may prefer the more appealing sedentary alternatives. These sedentary behaviors have been acquired and are currently being maintained, often with an extensive repertoire of sedentary behaviors and a support structure designed to make being sedentary as enjoyable as possible. The goal of treatment may not only be to provide a program for enhancing activity but also to decrease the reinforcing nature of being sedentary.

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Behaviorism. Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, Sep2013
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Behaviorism.
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Behaviorism
Contents 1. Bibliography
Behaviorism, school of psychology which seeks to explain animal and human behavior entirely in terms of observable and measurable responses to environmental stimuli. Behaviorism was introduced (1913) by the American psychologist John B. Watson, who insisted that behavior is a physiological reaction to environmental stimuli. He rejected the exploration of mental processes as unscientific. The conditioned-reflex experiments of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov and the American psychologist Edward Thorndike were central to the development of behaviorism. The American behaviorist B. F. Skinner contended that all but a few emotions were conditioned by habit, and could be learned or unlearned. The therapeutic system of behavior modification has emerged from behaviorist theory. Therapy intends to shape behavior through a variety of processes known as conditioning. Popular techniques include systematic desensitization, generally used on clients suffering from anxiety or fear of an object or situation, and aversive conditioning, employed in cases where a client wishes to be broken of an unhealthy habit (such as smoking or drug abuse). Other behavior therapies include systems of rewards or punishments, and modeling, in which the client views situations in which healthy behaviors are shown to lead to rewards.
Bibliography
See B. F. Skinner, Science and Human Behavior (1965); J. B. Watson, Behaviorism (1930, repr. 1970); J. O'Donell, Origins of Behaviorism (1986); K. W. Buckley, Mechanical Man: John B. Watson and the Beginning of Behaviorism (1989).

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Behaviorism at 100.
Authors:
Ledoux, Stephen F.
Source:
American Scientist. Jan/Feb2012, Vol. 100 Issue 1, p60-65. 6p.
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Article
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Abstract:
The article presents a historical overview of the study of behavior, with particular focus on the evolution of behaviorism into a distinct discipline of the natural sciences since the publishing of behaviorist B. F. Skinner's article "Behaviorism at 50" in 1963. Behavioral scientists have come to consider consciousness as a mediation of behavior by neural physiological processes caused by internal and external stimuli. The three main experimental research methods in behavioral science are discussed, including reinforcement scheduling, recombination of repertoires of complex behaviors, and stimulus equivalence relations.
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Behaviorism at 100
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Over its second 50 years, the study of behavior evolved to become a discipline, behaviorology, independent of psychology
Behaviorism as a philosophy of science began with an article by John B. Watson in 1913, and its several varieties inform different behavior-related disciplines. During the past 100 years, disciplinary developments have led to a clarified version of behaviorism informing a basic, separate natural science of behavior. This recently emerged independent discipline not only complements other natural sciences, but also shares in solving local and global problems by showing how to discover and effectively control the variables that unlock solutions to the common behavior-related components of these problems.
In 1963, B. F. Skinner published "Behaviorism at 50," reviewing the varieties of behaviorism and the directions of natural behavior science. (The 1957 article reproduced nearby covers many of those topics.) By the 1960s common wisdom held that the experimentally discovered laws of behavior were largely irrelevant to normal human beings; instead, they were thought applicable mostly to treating psychotic individuals and to training animals. Skinner challenged that notion on scientific as well as philosophical grounds, and data accumulating over the next 50 years have validated his position that the natural laws governing behavior are relevant to all behavior of human beings and other animals. The 1960s were also a time when natural scientists of behavior were continuing their attempts to change psychology, the discipline in which many worked, into a natural science. Over the next 50 years, as recognition increased that resistance to those efforts was adamant, natural scientists of behavior gradually took their discipline outside psychology, founding a separate and independent natural science that some recognized formally in 1987 using the name behaviorology. That name is synonymous with "the natural science of behavior" and is conveniently shorter.
With behaviorism turning 100 in 2013, a review of those developments, and their implications for other natural sciences and today's world, seems appropriate. The natural science of behavior can elevate the status of the natural sciences, lead to solving more human problems, reduce susceptibility to superstition and mysticism (both theological and secular), and improve human intellectuality, rationality and emotionality.
Naturalism, the general philosophy of science, can enable those outcomes. Natural scientists maintain a mutual respect for the natural functional history of events. This enables their analyses to be more complete and to track well across disciplinary lines. In contrast, ignoring that natural functional history often leads to unnecessary compromises between some natural sciences and nonscientific disciplines that make claims of mystical origination of events. For example, by respecting the natural history of events, physiology can provide additional details about how an energy transfer evokes a behavior (such as how light striking the retina from a close moving object evokes ducking the object). At the same time, chemistry can provide more details about that physiology, and physics can provide still further details about that chemistry. But if natural scientists instead allow-claims that ducking is, or results from, the spontaneous, willful act of some putative inner agent, then an untraceable, untestable mystical account replaces the links in that natural history. When such compromises give undeserved status to mystical accounts, natural science loses ground, reducing its benefits. Maintaining respect for the natural functional history of events thus enables a more complete and consistent account of any phenomenon, including behavior.
Becoming more aware of the progress that scientists have made on behavioral fronts can reduce the risk that other natural scientists will resort to mystical agential accounts when they exceed the limits of their own disciplinary training. The aim here is to provide some highlights of that progress.
From 1963 Forward
During the second 50 years of behaviorism, developments continued in both the philosophical and experimental areas, but they also expanded into the applied sciences and organizational realms. In expanding naturalistic explanations toward a more complete scientific account of behavior, the question of consciousness attracts the most attention. Basically, this science accounts for behaviors of consciousness in terms of neural behaviors such as awareness, thinking, observation and comprehension. While muscle behavior is more familiar, as it intertwines both neural processes and enervated muscle contractions, the behaviors of consciousness manifest as pure neural processes. Behavior is a natural phenomenon that happens, and changes, because variables affect the particular body structures that mediate it. No mysterious inner self-agent does the behaving or instructs the body to behave. Instead, respondent and operant conditioning processes occur nearly continuously. Both involve energy transfers between the environment (internal and external) and the body in ways that alter neural structures and thereby produce a different body that mediates behavior differently on future occasions.
Those points emphasize one of the major developments bearing on the question of consciousness in the years since 1963, namely the greater appreciation of the valuable overlap between the separate yet complementary natural sciences of physiology and behaviorology. For example, to deal scientifically with emotion requires the different analytical levels of these two disciplines. Emotion refers to a release of chemicals into the bloodstream (an area of physiology) that external or internal stimuli elicit (an area of behaviorology). That changed body chemistry produces the reactions called feelings. Perhaps more importantly, that changed body chemistry produces effects on other responses. When a bear startles you, you run faster than you would under more ordinary circumstances. Or, excising the fictitious inner agent that the bear or the word "you" can mistakenly imply, the sudden appearance of a big brown bear from behind a boulder only a meter away evokes faster running--due to the elicited body-chemistry change--than more ordinary circumstances evoke.
Still, behaviorology is not a science of how a body mediates a behavior, for example, of how striated muscle contractions are a function of neural processes, which is part of physiology. Rather, behaviorology is a science of why a body mediates a behavior, that is, of the functional relations between independent variables such as a boulder blocking a forest path, and the dependent variables of body-mediated behavior, such as the muscle contractions that the obstacle evokes which take the body around the boulder.
While behaviorology accounts for specific functional relations between real independent variables on both sides of the skin and real dependent variables of behavior changes on both sides of the skin, brain physiology accounts for the structural changes that occur as those behaviorological-level independent and dependent variables interact. That is, brains mediate behavior that occurs as a function of other real variables; brains do not originate behavior. Thus, the more brain physiologists work to account for the mediation of behavior, particularly neural behavior, the greater success they experience.
With the enhanced accounting for complex human behavior that Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior provides, the natural science of behavior has also addressed some ancient fundamental questions, leading to an exciting outcome. Since what scientists and philosophers and other knowers "do" is behavior, behaviorology is providing scientific analyses of science, philosophy and epistemology. By the 1990s such analyses also covered attitudes, values, rights, ethics, morals and beliefs, with important implications for a range of engineering concerns including robotics. These kinds of scientific extensions of behaviorology led Lawrence Fraley, in Chapter 29 of his General Behaviorology, to conclusions about reality that parallel those that Stephen Hawking reached in his Grand Design, through the logic of naturalism in physics, that our neurally behaving reality is the sole source of knowledge about reality, because we can get no closer to reality than the responses evoked by the firing of sensory neurons.
A related question arises, both on its own merits and due to its relevance to accounting for consciousness: How can we apparently respond to events that seem to be in the past or future? The basic answer is that we cannot; responses, like stimuli, take place only in the present, an important implication being that all behavior is new behavior. Every behavior occurs under the functional control of current evocative stimuli regardless of the complexity, multiplicity or interactivity of those stimuli or responses. Even memories are not stored responses. They are new responses that current stimuli evoke and that current neural structures mediate, neural structures that have their current structure because conditioning processes changed them both at and since the time of the original instance.
With our now more fully informed perspective, we return to address consciousness more completely. Using the vision modality for convenience, Skinner had described consciousness as "seeing that we are seeing" (known as "conscious seeing"). But he excised any implied inner agent who "does" the seeing by pointing out two general kinds of contingencies. Our physical environment supplies the kinds of contingencies that condition seeing in the first place (called "unconscious seeing"), while our verbal community supplies the kinds that condition both our conscious seeing and our reporting of what is seen. The thing seen evokes our initial unconscious seeing responses, which in turn evoke the seeing/reporting conscious responses. Actually, the thing seen need not be present because other real variables can evoke the unconscious seeing response, which can then evoke conscious seeing/reporting responses. Equally pertinent, when current independent variables are insufficient to compel the conscious part to happen, it does not.
The verbal community conditions such seeing and reporting because doing so accrues benefits. In common terms, more effective social organization and discourse arise when the verbal responses (reports) of what we did, are doing and are about to do provide stimuli that evoke the responses of verbal community members. As members of that same verbal community, we also benefit when our own seeing and reporting evoke our own subsequent responding, for such reporting also evokes our own hearing responses which then naturally supplement the controls on subsequent responses. Often these events happen covertly as one type of conscious neural behavior called thinking, a common and vital addition to the controls on subsequent behavior (since single stimuli seldom control responses). As with all neural behavior, this thinking behavior can be difficult to separate from the neural physiology that mediates it. Still, as with all behavior, independent variables must evoke the neural behavior, including thinking.
Although we sometimes benefit from the economy of common language, it usually curtails scientific sensitivity to the natural status of human behavior. Having developed under primitive conditions that seemed to support personal agency, the common language per se unsurprisingly contains explicit and implicit references to inner agents. Thus, avoiding it in scientific discourse is best, even though it seems comfortably familiar to most audiences. However, the technical language of natural behavior science, which works to exclude agential implications, can still sound overly complicated to new audiences even as these audiences experience an improved scientific sensitivity to the natural status of behavioral phenomena, including consciousness.
Some examples relating to the central concern about consciousness may help. While these use the seeing sense modality, other examples could use other sense modalities. As an example of unconscious seeing, a hiker engaged in a focused conversation with a companion will step over an unconsciously seen football-size rock on the trail but later cannot describe that rock, as it was not consciously seen. Conscious seeing examples are necessarily more complicated, as they usually begin with unconscious seeing. For instance, under some current, relatively simple contingencies involving functional chains of external and internal (neural) stimuli and responses, a favorite kind of car is seen; it is a "favorite" kind of car due to the past variables with which it was paired. Later, unconsciously and consciously seeing the favorite car happens again under other contingencies, often with that car absent, as when, unable to get to work, seeing our old, broken down, rusty wreck in the front yard evokes seeing the favorite car replacing the wreck. Still other variables can evoke conscious seeing. When we see an acquaintance at the grocery who sells cars, that person evokes not only consciously seeing both our wreck and our favorite kind of car (neither of which is present) but also evokes the responses of describing the favorite car, asking where to buy one, how much it will cost and so on.
These responses, unconscious seeing then conscious seeing and thinking, and sometimes reporting, are typical examples of the natural phenomena of responses chaining into response sequences usually including neural responses, all in the present, all new and not requiring the thing seen to be the current source of evocative stimulation. A physically present object transferring energy to neural receptors can be an evocative stimulus, or a neural response can function as an evocative stimulus either when a genetically produced neural structure mediates it or when a neural structure that various continuously operating conditioning processes have changed mediates it. If the necessary conditioning has occurred, then once some stimulation evokes a response, that response--as a real event--can evoke a further response, which can evoke yet another response, and so on, chaining according to the current set of operating functional relations. As natural scientists, we respect the functional natural history of even extremely complex and multiply controlled response chains, such as the text composition responses of this author at this moment of writing. While it is economically wasteful to bother with the detailed analysis to identify and describe the range of variables compelling the present wording, Norman Peterson, Fraley and Skinner have provided, in their textbooks, the foundations for making such an analysis, and it will take place under appropriate contingencies.
All these considerations involve extensions of the philosophy of science that Skinner called "Radical Behaviorism." It is radical in the sense of comprehensive or fundamental, and it informs both the naturalistic experimental science that studies human nature and human behavior, and the derivative engineering technologies of that science for effectively addressing independent variables in ways that bring about improvements in behavior at home and work, in education and diplomacy, in interpersonal relationships, and indeed in all applied behavior fields from advertising to zoo keeping. This philosophy, and the science and technology that it supports, first arose among a thoroughly naturalistic group of researchers and academics, working in early-20th century psychology, that Skinner and his colleagues and their students best represent. However, this natural philosophy, science and technology ultimately proved to be fully incommensurable with the more commonly available, agential perspectives of certain fields that popular culture supports, including psychology. As a result, a separation of disciplines was required.
Organizational Developments
That essential incommensurability, and the growing pressure of expanding experimental and applied research, provided the principal driving forces behind reorganizing the natural science of behavior as a separate and independent discipline. The general result of this development is a foundation natural science related to all other natural sciences, not at the level of body-directing self-agents, but at the level of a body's physics-based interactions with the external and internal environments. Working in this natural-science tradition, Skinner's treatment of behaviorism in his 1963 article was well rounded but necessarily minimal. A decade later his book About Behaviorism provided details and helped pave the way for the sometimes-controversial steps in this reorganization, steps that Fraley and I thoroughly cover in our long paper entitled "Origins, Status, and Mission of Behaviorology."
After some small independence-oriented steps (for example, Skinner and his colleagues founding the explicitly natural-science Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis), by 1974 natural scientists of behavior had established what has become their largest professional organization, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Margaret Peterson reported the importance of this event by quoting an early president, Nate Azrin: "What we are witnessing … may be … the birth of a new discipline … separate from psychology." The 60 worldwide chapters of ABAI report around 13,000 members, and the annual ABAI convention bookstore features more than 1,000 behavior-science titles.
From the beginning, ABAI members emphasized political action on professional, social and cultural fronts. As important as these activities were, they distracted the organization from wholeheartedly pursuing its independence. As a result the credibility problems that inhere in gradually separating from another discipline, while still being seen as part of it, remained.
Exacerbating the controversy, behavior analysts took those and other independence-oriented steps while still a part of psychology, causing the psychology discipline to claim behavior analysis as part of itself. This leaves others, including natural scientists in general, continuously unsure and justifiably suspicious about the status of behavior analysis. While the current majority of natural scientists of behavior may still prefer the behavior-analysis label, they have taken few steps over the decades to clarify its status, and some still support its being under psychology's wing. Consequently, using that label as a disciplinary name for a completely independent natural science of behavior remains problematic. As a result, formal separation required adopting a new disciplinary name, one free of connections with nonnatural disciplines.
In the years 1984-1987, an extensive debate filled the published behavioral literature regarding, pro and con, the question of separating the natural science and philosophy of behavior from psychology. In 1987, this culminated in a group of behavior analysts meeting to reassess the situation and take action. They came to several conclusions. First, if data from a half-century of continuously attempting to change psychology into a natural science from within, by invoking standard, evidence-based methods, had failed to produce even slight movement in that direction, then changing psychology was not going to happen within a meaningful time span. Second, their natural science of behavior was not, and never actually had been, any kind of psychology as it had never accepted the basic psychological core of mystical agential origination of behavior. And third, instead, their already well-established natural science should continue as a fully separate and independent discipline called behaviorology, a term first proposed in the late 1970s, and the only one, from among all proposed names, to have survived and grown in use.
Based on those conclusions, these behaviorologists took steps that led to their current professional organizations, The International Behaviorology Institute (TIBI) and the International Society for Behaviorology (ISB), and to the journal Behaviorology Today. Most behaviorologists also continued supporting the beneficial behavior-engineering efforts that ABAI disseminates.
Scientific Developments
Highlighting three of the many areas of experimental research can indicate the range of important findings discovered in the past 50 years. These three areas are schedules of reinforcement, recombination of repertoires and equivalence relations.
As Skinner relates in his 1957 article, reinforcers are postcedent stimuli whose occurrence produces increases in the frequency of the behaviors that they follow, and schedules of reinforcement are the patterns of intermittently occurring reinforcers. These schedules are defined in terms of either the number of responses since the last reinforcer (called ratio schedules) or the amount of time since the last reinforcer (called interval schedules). The values of either type can be fixed or variable, thereby defining the four fundamental intermittent schedules of reinforcement: fixed ratio (FR), variable ratio (VR), fixed interval (FI), and variable interval (VI). Researchers often combine or otherwise rearrange the elements of these basic schedules to study a range of more complex schedules.
Outside the laboratory VR schedules are common. They produce relatively rapid and steady response patterns. Purveyors of games of chance had intuitively arranged VR schedules that control the behavior of their players centuries before science discovered and analyzed this schedule. VR schedule effects (not the "gambling habits" of inner agents) are responsible for much citizen wealth reduction.
Schedule research has repeatedly led to several general conclusions, including these three: Many features of behavior emerge as the effects of particular reinforcement schedules. Schedules with only subtle differences often produce distinctly different response patterns. And the direct effects of schedules of reinforcement reduce a wide range of putative inner-agent emotional and motivational causes of behavior to misleading redundancies.
Highlighted next is the experimental research concerning recombination of repertoires, with important implications particularly for scientific, engineering and educational problem-solving behavior. In the 1980s Robert Epstein and Skinner coordinated some studies at Harvard called the Columban Simulation Project in which pigeon behaviors that were functionally related to explicit variables simulated complex human behaviors. Some of these complex behaviors concerned novel behavior, symbolic communication, and the use of memoranda and tools. The result of this research was a more objective explication of complex human behaviors. The same kinds of common contingencies known to be producing the pigeon-simulated behaviors were at work with the human behaviors.
The pigeon simulations began with analysis to establish the minimum repertoire components likely needed to produce a complex behavior when a challenge situation confronts the organism. Then, for each pigeon subject, after conditioning each required repertoire component (in isolation from other components, to avoid confounded results), the experimenters placed each pigeon in the challenge situation. The researchers found that, for different problematic tasks, once all the necessary component repertoire parts had been conditioned, then (and only then) the challenge situations evoked successful responses appropriately combining the trained repertoire components.
For example, many proud parents have watched as their child, too short to get a cookie from a jar atop a table and having never faced this situation before, looks around and, spotting a chair, moves it over to the table, climbs on it and retrieves a cookie from the jar, putatively due to something called insight. In experimenting to discover the variables involved in this situation, the researchers came upon three pigeon response classes using boxes and toy bananas. They conditioned the birds with no banana present to push a box around the chamber toward a target spot and, separately, to climb on a stationary box and, still separately, with no box or target spot present, to peck a toy banana within normal reach. These response classes approximated the components of the child's cookie retrieval behavior. Finally, they placed each bird in a chamber with a box to one side and a toy banana suspended from the ceiling, a challenge situation that had never confronted the birds before. With some apparent confusion and sighting, like the child's behavior, the birds pushed the box under the banana, climbed on the box and pecked the banana. Does this mean these birds showed "insight?" Was the child's behavior due to insight, or was the child's behavior also an example of previously conditioned repertoires combining under a novel circumstance? We do not usually observe children closely enough to track the conditioning of various repertoire components, but parsimony still requires accepting that the challenge-meeting responses are not a function of supposed higher mental processes, for pigeons or humans. Rather, they are a function both of the organism's history having included the conditioning of relevant repertoire parts and of the current evocative control in the new pattern of related multiple stimuli in the challenge situation.
That line of research benefits the analysis of problem solving as well as enhances the justifications for multidisciplinary education in science and engineering training curricula. As the range of an individual's conditioned repertoire of behavior expands, so does the likelihood that needed parts are available to combine successfully in new circumstances for which no explicit response has previously been directly conditioned.
Apparently related to recombination of repertoires in ways that are still being explored, stimulus equivalence is the remaining experimental research area highlighted here. After explicitly conditioning some functional relations between environmental antecedent or postcedent stimuli and responses, the number of related behavior-controlling functional relations that we can successfully detect is greater than the number originally involved in the explicit conditioning. Researchers in this area have come to call these explicitly and implicitly conditioned relations equivalence relations.
Equivalence relations can transpire in fairly simple circumstances. For example, to train a cloakroom employee, we might first reinforce a trainee such that when shown a regular customer, Ms. Minkowner, and then shown a group of coats, including her pink mink coat, the Ms. Minkowner stimulus reliably evokes the trainee's response of picking up her pink mink coat. Then we reinforce the trainee such that when shown the pink mink coat and several different coat-hanging cubicles, the pink mink coat reliably evokes the trainee's depositing that coat in a particular cubicle, say, number seven. With no further training, we find that Ms. Minkowner's appearance at the counter reliably evokes the trainee's movement to cubicle number seven from which the trainee retrieves the pink mink coat.
Beyond such simplistic examples, researchers in this area have demonstrated the phenomena in far more complex circumstances. Using, for example, 6 sets of 3 stimuli each, explicit conditioning of a particular 15 environment-behavior functional relations turns out implicitly to condition an additional 75 behavior-evoking functional relations. In this instance, conditioning 15 particular relations can produce a total of 90 testable relations!
The implications of equivalence phenomena for a science-based revolution in, say, education can be substantial. More careful arrangements of what we would scientifically call educational conditioning programs can economize by explicitly conditioning only certain evocative functional relations, relevant to the subject matter, in ways that virtually guarantee the implicit conditioning of many other possible and relevant relations evocable by the same broad set of stimuli.
Although physiological research has yet to elucidate how the cellular and molecular mechanisms of respondent and operant conditioning work and contribute to equivalence relations, most researchers credit natural selection with the production of bodies that these processes can change in varying degrees. For example, if their genes happened to include variations that produced neural structures enabling the mediation of even a small extension of equivalence relations, then proto-species members could benefit from the survival and reproductive advantages conferred by the sort of "intelligence" that these emergent "abilities" imply Over millions of years, the accumulation of such selected variations would result in genetically produced nervous-system structures of increasingly sophisticated potential. As a result, humans today inherit neural structures that generally mediate a relatively extensive range of equivalence relation phenomena.
Beyond experimental research, the past 50 years have seen an explosion of studies applying natural philosophy and science to practical problems. Touching on two applied-research areas, Project Follow Through in education and the refining of best practices for work with autistic children, barely suggests the extensive range of such concerns.
Project Follow Through was the most extensive and expensive federally funded educational experiment in U.S. history. It looked at how the outcomes of children taught with a range of instructional models, sponsored on voluntary district-wide bases, compared with the outcomes from children whose school districts across the country had not adopted any particular model.
The results led to a major observation: Although some models produced poorer outcomes than those of the control group, others produced consistently better outcomes, particularly the Direct Instruction and Behavior Analysis models. These successful models were explicitly based on the application of the principles and concepts of the natural science of behavior. This research had predictably revealed some science-based instructional approaches that work in education.
However, this revelation of best practices for regular education is widely ignored. Although the results of Project Follow Through focused mainly on student outcomes from the first several years of the project, the funding of various of its models continued for many years. Unfortunately, this funding was not limited to the models that produced improved student outcomes. C. L. Watkins concludes that suggestions to solve the problems of education include attempts to "change just about every structural and functional aspect of education except how children are taught." Sadly, this indicates not only some blind respect for ineffective methods but also some persistence of the discredited notion that behaviorological laws are largely irrelevant to normal humans.
In the other applied-research example, best practices for work with autistic children have achieved greater recognition than best practices for regular education. Most of the research initially applying core behaviorological principles and concepts to a wide range of practical concerns, including interventions for autistic children, occurred before behaviorology emerged as an independent discipline. Consequently, many people refer to behaviorological practices with the term applied behavior analysis (ABA). The success of the ABA autism-related practices has made them the preferred intervention, especially for children diagnosed at a young age. For example, in 1999 the New York State Department of Health completed a multiyear project to evaluate the research literature on the numerous types of available autism treatments so as to make intervention recommendations based on scientific evidence of safety and efficacy. In its final report, the only intervention for autism that the department could fully recommend was ABA.
Interdisciplinary Developments
With its informing philosophy of radical behaviorism, behaviorology contributes to the capabilities of other natural scientists in important ways. So many of the seemingly intractable problems facing humanity today are problems of human behavior as much as they are problems of physics or chemistry or biology. In a 2007 speech, Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., the 17-year leader of the Natural Resources Defense Council, acknowledged the importance of changing peoples' behavior as part of solving world problems and implicitly added a plea for coordination with an effective natural-science of human behavior. "Global warming is the greatest threat we face, but it is not the only threat…. Too many wild places are disappearing, too many species are being snuffed out, and too many babies are being born with bodies and brains damaged by manmade chemicals and pollution…. To win [these battles] … we must change how people think--and how they act." The solutions to such problems require natural scientists of all relevant subject matters to work together. In part, behaviorologists moved decisively for formal independence when they did, so that their science could contribute to the expertise and energy needed to solve such problems within the necessary time frame; under these circumstances, they concluded that not going independent--instead spending much energy over many more likely fruitless years trying to change psychology--would be essentially irresponsible.
The behaviorology discipline contributes in other ways to the capabilities of other natural scientists. After becoming basically familiar with behaviorology, scientists in many disciplines are more able to remain naturalistic in dealing with subject matters at the edge of, and beyond, their particular specializations, rather than slip into the compromising use of agential accounts. They may also add desirable details to accounts within their specializations. For example, when natural scientists (Sam Harris and Michael Shermer, for example) say that science can account for morals and values, mentioning the controlling relations that behaviorology describes for these topics strengthens their point. Also, behaviorology provides the students of natural scientists with a natural-science alternative to the nonnatural disciplines that these students currently study when covering behavior-related subject matter.
For their part, other natural scientists can also help themselves by contributing to behaviorology through support for the wider availability of academic behaviorology programs and departments. Increasing the contact that most people have with behaviorology can reduce the interference in solving problems that stems from susceptibilities to behavior-related superstition and mysticism. This need is difficult to meet because, as a result of the historical circumstances of the origins of their discipline, many academic behaviorological scientists remain scattered in departments of nonnatural disciplines. A meaningful amount of contact for most people will not happen until behaviorology is a requirement in high-school science curricula along with physics, chemistry and biology. To achieve that goal, science teachers must have behaviorology courses available in their college training programs. To make those courses available, faculty to teach them must be trained in this discipline. And for that to happen, programs and departments of behaviorology need to become more widely established at colleges and universities.
One of the obvious places from which to grow behaviorology in the academy is from within departments of biology. Skinner recognized early in his "Behaviorism at 50" article that the natural science of behavior was an offshoot of biology. As he described in The Shaping of a Behaviorist, even though he was earning his doctorate through the psychology department at Harvard University in the 1930s, much of Skinner's work occurred under W. J. Crozier, who headed the physiology section of Harvard's biology department and who had been a student of biologist Jacques Loeb. Both Crozier and Loeb not only emphasized studying the whole organism, including its movement (behavior), but they also emphasized studying the causal mechanism of selection which Skinner subsequently adapted from biology and applied to behavior.
In its second 50 years, the value and legacy of behaviorism broadened substantially. The natural science that Skinner's radical behaviorism supports and informs has emerged as an extensive, multifaceted discipline, although its independence as behaviorology only began about a quarter-century ago. Its academic homes will continue to expand because of the effectiveness of approaching human behavior naturalistically. Other disciplines faced similar circumstances in the past and prevailed. The astronomical discoveries by Galileo 400 years ago helped move our home, the Earth, beyond superstitious, mystical accounts. The biological discoveries of Darwin 150 years ago helped move the human body beyond superstitious, mystical accounts. And, based on the naturalism of Skinner's radical behaviorism, the current discoveries of behaviorological science help move human nature and human behavior beyond superstitious, mystical accounts. On that basis, our continuing efforts both improve effective scientific thinking across all subjects, and increase success in solving personal, local and world problems. (http://www.bfskinner.org),
~~~~~~~~
By Stephen F. Ledoux
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23397921
John Broadus Watson.
Source:
Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition. Sep2013, p1-1. 1p.
Document Type:
Biography
Abstract:
Watson, John Broadus, 1878–1958, American psychologist, b. Greenville, S.C. He taught (1903–8) at the Univ. of Chicago and was professor and director (1908–20) of the psychological laboratory at Johns Hopkins. Watson emphasized the study of observable behavior, rejecting introspection and theories of the unconscious mind. He originated the school of psychology known as behaviorism, in which behavior is described in terms of physiological responses to stimuli. Watson's work influenced B. F. Skinner in his groundbreaking studies of operant conditioning, and had a major impact on the development of behavior therapy. His writings include Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist (1919, repr. 1983), Behaviorism (1925, repr. 1970), and Psychological Care of Infant and Child (1928, repr. 1972). [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER] Copyright of Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition is the property of Columbia University Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract.(Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
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John Broadus Watson
Watson, John Broadus, 1878–1958, American psychologist, b. Greenville, S.C. He taught (1903–8) at the Univ. of Chicago and was professor and director (1908–20) of the psychological laboratory at Johns Hopkins. Watson emphasized the study of observable behavior, rejecting introspection and theories of the unconscious mind. He originated the school of psychology known as behaviorism, in which behavior is described in terms of physiological responses to stimuli. Watson's work influenced B. F. Skinner in his groundbreaking studies of operant conditioning, and had a major impact on the development of behavior therapy. His writings include Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist (1919, repr. 1983), Behaviorism (1925, repr. 1970), and Psychological Care of Infant and Child (1928, repr. 1972).

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John Broadus Watson
PUB. DATE
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Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition;Sep2013, p1
SOURCE TYPE
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DOC. TYPE
Biography
ABSTRACT
Watson, John Broadus, 1878–1958, American psychologist, b. Greenville, S.C. He taught (1903–8) at the Univ. of Chicago and was professor and director (1908–20) of the psychological laboratory at Johns Hopkins. Watson emphasized the study of observable behavior, rejecting introspection and theories of the unconscious mind. He originated the school of psychology known as behaviorism, in which behavior is described in terms of physiological responses to stimuli. Watson's work influenced B. F. Skinner in his groundbreaking studies of operant conditioning, and had a major impact on the development of behavior therapy. His writings include Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist (1919, repr. 1983), Behaviorism (1925, repr. 1970), and Psychological Care of Infant and Child (1928, repr. 1972).
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39039473
Watson, John Broadus, 1878–1958, American psychologist, b. Greenville, S.C. He taught (1903–8) at the Univ. of Chicago and was professor and director (1908–20) of the psychological laboratory at Johns Hopkins. Watson emphasized the study of observable behavior, rejecting introspection and theories of the unconscious mind. He originated the school of psychology known as behaviorism, in which behavior is described in terms of physiological responses to stimuli. Watson's work influenced B. F. Skinner in his groundbreaking studies of operant conditioning, and had a major impact on the development of behavior therapy. His writings include Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist (1919, repr. 1983), Behaviorism (1925, repr. 1970), and Psychological Care of Infant and Child (1928, repr. 1972).
______________________________________________________________

Source: Review of General Psychology. Vol.16 (1) US : Educational Publishing Foundation pp. 1-9.
Accession Number: 2012-04823-001 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1037/a0026439

Skinner's Walden Two: An anticipation of positive psychology?
Authors:
Adams, Nelson, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC, US, adamsn@wssu.edu
Address:
Adams, Nelson, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Work, Winston-Salem State University, 601 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem, NC, US, 27110, adamsn@wssu.edu
Source:
Review of General Psychology, Vol 16(1), Mar, 2012. pp. 1-9
Publisher:
US: Educational Publishing Foundation
ISSN:
1089-2680 (Print)
1939-1552 (Electronic)
Language:
English
Keywords:
B. F. Skinner, Walden Two, behavior analysis, character strengths, positive psychology
Abstract:
B. F. Skinner's, 1948 novel, Walden Two has some remarkable parallels to the growing Positive Psychology movement which emphasizes the promotion of subjective well being, the development of character strengths, and establishing positive institutions. Despite Skinner's reputation for neglecting emotion and subjective well being, one finds the opposite in the Walden Two community. Misunderstandings of Skinner's views have obscured the common themes between his ideas and Positive Psychology including positive use of leisure, value of positive emotions, and seeking happiness through engagement or gratification rather than through pleasure. Moreover, at Walden Two, the community develops Positive Psychology's character strengths such as creativity, persistence, humility, love, fairness, and communal gratitude. Particularly memorable was the shaping of self-regulation. The consequences of comparing Walden Two and Positive Psychology may be to shed some of the myths about contemporary behaviorism and Skinner's ideas, and to remind workers in Positive Psychology of the power of the empirically documented methods for building the automaticity of behavioral skills which may underlie character strengths advocated by Positive Psychology. Finally, this paper suggests the need for finding common ground in current psychology rather than emphasizing divisions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
Subjects:
*Behavior Analysis; *History of Psychology; *Personality Traits; *Positive Psychology; *Skinner (Burrhus Frederic); Books
Classification:
History & Systems (2140)
Population:
Human (10)
Format Covered:
Electronic
Publication Type:
Journal; Peer Reviewed Journal
Document Type:
Journal Article
Publication History:
Accepted Date: Oct 31, 2011; Revised Date: Oct 28, 2011; First Submitted Date: Jul 12, 2011
Release Date:
20120227
Copyright:
American Psychological Association. 2012.
Digital Object Identifier:
10.1037/a0026439
PsycARTICLES Identifier: gpr-16-1-1 Accession Number:
2012-04823-001
Number of Citations in Source:
52
Database:
PsycARTICLES
By: Nelson Adams
Winston-Salem State University
Acknowledgement: The author thanks Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr., Terri H. Frank, Philip N. Hineline, Michele K. Lewis, and David C. Palmer for helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Nelson Adams, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Work, Winston-Salem State University, 601 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27110 Electronic Mail may be sent to: adamsn@wssu.edu.
B. F. Skinner's utopian novel Walden Two, published in 1948 ( Skinner, 1976a) was influential in inspiring many youthful psychologists as well as laypersons in the 1960s and beyond. Some might now assign Walden Two (and perhaps Skinner also) to the status of an interesting “relic” of mid 20th century psychology; however, if contemporary psychologists read Walden Two or other of his works, they would find that Skinner's ideas are currently relevant and they would see deep parallels between the reasons that prompted the writing of Skinner's publically oriented works—which were clearly directed toward the betterment of human beings ( Benjamin & Nielsen-Gammon, 1999; Bjork, 1993), and the stated motivations influencing the emergence of the current Positive Psychology movement launched some dozen years ago ( Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).
We might imagine that were Skinner alive today he would be a critic of the new Positive Psychology and its emphasis on subjective well-being and positive emotions, and with its emphasis on behavior emerging from character. Indeed, one central difference with Positive Psychology was Skinner's emphasis on principles of nonagentic selection (see Palmer & Donohoe, 1992) leading to the repertoires that constitute “character strengths” rather than attributing one's behavior to some “internal essence” of the person. Nevertheless, the goals of Skinner's Walden Two bear notable similarities to those of the Positive Psychology movement—an interest in subjective well being, character strengths, and mutually supportive institutions. Whereas some might argue that Walden Two is not representative of Skinner's other writings, he stood by this view throughout his life ( Rutherford, 2009; Skinner, 1987; Smith, 1996). On the other hand, books such as Beyond Freedom and Dignity, ( Skinner, 1971) clearly represent another side of Skinner's method of expression that is clearly at odds with the language of Positive Psychology, even while the ultimate goals for improving society are consistent.
As Positive Psychology enters its second decade following its formal launch in 2000, perhaps this perspective might benefit from a reexamination of the successes of Skinner's work and legacy among current behavioral approaches, as noted by Catania (2001). This article will attempt to elaborate on the parallels between the goals of Positive Psychology and the characteristics of Skinner's fictional account of a community living by behavioral principles. To be sure, these have been noted elsewhere, but only rarely and briefly ( Catania, 2001; Rich, 2001), although see Altus and Morris (2004) for a similar view. After introducing Positive Psychology and abstracting the present agenda, this article will illustrate some of the congruence between Walden Two (the community) and Positive Psychology while also addressing some of the continuing misunderstandings of Skinner's views, ultimately noting how many of Skinner's basic ideas have been implicitly accepted in Positive Psychology's popular books even while behaviorists are explicitly dismissed. Lastly, this article will suggest ways in which Positive Psychology could benefit from behavioral strategies that build automaticity of skills. The overall goal of this essay is to encourage the acknowledgment and inclusion of worthy ideas regardless of the label under which one may find them. If Positive Psychology is to become a major force within psychology, then it will behoove its adherents to draw from any successful ideas that promote its goals of developing flourishing persons and institutions.
Positive Psychology
Positive Psychology formally began when many psychologists joined Martin Seligman and Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi (2000) in initiating a “science of positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, positive institutions” (p. 5) which seeks to improve the quality of living for the many rather than emphasizing pathology as has been so prevalent in psychology during the latter part of the 20th century and beyond. Positive Psychology studies subjective phenomena such as hope and happiness (emphasis on engagement and meaning regarding the latter), character strengths such as creativity and persistence, and social characteristics such as altruism and tolerance.
Mid-decade, Seligman, Steen, Park, and Peterson (2005) reported considerable progress with regard to books, conferences, an international society, and a major volume cataloging virtues and human strengths ( Peterson & Seligman, 2004), as well as empirical support for interventions that enhance these. A journal for the society arrived in 2006; its length of volumes quickly expanded, and a first world congress in 2009 had impressive attendance. Moreover, Positive Psychology has received major coverage in the popular media. Although Positive Psychology can be said to be thriving, the new perspective is not without criticism of its major tenets (e.g., Held, 2004). The present essay is a critique only in its observations that Positive Psychology has missed an important strategy for realizing its goals by not yet examining the potential of Skinner's ideas and empirical applications for bringing about the changes Positive Psychology seeks. In this context this article is intended to convince a new generation of psychologists, particularly those interested in Positive Psychology, to include Skinner's work in their broader reading rather than assuming that it offers nothing that would be relevant thanks to misinformed caricatures from academic folklore ( Todd & Morris, 1992).
Synopsis of Walden Two
For those who have not read Walden Two, or to remind those who read the book many years ago, what follows is a sketch of Skinner's fictional community. A professor of psychology (Burris) narrates the story; he visits Walden Two along with a philosopher colleague (Castle) and two young WWII veterans (one a former student of Burris), along with their future wives. The visit is prompted by the former student who has read about Walden Two and says “we want to find out what people really want, what they need to be happy…” (p. 4). Frazier, an acquaintance of Burris from graduate school days, is the designer and a cofounder of Walden Two; he hosts the visitors during a 5-day visit.
Walden Two is comprised of some 1,000 citizens living in a rural setting where they work 4-hr days (labor credit) in exchange for food, housing and access to a panoply of leisure opportunities. With no cash transactions and no basis for economic or political status, it is truly egalitarian. Men and women are on equal terms; with a communal nursery, women are free to pursue their vocational goals along with men, which is one of Frazier's “surprises” about how a community such as Walden Two could manage with 4-hr work days. One earned more credit for less desirable work, and all were required to contribute to the accomplishment of the least desirable work. That is, no lower strata of Walden Two's members were assigned the most menial and meaningless work. Education was self driven and lifelong based upon an apprenticeship model. Social life was rich and although a strict code was observed, people felt free in their social and vocational choices. The novel is obviously a platform for Skinner to discuss ideas about freedom, control, the pursuit of happiness, economics, morality and the raising of children with discussions between Burris and Frazier and rather one-sided battles where Frazier bests Castle on all of Skinner's arguments about the worth of applying a behavioral technology in an experimental community.
Relevance of Walden Two Today
Skinner's evident dissatisfaction with the rapid pace of life in the mid 20th century is no less relevant today. He was ahead of his time with regard to “green” values, gender equality, and practical education; saving labor (reducing uninteresting kinds), reducing energy usage, and avoiding overconsumption were central to the Walden Two ethos. Skinner's most important point, however, was his advocacy of explicit experimentation for discovering and evaluating practices to improve the human condition. Whereas particular practices of Walden Two may not turn out to work well, an experimental attitude toward living is the only way we can effectively build knowledge to improve our circumstances. This seems particularly relevant to the stated goals of Positive Psychology; however, to cultivate that common ground some misconceptions need to be addressed.
One such misconception concerns Skinner's use of the term control. Clearly, at the fictional Walden Two and in modern Behavior Analysis, methods which influence the relationship between a social environment and resulting behavior are used in a manner that is planned specifically and through empirical testing. However, it is clear that this “control” is positive in its intentions, and in its consequences. Dinsmoor (1992), in reviewing the reactions of the popular press toward Walden Two and Beyond Freedom And Dignity, suggested that many readers miss Skinner's point about control and autonomy. He suggested that “confusion of (Skinner's) opposition of autonomous action as a scientific concept with opposition to behavior described as autonomous” (p. 1454) led some to think of Skinner as totalitarian when in fact his philosophy was much closer to libertarian. What Skinner opposed was the common use of aversive measures; this opposition was explicit, especially as concerning the ultimate ineffectiveness of aversive control: “If we hit hard enough we clear a little place for ourselves in the wilderness of civilization, but we make the rest of the wilderness still more terrible” ( Skinner, 1976a, p. 245). In Skinner's own life he continually added features into his personal and family environment to reduce aversive control of his behavior and of his family members ( Bjork, 1993).
Skinner argued for the development of self control which ultimately is derived from the social community. That is, when there is an absence of aversive control, there are still subtle controls elsewhere so why not elucidate what they are and make choices to arrange them in ways to promote productive, enjoyable and community-appropriate behaviors? Thus, one might consider Walden Two providing suggestions for the types of institutional changes proposed by Positive Psychology.
General Parallels Between Walden Two and Positive Psychology

Originating Conditions
The writing of Walden Two and the initiation of Positive Psychology both occurred at times when the U.S.A. appeared to be at the cusp of a new era. Skinner was warily optimistic when writing Walden Two in the summer of 1945 after the fall of the Fascist regimes. Similarly, Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) were hopeful, yet concerned, while writing during 1998–1999 before the contested 2000 election and some three years before 9/11, when the U.S. was at peace and with an annual budget surplus:
Entering a new millennium Americans face an historical choice. Left alone on the pinnacle of political and economic leadership the U.S. can continue to increase its material wealth while ignoring the human needs of those of its people and those of the rest of the planet. Such a course is likely to lead to increasing selfishness, alienation between the more and less fortunate and eventually to chaos and despair (p. 5).
Some 65 years ago the early postwar era saw many opportunities, but Skinner also foresaw the problems resulting from unchecked materialism. Decades later during the mid 1970s economic doldrums Skinner (1976b) believed Walden Two to be even more relevant:
Great changes must be made in the American way of life. Not only can we not face the rest of the world while consuming and polluting as we do, we cannot for long face ourselves while acknowledging the violence and chaos in which we live. The choice is clear: either we do nothing and allow a miserable and probably catastrophic future to overtake us, or we use our knowledge about human behavior to create a social environment in which we shall live productive and creative lives [emphasis added] and do so without jeopardizing the chances that those who follow us will be able to do the same (p. xvi).
Thus, at times when it appeared possible for changes in our society, both Skinner's Walden Two and the founding essay of Positive Psychology warned of increasing selfishness and competitiveness. Each argued for creating societies where people flourish.
Wisdom From The Past
A second parallel regarding origins of Positive Psychology and the fictional Walden Two are their arguments that insights for modern living can be found in ancient wisdom. At Walden Two, Frazier and another cofounder studied classical writings on morals and ethics and sought to shape those virtues by means of behavioral principles. In his foreword to the reissue of Walden TwoSkinner (1976b) suggests that “great cultural revolutions have not started with politics. The great men who are said to have made a difference in human affairs—Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, the scholars and scientists…were not politicians” (p. xvi). Peterson and Seligman (2004) compiled an impressive collection of works on virtue and character strengths from classic sources as well as more recent ones. They include very few political names (especially if one thinks of Benjamin Franklin primarily as a scientist-journalist-critic). In a more popular venue, Haidt's (2006) Positive Psychology book, “ The Happiness Hypothesis” has a subtitle of “ Finding Modern Truth In Ancient Wisdom”.
Social Idealism and Anti-Materialism
For some, Positive Psychology appears to embrace utopian goals, and its emphasis on subjective well being in place of materialistic gain has a strong idealistic overtone (although see Ehrenreich, 2009, for a different political view of the movement). For instance, Kasser (2006) critiques materialism's personal costs (more distress), social costs (objectifying others and its classism consequences), and ecological costs (overuse of limited earthly resources); he then offers three principles to overcome materialistic trends. Kasser's position is consistent with the mission of Walden Two where the entire enterprise is a “commercial-free zone” (a component of Kasser's Principle 1), the focus on experience is central (Kasser's Principle 2 of engaging in more mindfulness), and there is coherence between people's intrinsic values and the community's values reflecting time affluence rather than material affluence (Principle 3).
“The Good Life,” Leisure, and the Economy of Well Being
Both Positive Psychology (e.g., Park & Peterson, 2009) and Walden Two assert the goal of finding and living the “good life.” If we are truly moving into an era where there is a growing recognition of subjective well being's importance beyond financial well being, then Skinner's (1976b) recommendation is appropriate where he points out that “the effective use of leisure is almost completely neglected in modern life. We typically engage in behavior that leads to little change or growth. In a different environment these same opportunities could lead to developing skills and capacity to their fullest extent” (pp. xii-xiii). Advocates of Positive Psychology might well agree with this critique, for they promote the better use of leisure time in pursuits that promote “flow” ( Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) and engagement. Skinner depicts the “good life” at Walden Two as consisting of (a) good health, (b) a minimum of unpleasant and uninteresting labor (which is shared equally at Walden Two), (c) an opportunity to develop talents and skills, (d) having a pleasant and intimate social life, and finally (e) time for relaxation and rest. Kasser's (2006) point about time affluence versus material affluence is relevant here as well.
Diener and Seligman (2004) promote the idea of an “ economy of well-being” where verified measures of subjective well being are used rather than broad economic indicators for assessing how well off a society is. Csikszentmihalyi (1990) makes a similar point about objectively judging cultures in terms of psychic entropy and the degree to which the culture supports optimal experience of its citizens. At Walden Two, with no personal capital and an egalitarian system, the residents boast of high subjective well being: Frazier exclaims “Our wealth is our happiness” ( Skinner, 1976a, p. 255). Implicit in this view is the idea that in a society that promotes subjective well being rather than financial wealth, security comes from interdependence instead of financial independence. In contrast, current western society promotes the opposite by producing constant reminders of financial independence. Indeed, priming people with ideas of money leads to asking less for help, preferring to work alone, and distancing oneself from others ( Vohs, Mead, & Goode, 2006).
Implicitly, Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) call for something like a “golden age” when they suggest that in our wealth we have had a real opportunity for progress. Because at Walden Two most energy is devoted to art, science, exercise of skills, and satisfaction of curiosity, Skinner's Frazier asserts that even in a small community one might produce a “golden age” with the “… right conditions. Opportunity. Leisure. Appreciation” ( Skinner, 1976a, p. 84).
Strengthening Positive Emotions
Skinner has been criticized for not dealing with the subjective or emotional side of life and of relegating emotions to being merely epiphenomena ( Seligman, 2002); certainly one can find quotes to support this view. Nevertheless, Skinner also took the position that emotions were important when they were viewed as consequences of our conditions. Thus, he argued that we needed to arrange conditions so that people might enjoy life, show subjective well being, and exhibit positive emotions. He simply argued that our inner subjective life was not the originator of overt behavior, but rather “private behavior” was one leg of the triadic dynamics that also included ourselves as organisms (with our unique learning history and genotype) with the third leg being the social environment which we inhabited. As illustrated earlier, the fictional Walden Two inhabitants were not depicted as emotionless automatons, but rather as a flourishing community of cooperative, creative people who exhibited a healthy profile that included many of the two dozen character strengths associated with Positive Psychology.
At Walden Two, emotions of jealousy and envy are prevented from developing very far and the “meaner” emotions identified with distress are nearly unknown. When one visitor claims that life is not worth living without emotions, Frazier agrees regarding the “productive and strengthening [emphasis added] emotions of joy and love” ( Skinner, 1976a, p. 92). He goes on to suggest that negative emotions of anger, fear and rage are “out of proportion with the needs of modern life.” Thus, Skinner seems to agree that we may have inherited a negative motivational bias, but he also anticipates Fredrickson's (1998) view of the adaptiveness of the positive emotions which we ought to foster. That is, positive reinforcement tends to support exploration and variation or creativity just as Fredrickson proposed for positive emotions. In a cooperative society such as the fictional Walden Two, the contingencies do not support jealousy and envy, whereas in a competitive context these emotions are identified with behavior that allows a person to succeed (at the cost to another). Thus, Skinner suggests that our innate negative emotions need not develop far if the social conditions do not support their maintenance. This may be too optimistic a view, but Skinner's fundamental position was that such issues concern empirical questions to be tested rather than assumptions to be decided by argument.
Promoting Engagement Rather Than Pleasure
Consistent with his values of making work as meaningful as possible at Walden Two, Skinner later wrote about the strengthening versus pleasing effects of reinforcers ( Skinner, 1986). This analysis is clearly parallel to Positive Psychology's recent distinction between pleasures versus gratifications ( Seligman, 2002). Skinner was critical of the pervasive promotion of pleasing reinforcers which feel good while reinforcing passive behavior. He contrasted these with strengthening reinforcers which develop and maintain healthy behavioral skills accompanied by good feelings. He argued that in many of our modern Western contexts there is a lack of contingency between reinforcers and the type of productive behavior which would promote engaged happiness. Behavior (or “will”) is weak because of the availability of pleasing reinforcers such as the pleasures of eating tasty but unhealthy treats, passively spending hours watching exciting movies, or guiltily viewing entertaining yet intellectually vacuous TV shows.
Using Walden Two as a model, Skinner provides suggestions about how we could enhance the above noted Positive Psychology points of focus—strengthening emotions, engagement in life and promoting subjective well being, and in short, living the “good life.” It is worth noting that these (albeit fictional) outcomes are based on empirical testing.
Promotion of Virtue and Character Strengths at Walden Two
The following section reviews the parallels between the virtues and character strengths compiled by early contributors to Positive Psychology ( Peterson & Seligman, 2004) and the activities and structure of the fictional Walden Two that encourage these behaviors. It is notable that although these virtues were described in a fictional setting, they were developed through empirically established principles. For purposes of brevity, included are those most obviously depicted at Walden Two; all page number citations refer to Walden Two ( Skinner, 1976a).
Virtue 1: Wisdom
Creativity
Skinner has written often about creativity, and Peterson and Seligman (2004) list Skinner among eminent psychologists having an interest in creativity. Skinner argues that art and scientific innovation can quickly follow once basic needs are fulfilled. Walden Two provides ample leisure time for artists and scientists to “play” continually with their craft, and for more modestly talented individuals to use their time to develop their skills. Skinner was not proposing a blank slate mentality; obviously some will be more gifted than others through random genetic variability and the vicissitudes of early experience, but even so, all can cultivate talent when the conditions are right. Novel operants are seen as the well springs of creativity, and in an experimental community new arrangements of the contingencies can be identified that enhance these ( Smith, 1996).
Curiosity
The strength of curiosity is seen as a natural condition of a playful young human, and the Walden Two mode of education is designed to promote that natural “drive.” In a discussion of education Frazier asserts “We appeal to the curiosity which is characteristic of the unrestrained child, as well as the alert and inquiring adult. We appeal to the drive to control the environment” (p. 115). Again, contrary to caricature, Skinner is depicting people as interactive and engaged rather than passive automatons.
Love of learning
As previously discussed, productive and enjoyable use of leisure is one of the pillars of the Walden Two community. In one sense education is the heart of Walden Two; “Education should be only life itself” (p. 115); learning about whatever one chooses is a continual option that (at least fictionally) is exploited fully. One of the “rules” of Walden Two is that one is expected to describe one's work to anyone who asks; thus, one has opportunities to learn about all aspects of interest in the workings of one's surroundings.
Open-mindedness
Walden Two promotes, indeed requires, an experimental attitude toward all aspects of living conditions; nothing is held absolute and the code is subject to change by empirical evidence. Walden Two members are also encouraged to be open toward the outside world rather than provincial about their “advantages” of living at Walden Two.
Virtue 2: Courage
Bravery/valor
Whereas there would seem to be little need for valor in a safe and insular community, Skinner comments that bravery normally occurs by the coincidence of particular personality traits and an accident of experience. In several of his works Skinner repeatedly questions the “virtue of accident”—certainly selection in accidental circumstances can contribute to the development of valorous individuals (or contribute to a variety of other psychological strengths), but why wait for accident when one might systematically control adversity in ways to make many people brave? Thus, children are given doses of adversity that can be handled such that they become willing to take risks and try new things.
Persistence
This strength is taught directly at Walden Two. Tolerance for annoyances is part of children's training starting very young. In fact, toys for young children are set up using Skinner's empirical data on schedules of reinforcement to shape persistence (e.g.,) toys which require multiple pulls of a string to activate motion, etc. (see p. 114). Interestingly, Skinner points out the possibility of obsessiveness or “stupid” persistence, and that the psychologists of Walden Two were attentive to this possibility after some initial mistakes.
Vitality
At one point Frazier is asked about whether people would “fall asleep” at Walden Two with so few problems. He suggests that whereas some people might prefer to live more simply and would gladly give up the need to plan and struggle, others (himself obviously included) would be always full of zeal for improving the community. With the self-driven values for education, boredom simply would not exist; elsewhere in the novel the children are described as “energetic curious, and happy” (p. 110). Near the end of the book Frazier argues with Burris about not being “done” despite the seeming success of Walden Two; he asks: “Could you really be happy in a static world, no matter how satisfying it might be in other respects?…We must never be free of that feverish urge to push forward which is the saving grace of mankind” (p. 273).
Virtue 3: Humanity
Love
Many would be surprised at Skinner's sentimentality in his descriptions equating love (in the biblical sense of charity) and positive reinforcement: “What is love except for another name for the use of positive reinforcement?” (p. 282). Frazier describes that friendship and relationships are all important at Walden Two with “abiding affection on a very high plane” (p. 129). Although it is Skinner's work that is at issue it bears mentioning that Bjork's biography (1993) referred to Skinner's sentimentality on numerous occasions in contrast to his cold public image.
Kindness
Throughout the Walden Two society people are kind and friendly; the code discouraged gossiping (especially in the case of a broken marriage), and contexts where domination provides any positive outcomes are rare. Frazier notes: “We discourage attitudes of domination… Our goal is a general tolerance and affection” (p. 148).
Virtue 4: Justice
Citizenship
Walden Two is a paragon of potential for citizenship through its emphasis on interdependence and in the sense of collective goals and work. Communication among the planners, managers and other people is open for constructive criticism so that all in one sense have a voice in the well being of the community even as there is a lack of traditional democratic structure (e.g., voting).
Fairness
Skinner's philosophy regarding promoting practices that enhance the happiness of all rather than the few is a model of utilitarian fairness. Without marked status differences and financial distinctions, and with a policy for revolving “power” positions, the distribution of goods, privileges, and any other “perks” is scrupulously egalitarian. Even on a long term scale, there is fairness with regard to a “green” attitude about not overusing resources.
Leadership
There is an emphasis on shared leadership at Walden Two. Frazier often refers to the dangers of leadership turning into domination (let us keep in mind the broader world context of the 1940s!) and, thus, in Walden Two leadership would necessarily be a matter of teamwork. Frazier warned against depending too much on one skilled person and that it is the system (institution) that is more important than individual prowess.
Virtue 5: Temperance
Humility/modesty
At Walden Two there is general respect for the common “man”; Frazier argues vehemently against elitism. The whole ethos of Walden Two is to support all rather than that of our current culture, which selects winners (few in number) at the expense of the many (losers). Heroes are not seen as role models; as Frazier puts it “Fame is…won at the expense of others… . Our decision to eliminate personal aggrandizement arose quite naturally from the fact that we were thinking of the whole group. We could not see how the group could gain from individual glory” (p. 156).
Self-regulation
This is one of the signature strengths promoted at Walden Two through a very precise training structure in the early education (see chapter 14). Skinner emphasizes that internalized control is much more effective than policing individuals regarding their adherence to the Walden Two code. At ages 3–4 children are given specific instruction in a delay of gratification task very reminiscent of Walter Mischel's subsequent work (e.g., Mischel, Shoda, & Rodriguez, 1989); children wear a lollipop around their neck (with powdered sugar on it for detecting surreptitious licks) for long periods before they are allowed to consume it. For older children, they are left standing before hot bowls of soup watching while one half of their group gets to sit and eat (after a long tiring outing). Peterson and Seligman (2004) actually make a brief reference to this context from Walden Two in their chapter on Temperance.
Frazier describes how children are encouraged in various strategies to maintain self control and that “new horizons” are available due to the lack of frustration and failure after the Walden Two regimen for shaping self regulation; children find “ happiness, freedom, and strength” (emphasis added, p. 102) as they are weaned from negative emotions born of frustration and failure. Skinner also uses this example to assert that despite its private nature, self control always is derived ultimately from the control of society.
Virtue 6: Transcendence
In general this virtue is the least well described at Walden Two. Although one can find instances to align with some of the character strengths within this virtue (e.g., awe), most consideration has been given to one character strength where Skinner takes a unique stance.
Gratitude
Walden Two (Skinner) has a singular view about the value of gratitude. On the one hand Frazier asserts “we overflow with gratitude—but to no one in particular… for all and none” (p. 157), and yet expressions of individual gratitude (thanking people for doing their normal work) are forbidden. Skinner suggests that signs of gratitude (especially awards and recognition) given to one person always take away from the contributions of the others. This rule is part of an antihero attitude at Walden Two. Although gratitude is seen less as an emotion than as a behavioral tendency, the inhabitants of Walden Two appear to feel universally grateful for their happy situation.
Caveats and Distinctions
Those who have been inspired by Walden Two must occasionally remind themselves of the obvious– Walden Two is fiction. Many of Skinner's assertions at that time had no empirical support from studies of human behavior, although the validity of reinforcement principles under controlled conditions was clearly supported and remains as such. Many real-life models inspired by Skinner's Walden Two were unsuccessful and none have grown into a large community the size of Walden Two. On the other hand, Rutherford (2009) describes communities such as Twin Oaks in Virginia and Los Horcones in Mexico (both some 40 years old now) which were formed by Walden Two-inspired founders and which have remained viable and in at least one case maintained behavioristic principles. Regarding the many abandoned features of Walden Two at Twin Oaks, Skinner commented in a letter to the Twin Oaks founders: “the whole point of Walden Two was to experiment with the good life” (cited in Rutherford, 2009, p. 137) rather than use Walden Two as an exact blueprint.
There are obvious distinctions between Skinner's Walden Two and Positive Psychology's emphasis; Walden Two's interest in character strengths centers on how to shape them, rather than suggesting that they are “essentialistic” structural inner causes of behavior. Advocates of Positive Psychology appear to put a lot of emphasis on character strengths as being something other than a product of one's environment ( Peterson & Seligman, 2004, p. 11). Positive Psychology's emphasis on exemplars of virtue and on heroes clearly is distinguishable from Skinner's warning at Walden Two against promulgating heroism.
Benefits From a Reexamination of Walden Two

Recognition of the Power of Positive Reinforcement
A reexamination of Skinner's work, and particularly Walden Two, could provide those in the Positive Psychology movement with effective practices for bringing about positive changes. An examination of some recent work in Behavior Analysis shows parallel interests with those in Positive Psychology. For instance, Hayes' contextual behavioral work (e.g., Hayes, Luoma, Bond, Masuda & Lillis, 2006) links Behavior Analysis practices to Positive Psychology-like functioning (e.g., mindfulness and acceptance). In addition, the Positive Behavior Support application to education in the Behavior Analysis tradition dovetails with the goals of Positive Psychology as described by Carr (2007). Following the inauguration of Positive Psychology several researchers from a Behavior Analysis background drew this parallel and urged those in the Positive Psychology movement to consider the role for positive reinforcement principles in promoting many behaviors of interest to Positive Psychology (e.g., Catania, 2001; Follette, Linnerooth, & Ruckstuhl, 2001; Wiegand & Geller, 2005). Catania (2001), in responding to the inaugural articles on Positive Psychology, was the first to point out the omission of positive reinforcement theory and suggested that Positive Psychology could benefit by drawing upon the successes in the Behavior Analysis field. He made a brief reference to Walden Two and noted that:
We all shape each other's behavior, and the more we know about how positive reinforcement works, the more likely we will use it productively… . A mutual reinforcement society in which reinforcers are delivered reciprocally and openly is likely also to be a happy society ( Catania, 2001, pp. 86–87).
Regrettably, this suggestion was not heeded and in the response to Catania's comment ( Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2001), there seemed to be a misunderstanding regarding the arbitrariness of reinforcement. Certainly, Skinner used arbitrary reinforcers in deprived animals for precision of measurement and experimental control, but he clearly argued that positive reinforcers in society (where they could not be experimentally controlled) are often social and subtle. As used optimally, they correspond closely to Positive Psychology's interests (perceiving control, making meaning, smiles, attentiveness, etc.). Implicitly, the control advocated in Seligman's more popular writings ( Seligman, 2002) is consistent with positive reinforcement. Indeed, the attack on the self-esteem movement in The Optimistic Child ( Seligman, Reivich, Jaycox & Gillham, 1995) sounds as if it were written by Skinner himself: “By emphasizing how a child feels at the expense of what the child does—mastery, persistence, overcoming frustration and boredom, and meeting challenge—parents and teachers are making… children more vulnerable to depression” (p. 27). There seems to be agreement with Skinner that feelings are important, but not as causes of behavior—rather they are the fruits of mastery based on the contingencies (which is implicitly accepted as these authors urge parents to take careful control in child care).
Contribution to the Modern Debate Regarding Freedom and Determinism
Given the new surge of interest on the freedom and determinism question in recent years ( Bandura, 2006; Baumeister, 2008; Dennett, 2003; Wegner, 2002) a reconsideration of Skinner's works may be timely. Elaboration of this point is beyond the scope of this article, but it is appropriate to present Skinner's position as contemporary rather than lumped with other mid 20th century “neo-behaviorists.” Skinner's emphasis on “contingencies” of reinforcement having effects on the “probability” of behavior, always recognized the inherent variability or “looseness” ( Neuringer & Jensen, 2010) of operant (“voluntary”) behavior and in one sense provided room for “freedom” as noted by Fallon (1992). Clearly, Skinner talks of making “choices” with regard to self control and the selection of environments which we inhabit. Thus, despite the popular caricatures, Skinner did not advocate an S-R “mechanical” view of determinism ( Chiesa, 1992; Moxley, 1992). Rather, his functional analysis acknowledged multiple variables, only some of which could be controlled outside an efficient laboratory context. To illustrate this in the context of Walden Two, consider Frazier's paradoxical remark regarding Walden Two's people: “their behavior is determined, yet free” ( Skinner, 1976a, p. 279).
Skinner's description of the self as a “locus—a place in which a number of variables come together in a unique confluence to yield an equally unique achievement” ( Skinner, 1957, p. 313) is a dynamic perspective consistent with recent views in Behavior Analysis such as Hineline (1992), who remarks that rather than feeling threatened by the loss of the Cartesian or unitary self we might find fulfillment in “viewing oneself as a multiply scaled loosely bounded locus” (p. 1284). Similarly, Ainslie's (2001) dynamic account of the “will” and the self as a “population of interests” is consistent with Skinner's views; moreover, Ainslie's emphasis on recursive principles in an operant context is empirically testable and is applicable to the problem of why we too frequently fail to carry out our best “intentions” such as developing virtue.
Automaticity: A Missing Ingredient in the Recipe for a Flourishing Positive Psychology?
A current limitation of Positive Psychology is that its advocates have not yet explained sufficiently how to transfer consistently the inspiration from positive emotion and subjective well being into steady behavioral practice (habits). How regularly do we bring about these positive states that we so desire when our typical environments support passive or maladaptive activities earning pleasures rather than strengthening gratifications? Therein may be the value of Skinner's lessons and the proven efficacy of methods long used in Behavior Analysis; that is, the building of fluency and automaticity of adaptive behaviors and thinking through operant/selection principles. Although automaticity has also been emphasized by social–cognitive researchers who acknowledge that action precedes reflection (e.g., Bargh & Morsella, 2008), they too have ignored Skinner and Behavior Analysis's emphasis on selection principles and have conformed to the academic folklore ( Todd & Morris, 1992) habit of declaring behaviorism irrelevant or dead ( Bargh & Ferguson, 2000).
In the popular Positive Psychology literature, Haidt (2006) addresses the importance of automaticity. He uses the Buddhist metaphor of the rider and the elephant to discuss the relationship between controlled processes or one's “reasoning” self (the rider), and the automatic processes in our behavioral-emotional repertoire (the wild elephant) that have deep genetic and conditioning roots, thus leading us to follow the rules of our evolutionary contingencies and automatic sociocultural mandates. Haidt implicitly advocates behavioral approaches when he suggests that happiness results from the rider realizing he must “train” the elephant, having learned that the rider's “will” cannot impose much change on the elephant's ingrained tendencies. Thus, solutions in building virtue must come from tacit knowledge: “skills of social perception and social emotion so finely tuned that one automatically feels the right thing in each situation, knows the right thing to do, and then wants to do it.” ( Haidt, 2006, p. 160). Frazier could not have said it better regarding control techniques for educating children and Walden Two inhabitants to be good citizens. One cannot impose control, but the subtle use of reinforcers can “control” others such that they want to do the right thing.
This need for automaticity of skills is applicable in educational settings where flourishing students need a behavioral regimen to build the skills needed for developing character strengths. Martens and Witt (2004) describe a positive psychology of behavioral skill instruction where operant principles are used in a hierarchal instructional scheme for building persistence and competence for success in educational contexts. They make the point that creativity emerges from skill building, fluency, and automaticity. Csikszentmihalyi (1990) also described how creativity and rote learning are not incompatible; rather the potential for the flow experience is enhanced by a reservoir of behavior and thoughts established by more than ample practice. Thus, flow or optimal experience requires well practiced behavior that becomes associated with subjective well being, and positive emotion. Conversely, operant principles also provide for another avenue toward creativity through reinforcing variability ( Neuringer & Jensen, 2010); thus, both automaticity and variability of responding which are explainable by a functional analysis may provide foundations for different types of character strengths (e.g., persistence, creativity and self regulation).
Conclusions
Perhaps Positive Psychology needs no inspirational nudge from a reading of Walden Two or other works of Skinner's, and will continue to grow while promoting positive emotions, virtue, and positive institutions. Yet, the most important message of Walden Two may be that working to change institutions through putting them to an “experimental test” is where we will find the recipe (cf. Catania, 1987) needed to change human societies in the direction Positive Psychology envisages. It may be that much of the misunderstanding and lack of acknowledgment across areas noted here is mostly a matter of language; Field and Hineline (2008) point out that psychological phenomena are nearly always explained in “bipolar locutions,” as in agent-action or cause-effect when, in fact, our subject of interest is “intrinsically tri-polar” with behavior or covert activity being one dynamic aspect and the others being organismic variables (unique genotype and learning history) and the current environment. Clearly, Positive Psychology tends to put more emphasis on agent-action descriptions whereas Behavior Analysis tends to focus on environment-action viewpoints. However, if we could broaden our language and descriptions to be more “tri-polar” we would see more confluence of positions rather than seeing the in-group and out-group biases that were fictionally ameliorated at Walden Two. Consider Seligman's words in the foreword to an early volume of Positive Psychology work: “Civility moves you out of a defensive mode of arguing and into a creative, tolerant, and expansive mindset in which both parties benefit” ( Seligman, 2003, p. xvii).
This perspective is being offered for one main purpose: to motivate contemporary psychologists to actually read (or reread) Skinner's ideas as offered in Walden Two (and other works). By reminding those in the Positive Psychology movement and others in psychology of Skinner's real positions, myths can be dismantled so that his ideas and those in Behavior Analysis may become more accessible for current “mainstream” psychological researchers working toward the betterment of the human condition. Perhaps in this era with hopes of a green technology, trends toward local purchasing, distrust of large money systems, and doubt regarding what large government can accomplish, fashioning Walden Two-like communities “… would not be a bad start” ( Skinner, 1976b, p. xvi).
Source: Review of General Psychology. Vol.16 (1) US : Educational Publishing Foundation pp. 1-9.
Accession Number: 2012-04823-001 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1037/a0026439
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The Psychological Record, 2013, 63, 667–680
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jay Moore, PhD, Department of
Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201; E- mail: jcm@uwm.edu
DOI:10.11133/j.tpr.2013.63.3.019
Tu
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orial: Cogni

Jay Moore
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Cognitive psychology is the name for a class of pos

Sketch
The Psychological Record, 2013, 63, 667–680
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jay Moore, PhD, Department of
Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201; E- mail: jcm@uwm.edu
DOI:10.11133/j.tpr.2013.63.3.019
Jay Moore
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Sketch
The Psychological Record, 2013, 63, 667–680
TuTorial: CogniTive PSyChology aSa radiCal BehavioriSTviewSiT

Cognitive psychology is the name for a class of positions that embrace mentalism: appeals to explicitly nonbehavioral states, mechanisms, processes, structures, and the like, operating in an explicitly nonbehavioral dimension of the mind, as causally effective antecedents in explanations of behavior. The present article reviews the background and nature of cognitive psychology, especially as contrasted with behaviorism. Of particular interest are the theoretical and philosophical differences between cognitive psychology and behaviorism, for instance, as those differences concern their respective explanatory practices. We conclude that cognitive psychology has conceptual affinities with mediational neobehaviorism, and that the radical behaviorism of B. F. Skinner differs from them both.
Key words: cognitive psychology, mentalism, behaviorism, philosophical functionalism, token physicalism, type physicalism, multiple realizability
The term cognitive psychology refers to a class of positions having certain general characteristics, although specific characteristics of instances of cognitive psychology may differ widely. Recognizing this caveat to the present description, we begin this sketch by noting some of the general background and characteristics of cognitive psychology, taken from such sources as Baars (1986), Gardner (1985), Harré (2002),
Lachman, Lachman, and Butterfield (1979), and J. Moore (1996, 2008). Of particular interest is the underlying orientation of mentalism. We continue by noting some philosophical aspects of cognitive psychology. We then move to examine behaviorism from the standpoint of cognitive psychology, and cognitive psychology from the standpoint of B. F. Skinner’s radical behaviorism. We conclude by noting the implications of the different ways cognitive psychology and radical behaviorism incorporate internal information in their explanations of behavior. h istorical Background
In a sense, cognitive psychology in one form or another has been present throughout much of human intellectual history. The ancient Greeks expressed a form; various philosophers through the years advocated a form; most organized religions are based on a form. Although different among themselves, the intellectual positions represented by such figures as René Descartes (1596–1650), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Sigmund Freud
Moore
668
(1856–1939), and Jean Piaget (1896–1980) include characteristics of what we might now call cognitive psychology
.
Precursors in the 20th century include information and communication theory, cybernetics, electrical engineering, mathematics and computer technology, psycholinguistics, and the verbal learning tradition. Many contemporary versions of cognitive psychology emphasize a computer metaphor and the concept of “information processing.” Cognitive psychology also has an interesting relation with behaviorism, which is discussed later in this sketch. The first book bearing the title
Cognitive Psychology was published in 1938 (T. V. Moore, 1938). Gardner (1985) identified Sep 11, 1956, as the birthday of contemporary cognitive psychology associated with an information- processing orientation. In 1960, the Center for Cognitive Studies was established at Harvard
University, and Miller, Galanter, and Pribram published
Plans and the Structure of
Behavior
. In 1967, Neisser published an influential general text,
Cognitive Psychology
.
Beginning in the 1970s, cognitive psychology began to receive more and more recognition, as reflected in the publication of additional books and journals, as well as support from such philanthropic groups as the Sloan Foundation. In keeping with its evolving nature, many researchers and theorists now use the term cognitive science to characterize the movement. This term reflects an interdisciplinary trend that incorporates philosophy, neuroscience, and other branches of the social and natural sciences.
The everyday language of Western culture, often known as folk psychology
, typically involves words like beliefs , intentions , wishes , wants , hopes , and desires . Taken as referring to mental entities possessed by individuals that cause them to behave in particular ways, such words reflect the pervasiveness of cognitive concepts.
Mentalism
An important general characteristic of positions in psychology that are called cognitive is an explicit and un–self- conscious embrace of mentalism. For present purposes, we may define mentalism as the appeal to explicitly nonbehavioral elements from an explicitly nonbehavioral dimension as casually effective antecedents in explanations of behavior. In fact, mentalism holds that a causal explanation of behavior is incomplete at best and defective at worst if it deploys only concepts from the observable behavioral dimension and fails to appeal to unobservable causal elements from a nonbehavioral dimension. Common terms for these nonbehavioral elements are acts , states , mechanisms , processes , entities , faculties , or structures , with different versions of mentalism favoring different terms. Common terms for the nonbehavioral dimension are mental , cognitive , spiritual , psychic , conceptual , hypothetical , mystical , or transcendental , again with different versions of mentalism favoring different terms. An umbrella term for the nonbehavioral dimension is the dimension of mind
.
Mentalism is predicated on several underlying assumptions. The numbered paragraphs below aim to identify these assumptions, with an emphasis on the contemporary, information- processing form of mentalism.
1.
Behavior takes place in the publicly observable dimension. However, psychology must also grant the existence of the mental, or cognitive, dimension of the mind, which is unobservable but whose elements may nevertheless be considered causal for behavior.
(a)
First, behavior (e.g., as output) is not generally related in a one- to- one way to antecedent environmental stimulation (e.g., as input). Therefore, behavioral output must be causally related to something other than the direct input from environmental stimulation. This other “something” to which behavioral output is causally related is a mental act, state, or mechanism. Mental factors are viewed as the underlying factors that make behavior possible, and in terms of which an explanation of behavior is appropriately sought.
(b)
Second, the history of the sciences indicates how important it is to conceive of factors that may be unobserved at the time they are postulated but nevertheless
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prove fruitful in understanding the subject matter of that science. A science should be theoretically liberated to entertain whatever richer concepts involving unobservables suit its explanatory or heuristic purposes. Cognitive psychology is quite naturally following in this same tradition.
(c)
Third, in many cases, each of us is introspectively aware of phenomena that are not observable to others, and our own intuitions support a causal role for these phenomena, as they typically occur just prior to our behavior.
2.
The elements of the mind (e.g., acts, states, mechanisms) have certain operating characteristics. By understanding these operating characteristics and how the elements relate to each other—the functional content and architecture of the mind—we understand what causes behavior. As Fodor (1983) put it, “Behavior is organized, but the organization of behavior is merely derivative; the structure of behavior stands to mental structure as an effect stands to its cause” (p. 2). The causal properties of mind range from initiating to mediating, depending on the version of mentalism being discussed. The sense of initiating is the classic sense of an independent, autonomous, efficient cause. The sense of mediating is that environmental stimuli are viewed as activating some unobservable, inferred inner act, state, mechanism, process, structure, or entity that mediates the relation between stimulus (S) and response (R) and in a meaningful sense causes R. The mediator is regarded as the proper focus for psychological theorizing because the organism is not in direct contact with stimuli in the environment, rather only with the mediator. Some elements of psychological relevance function at the conscious level and are therefore introspectible. In contrast, other elements, perhaps most, function at the unconscious level, and are not introspectible. Finally, mental elements can be either dualist or materialist. Dualist forms of mentalism appeal to mental stuff that differs qualitatively from behavioral stuff, rather than by being a subset of behavioral stuff. Materialist forms deny that the elements in their theories are of a dualistic stuff. However, the forms do argue that the elements are of a different type than behavioral things. Much of contemporary cognitive psychology regards its mentalism as materialist and physiological, although contemporary mental concepts are nevertheless held to reside in and exert their causal efficacy from a nonbehavioral dimension.
3.
Three sorts of data should be used to test and therefore to justify inferences about underlying causal mental acts, states, mechanisms, and the like in explanations. If the inferences are not testable, the enterprise would be no more than a return to the speculations of late 19th century forms of structural psychology. An emphasis on data and testable inferences ensures the enterprise is consistent with the empiricism and objectivity that are required in science.
(a)
Publicly observable behavioral variables, such as latencies, reaction times, ratings, and answers on reasoning tasks (ratiocinations).
(b)
Recordings from physiological structures. Typically, these structures are central, such as measured by fMRI technology, rather than peripheral. These recordings are presumed to be correlated with or to be a measure of the psychological phenomenon in question. The phenomenon is often said to be explained or accounted for by appealing to the recordings from the structures.
(c)
Introspective self- reports, although generally as correlated with one of the other sorts of data above, rather than as an independent, primary data source.
4.
An organism should be understood as an active and independent contributor to its behavior, rather than as just a passive lump of protoplasm lashed and prodded through life by forces of energy beyond its control. Hence, an organism’s behavior reflects the active reception, transformation, reduction, elaboration, organization, selection, storage, and retrieval of information, performed by a mediator if not an initiating agent. Explanatory language can therefore safely use terms of the intentional idiom— intensionality , agency , and the like—even if those terms are taken from the everyday language of “folk psychology.”
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In sum, the mentalism of cognitive psychology seeks to explain behavior through an understanding of how the mind works—the universal, innate operating characteristics and capacities of internal structures and systems that enable organisms to behave as they do in a given context. In many cases, the enterprise constitutes a kind of theoretical engineering, in which the abstract design features of a given psychological system are represented in a flowchart. The enterprise often takes a top- down design stance. It is further interdisciplinary, intersecting with psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, engineering, and even other social sciences such as anthropology. It emphasizes an analysis of the underlying factors that determine the competence of subjects, rather than an analysis of the factors that determine performance. According to mentalism, then, a standpoint in psychology must engage underlying theoretical elements, such as unobservable acts, states, mechanisms, processes, entities, or structures in a mental, subjective, or cognitive dimension in order to contribute significantly to contemporary psychology, or to explain such complex and uniquely human phenomena as language, thought, memory, problem solving, consciousness, creativity, social behavior, abnormal behavior, or therapy. Behavior is said to be explained when a plausible and ultimately testable account of the elements in the mental dimension, their operating characteristics, and their functional or conceptual design features is specified.
Some
r epresentative Philosophical a spects of Cognitive Psychology
The dominant philosophical position, or philosophy of mind, associated with contemporary cognitive psychology is philosophical functionalism. According to philosophical functionalism, mental states are functional states. Mental states are defined functionally, by their causal contribution to the behavior in question. That is, their causal contribution is identified by referring to the innate operating principles of the internal phenomena and the relations among those phenomena that are responsible for the states, and then relating the causal state to the behavior in question.
In keeping with its assertion of materialism and denial of dualism, much of contemporary cognitive psychology embraces a position called token physicalism
. Token physicalism holds that individual instances of mental states (hence, tokens) are indeed physical or material states.
However, classes of mental states (hence, types) are not individuated or differentiated by their physical properties, such as specific neuronal activity at a specific anatomical locus. If types of mental states were defined by their physical properties, we would have a position called type physicalism
. For example, type physicalism would hold that the type of mental phenomenon called an individual’s belief is nothing but neuronal activity at some particular set of x–y–z stereotaxic coordinates in the brain.
Much of contemporary cognitive psychology accepts token physicalism but not type physicalism. Thus, contemporary cognitive psychology holds that when an individual is said to intend or believe, some neurons in the brain are surely active, and those neurons can be identified with activity at some particular set of x–y–z stereotaxic coordinates.
However, an individual’s intention or belief is not literally and only identical with the neural activity at those coordinates. Rather, such terms as intention or belief signify a mental state that causes subsequent behavior. As a functional state, it is not a thing that is literally observed. Rather, it is inferred, under an assumption that in the future, possibly with better measuring equipment, further evidence may be gathered about its properties.
Types of mental states are therefore individuated in abstract terms by their functional contribution, rather than their anatomical nature. The same individual, or even a different individual, might be said to believe if neurons at a different anatomical locus were active, so long as the functional contribution of whatever neurons were active was the same. In short, physiological readings of neuronal activity such as via fMRI instantiate and give evidence of abstract cognitive concepts but do not define those concepts. The states can be multiply realized.
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Again, the modern computer provides a suitable metaphor. A computer has various input mechanisms (e.g., keyboard, disk drives, USB ports, network connections to other computers) as well as output mechanisms (e.g., a visual monitor or display, a disk drive, a printer). The input mechanisms are akin to the senses of an organism, and the output mechanisms are akin to its behavior. More importantly, a computer also has various internal routines and programs that establish “states” according to which the input is processed and the output is generated. The important thing about these states is that they are lawful, orderly states established by a deterministic system. They are part of the causal nexus for the computer’s “behavior.” The states are not necessarily tied to the same memory location in the computer’s hardware, either within the same computer or across different brands of computers. Overall, the computer metaphor is taken to demonstrate the principle that functional states can be multiply realized and that any attempt to define a state exclusively in terms of physical parameters is inadequate. r elations Between Behaviorism and Cognitive Psychology
From the Standpoint of Cognitive Psychology
The relations between behaviorism and the mentalism of cognitive psychology are extraordinarily complex. Often comments about those relations reveal foundational differences between the two orientations to psychological science. For example, consider the following passage from Fodor (1968), one of the seminal sources in cognitive psychology: To qualify as a behaviorist in the broad sense of the term that I shall employ, one need only believe that the following proposition expresses a necessary truth: For each mental predicate that can be employed in a psychological explanation, there must be at least one description of behavior to which it bears a logical connection. I shall henceforth refer to this proposition as P. ... A mentalist is, the, simply someone who denies
“necessarily P.” .... As I am using the two words, the distinction between mentalism and behaviorism is both exclusive and exhaustive. (pp. 51, 55)
In this passage, Fodor criticizes forms of behaviorism that logically engage mental things as overlapping with publicly observable, behavioral things. On his view, mental things need to be approached so differently from behavioral things that they constitute an independent subject matter. As Fodor sees it, behaviorism errs when it tries to reduce mental things to types of behavioral things.
Following from this sort of foundational distinction, many cognitive psychologists argue that behaviorism is comprehensively inadequate and that the mentalism inherent in cognitive psychology is theoretically and philosophically superior. For example, consider the following passage from Flanagan (1991):
Any science, therefore, that fails to talk about mental events and processes will not be remotely adequate. The transformations which take place between our ears are the missing links needed to account for the regularities between stimuli and responses. The behaviorist’s tactic of only attending to lawlike connections between observable events is comparable to resting satisfied with the knowledge that the Big Bang is responsible for the present state of the cosmos and not giving a hoot about what has gone on in between. (p. 259)
Thus, many cognitive psychologists hold that they represent the revolutionary replacement for behaviorism, making predictions and in general understanding behavior better than behaviorism ever could (J. Moore, 1996). In this vein, early in the history of cognitive psychology, Chomsky (1959) wrote a relentlessly disparaging review of
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Skinner’s behavioral approach to verbal behavior. Chomsky has also routinely disparaged many other things, including other forms of cognitive psychology, but that story is beyond the scope of the present discussion. In any event, for the last 50 years, many cognitive psychologists have contended that Chomsky’s article so effectively discredited behaviorism that behaviorism can no longer be seriously entertained by any competent behavioral scientist.
This section of the present sketch reviews supposed differences between much of contemporary cognitive psychology and behaviorism from the standpoint of the former and then offers some comment on these differences. These differences are to some extent derived from the assumptions outlined earlier in this sketch. More is said later in this sketch about the relation between cognitive psychology and behaviorism from the standpoint of the latter.
Complicating the analysis is that just as there are many different forms of cognitive psychology, so also are there many different forms of behaviorism. J. Moore (2008,
2011) has suggested that the dominant form of behaviorism is mediational S–O–R neobehaviorism. In this form, unobservable organismic variables are held to mediate the relation between stimulus and response. Another form of behaviorism is the radical behaviorism of B. F. Skinner. Neobehaviorism differs significantly from Skinner’s radical behaviorism, even though both are conventionally designated as forms of behaviorism. Many cognitive psychologists do not specifically recognize any differences between neobehaviorism and radical behaviorism. As a result, the differences between cognitive psychology and behaviorism commonly cited by many cognitive psychologists appear to be intended to apply to all forms of behaviorism. In actuality, however, these differences may be said to apply only to neobehaviorism and not to radical behaviorism.
The present discussion will focus on three of those ostensible differences (J. Moore,
1996, 2008).
Some cognitive psychologists contend one difference is that cognitive psychology is concerned with the unobservable phenomena that are held to underlie and therefore cause behavior, and in terms of which an explanation is appropriately sought. These cognitive psychologists further contend behaviorism is concerned solely with the publicly observable relations between behavior and stimuli in the environment, which are neither causal nor expla nator y.
What can we say about this first difference? With respect to the question of public observability, we note that mediational S–O–R neobehaviorism freely appeals to unobservable phenomena in the form of theoretical, organismic mediators in its explanations. The history of learning theory in the United States during the second quarter of the 20th century (e.g., Clark L. Hull, Kenneth W. Spence, Edward C. Tolman) is surely ample evidence of the fundamental concern with unobservable mediators. The various mental states or cognitive processes may well be more sophisticated or complex in cognitive psychology than neobehaviorist mediators, but they do not differ in kind. As a result, we suggest this first difference claimed by some cognitive psychologists is not actually a difference after all.
Some cognitive psychologists contend a second difference is that although behaviorism may well deploy theoretical concepts in its explanations of behavior, those theoretical concepts follow operational definitions strictly linked to publicly observable data, such as publicly observable behavior or physiological recordings. These definitions are in the style of logical positivism, logical empiricism, and the thesis of operationism.
The error of these definitions is that they render mental things as behavioral things. In contrast, theoretical concepts in cognitive psychology are more liberally defined and not derived from such things as publicly observable behavior. Rather, cognitive concepts are more richly defined by terms from engineering, computer technology, and other intellectual traditions. In addition, given that logical empiricism is no longer a viable philosophical position, any position in psychology that draws upon it, as any form of behaviorism is assumed to do, is similarly no longer viable. Consequently, many
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cognitive psychologists again hold that their concepts are theoretically and philosophically superior to those of behaviorism.
What can we say about this second difference? We begin by viewing the matter in historical perspective. Early logical positivism did in fact favor definitions that were exhaustively stated in terms of publicly observable data. So also did mediational S–O–R neobehaviorism, although more under the influence of early interpretations of operationism than logical positivism. However, both logical positivism and neobehaviorism modified their views and came to accept partial definitions, albeit for different reasons. Carnap (1936, 1937) did so for logical positivism on the basis of technical distinctions pertaining to formal logic. MacCorquodale and Meehl (1948) suggested a related distinction for psychology on the basis of practical considerations in theory construction. MacCorquodale and Meehl referred to exhaustively defined concepts as intervening variables
, and to partially defined concepts as hypothetical constructs
. Importantly, the interpretation in which theoretical concepts are viewed as hypothetical constructs has come to predominate in psychology, presumably because of the greater degrees of freedom in theory construction (e.g., Tolman, 1949; see J. Moore,
2008, 2011, for additional discussion). In this regard, neobehaviorism views public data as evidence, not defining examples of the mediators. Therefore, the hypothetical construct interpretation can comfortably admit any sense of a mediating structure or entity, including anything from a cognitive or mental orientation.
Confusion about this point seems widespread. For example, Baars (1986) reported interviews with two cognitive psychologists. One was J. J. Jenkins, who stated the following: The mediational theory was really an attempt to build on the stimulus- response theory, to permit invisible things like internal stimuli and responses, but to be very explicit about these intervening variables. The hidden parts were all little s’s and r’s. (Baars, 1986, pp. 240–241)
A second was George Mandler, who stated that when Hull generated fictions he was so afraid of generating real fictions, that his fictions had the names of observable events—little internal responses, little stimuli. (Baars, 1986, p. 255, italics in original)
These two statements suggest that cognitive psychologists view neobehaviorist theoretical concepts as equivalent and exhaustively reducible to behavioral concepts, like small stimuli and responses.
The two statements above may now be compared with those of two neobehaviorists and a logical empiricist. One neobehaviorist is Kimble (1985):
In a second way, the operational point of view did nothing more than insist that terms designating unobservables be defined in ways that relate them to observables. ... Obviously, there is nothing in this formula to exclude mentalistic concepts. In fact, the whole point of it is to admit unobservables. (p. 316)
A second neobehaviorist is Amsel (1989):
It has never been debatable—certainly not among neobehaviorists—that explanations should involve constructs [representing nonbehavioral states and processes that go on inside organisms]. ... The fact is that for the present
S - R theorist, as I think for Hull and certainly for Spence, the mediating machinery defined as hypothetical Ss and Rs are no more or less permissible, and no more or less observable, than are the cognitive constructs the
“emergent behaviorists” are now willing to permit. (pp. 50–51)
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The logical empiricist is Feigl (1963). Readers will recall that according to much of contemporary cognitive psychology, logical empiricism and operationism underlie neobehaviorism, and all three are inadequate. Smith (1986) has elsewhere examined the relation between logical empiricism and neobehaviorism, and interested readers are referred to that source for more discussion than can be given here. Suffice it to note that the following statement by Feigl indicates an unmistakable move favoring partial rather than exhaustive definitions:
Statements about mental events are not translatable into statements about
(actual or possible) overt behavior. ... The meaning of statements (at least in one very important sense of “meaning”) is to be identified with their factual reference, and not with their evidential basis. ... Given this general outlook it becomes obvious that the naive peripheralistic forms of behaviorism must be repudiated and their shortcomings remedied by the admission of central states and processes as the genuine referents of psychological terms. ... Concepts such as memory trace may be taken to refer to (as yet very incompletely specified) central conditions.
(pp. 247–252)
In Feigl’s statement, the “factual reference” is the literal mental event, whereas the
“evidential basis” is the meter reading that represents the publicly observable neural or behavioral correlates of the mental event. Clearly, then, neither the later form of neobehaviorism nor of logical empiricism necessarily reduced mental things to types of behavioral things, as cognitive psychology assumes they did.
What then about the characteristic attempts in logical positivism to relate theoretical concepts in psychology to publicly observable physiological measures, such as readings on meters, dials, pointers, and so on (e.g., Carnap, 1932; see J. Moore, 2010, for additional discussion)? Interestingly, this strategy is compatible with attempts in much of contemporary cognitive psychology to support inferences about supposed cognitive processes using data from fMRI technology. In both cases, the publicly observable data are said to be the evidence for the mental processes, not the processes themselves. The bottom line is that according to the thesis of partial definitions, the unobservable mediators of neobehaviorism are actually quite compatible with the unobservable mental acts, states, and processes of cognitive psychology.
In recognition of this compatibility, Leahey (1992, 2004) has offered an ironic conclusion concerning the relation between much of cognitive psychology and neobehaviorism, quite at variance with what some cognitive psychologists would typically argue (and perhaps even some neobehaviorists). He concluded that because the differences claimed to exist between much of cognitive psychology and neobehaviorism do not actually exist, cognitive psychology may be understood as the conceptual, evolutionary, and methodological successor to neobehaviorism, rather than its revolutionary replacement.
Any differences are a matter of emphasis or degree, rather than kind (see also J. Moore,
1996, pp. 361–365). As a result, for a second time, we suggest that a difference claimed by many cognitive psychologists is not actually a difference after all.
Some cognitive psychologists contend a third difference is that cognitive psychology is theoretical and explanatory, by virtue of its expressed concern with underlying phenomena, whereas behaviorism is at best merely observational and descriptive. In this regard, according to some cognitive psychologists, behaviorism is concerned with a behavioral event. Behaviorism seeks to explain an event in terms of the hypothetico- deductive, covering law model. Another name for this mode of explanation is the deductive- nomological model. In its simple form, this model involves first hypothesizing a causal law that involves observable environmental variables and relations, then identifying an antecedent condition that involves factually observable environmental variables and relations, and finally deducing an implication from the foregoing premises.
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The event is considered to be explained, and the law supported, when the researcher or theorist collects data that are consistent with deduction- implication derived from the premises. In other words, the event has been subsumed under the causal law. Many cognitive psychologists challenge the validity of the emphasis on an event, saying that the notion of an event is itself so ambiguous as to admit virtually any post- hoc rendering from a continuous stream of activity. Moreover, many cognitive psychologists say the hypothetico- deductive model that focuses on observable behavioral events ignores the unobservable capacities and makeup of the behaving organism, which researchers and theorists need to take into account to properly understand how behavior can even take place.
What can we say about this third difference? Again, we can point out that mediational S–O–R neobehaviorism freely appeals to unobservable hypothetical concepts in its theories and explanations. These concepts are postulated to have just exactly the causal properties necessary to explain the behavior in question, as underlying mediating phenomena. Neobehaviorists regard the hypothetico- deductive method as simply a means for exploring and validating these unobservable mediating concepts. The method is not limited to tests of observables. Indeed, many cognitive psychologists also test their mental concepts using the hypothetico- deductive method. As a result, for a third time, we suggest that a difference claimed by many cognitive psychologists is not actually a difference after all. r elations Between Cognitive Psychology and r adical Behaviorism
From the Standpoint of r adical Behaviorism
How, then, does Skinner’s radical behaviorism view cognitive psychology? Skinner
(e.g., 1977, 1985, 1989, 1990) himself wrote much on this topic. In brief, radical behaviorism disagrees with both cognitive psychology and mediational S–O–R neobehaviorism. It does so because it views both as comparably mediational and mentalistic. Indeed, according to Skinner (1990), “Cognitive science is the creation science of psychology, as it struggles to maintain the position of a mind or self” (p. 1209).
A fundamental point concerns the view of verbal behavior and the explanatory practices that arise from that view of verbal behavior. For radical behaviorism, both neobehaviorism and cognitive psychology adopt a referential, symbolic view of verbal behavior. According to this view, terms refer to or symbolically represent things in another dimension called a meaning . Radical behaviorism unhesitatingly rejects this entire view. Consequently, debates about whether an operational definition exhaustively or partially identifies the referent are beside the point—it does neither because the meaning of verbal behavior is not a matter of reference or symbolic representation in the first place. Rather, radical behaviorism adopts a behavioral view of verbal behavior. According to this view, meaning is a function of contingencies. For the speaker, meaning is a function of the contingencies that control the emission of the term. For the listener, meaning is a function of the contingencies into which the term enters as a form of verbal discriminative stimulation.
As a result of the different view of verbal behavior, radical behaviorism takes an entirely different approach to analyzing the differences between cognitive psychology and behaviorism than does cognitive psychology. Readers are referred to J. Moore (2011) for additional discussion of the differences between radical behaviorism and neobehaviorism.
We focus here on the differences between radical behaviorism and cognitive psychology.
Radical behaviorism asks what factors lead to mental talk by cognitive psychologists, and what does mental talk by cognitive psychologists lead listeners to do, for example, with regard to prediction and control of behavior?
For radical behaviorists, a wide variety of factors lead to mental talk by cognitive psychologists. Three such factors are our general social–cultural traditions, our conventional practices regarding language use, and our conventional practices leading to inappropriate metaphors.
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With regard to our general social–cultural traditions, those traditions are heavily dualistic. Consequently, they lend themselves quite comfortably to one or another form of mentalism. Those traditions are strengthened through social reinforcement for talking about and explaining behavior in the mentalistic ways that are approved in our verbal community. With regard to our conventional practices regarding language use, we typically describe behavioral events using adjectives or adverbs but then convert the adjectives and adverbs to nouns. We then go looking in another dimension for the things the nouns are said to represent. For example, if we can invoke a noun, we then seize on the noun as symbolically representing an object or entity that exists in another dimension and that causes the behavior in question. This regrettable form of reasoning is sometimes called the formalistic fallacy
, and is sometimes said to involve the practice of “reification”
(understanding, of course, that language does not literally represent anything and does not literally change the nature of the thing described). The bottom line is that we miss events and relations in the one dimension that are relevant to our understanding of behavior. With regard to inappropriate metaphors, we conventionally regard them as acceptable explanations—buckets that fill up but then leak, springs that wind up but then unwind, computers that store input and then retrieve it, and so on. However, we rarely ask about the sources of the metaphors. The metaphors will clearly be misleading if their sources lie in literal dualism, as many do. To justify an appeal to metaphors as involving hypothetical constructs is similarly misleading. After all, a dualistic mind is the ultimate in parsimonious hypothetical constructs, just as was the religious soul.
The factors above are linked by a common commitment to mechanical, antecedent causation. That is, much of cognitive psychology is committed to viewing the cause of behavior as some antecedent act, state, mechanism, or process that is fully endowed with a one- to- one capacity to account for all the characteristics of the observed behavior. If the characteristics of a given form of behavior differ from those of another, a new and different antecedent factor with a new and different capacity is proposed. The net result is a proliferation of innumerable “psychological” phenomena, often justified as “theoretical,” as even the most casual observer of the contemporary scene in traditional psychology can testify. At issue is why the notion of mechanical, antecedent causation is embraced in the first place. The concept of selection as a causal mode, prevalent in the rest of the life sciences and especially in radical behaviorism, is absent. Its absence takes a toll.
What, then, does mental talk lead listeners to do? The ultimate liability is that cognitive psychology leads us to ignore the contingencies that actually cause the behavior in question. The contingencies exist at the level of (a) phylogeny, as contingencies of survival, selecting innate behavior during the lifetime of the species, and studied by behavior- analytically informed ethologists; (b) ontogeny, as contingencies selecting operant behavior during the lifetime of an organism, and studied by behavior analysts; or (c) the culture, as contingencies selecting cultural practices, and studied by behavior- analytically informed cultural anthropologists. By not examining the source of the purported cognitive mechanisms, the mechanisms are treated as uncaused.
Many cognitive psychologists may counter the argument above by saying they regard mental phenomena as innate or genetic and therefore attribute them to evolution, as in attributing mechanisms underlying language to evolution (Pinker, 1994). Perhaps mental phenomena are even regarded as modular faculties (Fodor, 1983). For radical behaviorists, the problem is that although many behavioral phenomena clearly are innate, many others are acquired during the lifetime of the organism, through the influence of the environmental circumstances in which the organism lives. Suppose we ignore the influence of ontogenic factors and instead continually appeal to vaguely phylogenic factors. Radical behaviorists argue we miss opportunities to arrange our environment in ways that will strengthen behavior that contributes to our welfare and weaken behavior that does not.
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Summary and Conclusions
To be sure, “mechanisms” are an inherent aspect of our behavioral systems, and those mechanisms do possess certain operating characteristics. Moreover, many forms of our behavior do have a certain physiological “structure” that can be studied. For example, a behavioral account of an event has two gaps. One gap is within the event—from the time an organism encounters some environmental circumstance to the time it responds. No doubt events during this gap can be described in terms of something like a flowchart. A second gap is between events—from the time an organism has a given experience to the time the effects of that experience are reflected in its behavior. Physiological phenomena are undeniably associated with these gaps. No doubt many of these physiological phenomena are functionally related to the central nervous system. After all, an organism is changed by its experiences with the environment. To use a canonical example, suppose we observe that after a hungry rat has pressed a lever and produced and eaten a small food pellet, the rat presses the lever more often in similar circumstances in the future. The experience changed the rat. But what was stored was a changed rat, not a copy or representation of the experience that the rat stored and then retrieved for its use in the future. The rat acted differently after it had produced and eaten the food pellet because it was a different rat. Neuroscience can learn about whatever physiological phenomena are involved in these processes, and the direct knowledge of them yielded by neuroscience will increase our ability to predict and control behavior, for example, if information about an organism’s behavioral history is lacking. Even so, adequate predictions can come from knowledge of the organism’s history, just as they can come from knowledge of an organism’s physiology.
However, it is one thing to say that the human visual system responds to wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum from 400 nm to 700 nm, or that the human auditory system responds to frequencies of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, or that there is lateral inhibition in the end organs of sensory systems, or that a rat licks a drinking tube at a rate of seven times per second, or that proteins are synthesized at an organism’s synapses after it experiences various environmental events. Those facts have been determined by direct investigations of a subject matter. It is quite another thing to imply that seven plus or minus two is a “magical number” that might represent a limit on the channel capacity of a hypothetical mechanism called working memory
(Miller, 1956). For radical behaviorism, the metaphors and other language of cognitive psychology or even mediational neobehaviorism are inadequate in most cases and mischievous and deceptive in others. In this regard, Uttal (2008) has extensively documented the empirical, methodological, and conceptual inadequacies of a cognitive psychology that presumes it is making a science of mental life.
Furthermore, some may attempt to reconcile radical behaviorism with either cognitive or neobehaviorist orientations by offering one of the following three well- meaning but nevertheless misguided arguments. The first argument is that just as some terms in the cognitive and neobehaviorist vocabulary are theoretical rather than observational, so also are some terms in the radical behaviorist vocabulary; if all terms are operationally defined, what’s the difference? The second argument is that just as some theoretical terms in the cognitive and neobehaviorist vocabulary are hypothetical constructs rather than intervening variables, so are some theoretical terms in the radical behaviorist vocabulary; if all terms are operationally defined, what’s the difference? The third argument is that just as cognitive psychology and neobehaviorism adhere to token but not type physicalism, so does radical behaviorism, so what’s the difference? Despite the pleasing attempts at reconciliation, to so argue is to uncritically accept a conceptual scheme in which terms are mentalistically interpreted as things that refer to or symbolically represent other things in a different dimensional system. In point of fact, radical behaviorism rejects this entire conceptual scheme as it pertains to verbal behavior, so it rejects the arguments above. At heart, radical behaviorism stands categorically opposed to the verbal practices and
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___________________________________________________________
The Role of Explicit and Implicit Self-Esteem in Peer Modeling of Palatable Food Intake: A Study on Social Media Interaction among Youngsters.
Authors:
Bevelander, Kirsten E.1 Kris.Bevelander@gmail.com
Anschütz, Doeschka J.1
Creemers, Daan H. M.1
Kleinjan, Marloes1
Engels, Rutger C. M. E.1
Source:
PLoS ONE. Aug2013, Vol. 8 Issue 8, p1-11. 11p.
Document Type:
Article
Abstract:
Objective: This experimental study investigated the impact of peers on palatable food intake of youngsters within a social media setting. To determine whether this effect was moderated by self-esteem, the present study examined the roles of global explicit self-esteem (ESE), body esteem (BE) and implicit self-esteem (ISE). Methods: Participants (N = 118; 38.1% boys; M age 11.14±.79) were asked to play a computer game while they believed to interact online with a same-sex normal-weight remote confederate (i.e., instructed peer) who ate either nothing, a small or large amount of candy. Results: Participants modeled the candy intake of peers via a social media interaction, but this was qualified by their self-esteem. Participants with higher ISE adjusted their candy intake to that of a peer more closely than those with lower ISE when the confederate ate nothing compared to when eating a modest (β = .26, p = .05) or considerable amount of candy (kcal) (β = .32, p = .001). In contrast, participants with lower BE modeled peer intake more than those with higher BE when eating nothing compared to a considerable amount of candy (kcal) (β = .21, p = .02); ESE did not moderate social modeling behavior. In addition, participants with higher discrepant or “damaged” self-esteem (i.e., high ISE and low ESE) modeled peer intake more when the peer ate nothing or a modest amount compared to a substantial amount of candy (kcal) (β = −.24, p = .004; β = −.26, p<.0001, respectively). Conclusion: Youngsters conform to the amount of palatable food eaten by peers through social media interaction. Those with lower body esteem or damaged self-esteem may be more at risk to peer influences on food intake. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of PLoS ONE is the property of Public Library of Science and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract.(Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Author Affiliations:
1Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Database:
Academic Search Premier

___ Introduction
Computer use has been associated with increased sedentary behavior as well as (soft) drink and snack consumption among youngsters, which can contribute to being overweight [1,2]. The majority of Dutch youth are on the Internet (96%) and converse by social media (e.g. MSN, Skype, Face book) for approximately
1.5 hours a day [3,4]. As friends and peers become more important with age, the amount of time spent on social media increases significantly during high school [3]. Numerous experi- mental studies have shown by means of ‘‘confederates,’’ who were secretly instructed to choose or eat certain types or amounts of food, that individuals adapt the food intake of peers [5,6,7]. This so-called social modeling effect was found regardless of whether the confederates were physically present (i.e., ‘‘remote’’ or ‘‘video’’ confederates) and illustrates the strong influence of others on food consumption [8,9,10,11]. For example, boys and girls were found to follow a remote confederate’s unfamiliar food choices during a computer game while they were shown food choices between familiar and unfamiliar foods on screen [12]. In addition, a study among girls showed that they consumed more after seeing a remote (video) confederate eat a large rather than a small amount of palatable food [13]. It is unknown whether a remote confederate also influences consumption when youngsters engage in an online social interaction.
Social modeling behavior is based on a normative framework; that is, people use others’ food intake as a norm or guideline for how much is appropriate to eat [14,15]. From infancy on, people model their behaviors to learn and to affiliate with others as well as to be liked and socially embedded due to our need to belong
[16,17]. However, individual characteristics [18] and social context affect to what extent people adjust their food intake
[15]. For example, a study of young adults showed that females only followed the food intake of a real confederate when she was acting less sociable [19]. The authors argued that the participants felt a stronger need to affiliate when the confederate was acting
PLOS ONE | www.plosone.org 1 August 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 8 | e72481
‘‘socially cold’’ than when she was acting ‘‘socially warm,’’ because the affiliation goal had been already achieved for the latter.
Social belonging is determined in part by self-esteem [20,21] and self-esteem plays an important role in social interactions [22].
According to the sociometer theory, self-esteem can be seen as a monitor of social acceptance and exclusion [22]. People with high self-esteem are more likely to believe that others like them than people with low self-esteem [23,24]; they worry less about how they are perceived by others and perceive a lower probability of rejection [20]. Subsequently, people with high self-esteem feel less need to affiliate with others and to affirm social bonds (e.g., by social modeling) compared to people with low self-esteem
[16,20,25]. Because individuals model behavior to affiliate or fit in [16,17], self-esteem may also play a role in social modeling of food intake. To our knowledge, there is only one study that examined the role of self-esteem on the matching degree of food intake in female students. Robinson et al. [26] found strong matching in dyads where one co-eater had low self-esteem but no matching effect in dyads where both co-eaters had high self- esteem. However, it was not possible to infer whether the participant with low self-esteem matched the food intake of the co-eater with high self-esteem, or vice versa. The present study aimed to address the question of causality.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the construct of self- esteem can be assessed in various ways. Most literature deals with global explicit self-esteem (ESE), which assesses people’s positive or negative attitude toward the self as a totality. While ESE provides insight into general psychological well-being, eating behavior might be better explained by domain-specific self-esteem (e.g. academic performance, athletic competence or (body) appearance)
[27,28,29,30]. In line with this notion, having low body esteem was previously found to predict low global ESE, but not vice versa
[27,31]. As research showed that young people’s body esteem is related to their eating behaviors [32], the current study also included body esteem (BE) as a explicit domain-specific measure of self-esteem. The construct of self-esteem can be further distinguished by taking into account implicit self-esteem (ISE). ISE is based on intuitive automatic self-evaluations, whereas ESE is based upon a conscious effortful retrieval of information to evaluate the self. It has been proposed that ISE develops early in life, which would produce a pre-conscious affective response to self-relevant stimuli by drawing on associative links in memory [33]. In contrast, ESE is likely to be constructed as a function of specific contexts and goals by drawing on cognitive capacity. A new line of research investigates the discrepancy between ESE and ISE. For example, a high ISE but low ESE (i.e. ‘‘damaged’’ self-esteem) is related to people’s (disturbed) eating behavior [34]. It has been proposed that ISE might reflect a presentation of the ideal self, whereas ESE represents the real self, and that the discrepancy could lead to a disturbed feeling [35]. Therefore, a discrepancy between ESE and
ISE might be seen as an indicator of psychological distress that can create uncertainty and lead to difficulties in maintaining a consistent self-view, which subsequently results in lower levels of mental and physical health [35,36]. To our knowledge, the influence of ISE or a possible discrepancy between ESE and ISE on social modeling behavior of food intake has not yet been examined. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether the palatable food intake of a peer (i.e., remote confederate) had an effect on the food intake of youngsters via social media interaction and whether this influence depended upon ESE, BE, ISE or a discrepancy between ESE and ISE. It was hypothesized that youngsters adjust their food intake to that of a peer but that those with lower ESE would follow the food intake of a peer more closely than those with higher ESE. Similar effects were hypothesized for BE, but it was expected that BE would have a stronger impact on modeling of food intake than ESE. As this is the first study to include the role of ISE on social modeling behavior, it explored whether ISE or a possible discrepancy between ESE and ISE had an effect on peer modeling of eating.
Methods
Participants
Figure 1 depicts a flow diagram of the recruitment procedure for the study. School teachers of grades 5 and 6 distributed detailed consent forms to parents of the students. For all schools that participated in this study, more than 70% of the students had a West-European or Dutch background. The study sample consisted of 118 participants (38.1% boys) with a mean age (SD) of 10.53 years (.54) in grade 5 (n=49) and 11.58 years (.63)
(n=69) in grade 6. Most participants (85.6%) were normal weight;
8.5% were overweight and 5.9% were underweight. The present study was conducted according to the guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki, and procedures were approved by the Ethics
Committee of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University
Nijmegen. Active written informed consent was obtained from the student’s caregivers.
Power calculations were conducted using the program G*Power
3.1.2 [37]. To detect a medium to large effect using linear regression (f
2
=0.20) with 7 predictors (it was estimated that besides the inclusion of the main variables - self-esteem and the intake conditions - the control variables food liking, hunger and
BMI had to be included), 80 participants are needed (power 0.80, p ,
.05). Taking into account the dependence of measurement within school classes, we followed the procedure proposed by
Twisk [38] with an estimated Intra Class Correlation (ICC) equaling.04. The number of students was estimated on 15 students per class who would receive written consent by their parents and this resulted in a multiplier of 1.5. Therefore, 120 pupils in total had to be approached. However, more than 120 students were recruited because it was expected that some parents would not give informed consent or participants had to be excluded due to the study design.
Setting and Procedure
Data collection took place from February through June 2012 between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM. The social media interaction lasted 10 minutes and was videotaped. The video camera was placed on a tripod in front of the participants, which they thought
Figure 1. Flow diagram of the recruitment procedure. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072481.g001 Self-Esteem in Online Peer Influence on Eating
PLOS ONE | www.plosone.org 2 August 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 8 | e72481 was used as a web cam. Participants were seated at a table with a laptop to play the computer game, a glass of water and a bowl of candy (i.e., chocolate-coated rice crisps). A large computer screen and sound speakers (connected to a second laptop) were placed next to the participant’s laptop, through which they were able to see and hear the remote confederate. Figure 2 presents a still of the computer game and the setting of the study. The computer game
(‘‘shooting blocks’’) consisted of different levels with constructions
Figure 2. Computer game ‘‘Shooting Blocks’’ (above) and a participant waving good-bye to the remote confederate at the end of the online interaction (below). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072481.g002 Self-Esteem in Online Peer Influence on Eating
PLOS ONE | www.plosone.org 3 August 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 8 | e72481
(e.g., a tower or pyramid) composed of ice cubicles, some of which were pink. The participants could earn points by breaking the pink ice cubes with the computer mouse. They had to start the level over again if the construction collapsed and too many non-pink ice cubs were lost.
Experimental intake conditions and remote confede- rates. The remote confederates were young teenagers who were trained at a drama academy. There were three male and three female normal-weight confederates who were videotaped for each experimental intake condition. Acting according to the same script, they made remarks about the computer game, asked questions, and gave helpful instructions. Similar to previous research, they were instructed to eat nothing (no-intake condition), four pieces of candy (low-intake condition), or 15 pieces of candy
(high-intake condition) at set time points which were signaled by use of a buzzer device [18]. The remote confederates ate the same type of candy as the participants. The participants were randomly assigned to one of the experimental (no-, low- and high-) intake conditions. Cover story and modeling experiment.
The participants were delivered a cover story to conceal the actual aim of the study.
Before starting the experiments in school, each class was told that the experimenters were interested in computer gaming with another peer and that an average score would be calculated by their game score and the score of another peer who was playing at the same time but at another school. Prior to the social modeling experiment, the participants were told that they had to wait for the remote confederate to come and play the computer game. They were asked to complete some computer tasks (i.e. the self-esteem measures) while they were waiting. After they finished the self- esteem measures, one experimenter made the video connection
(i.e., started the video clip with the remote confederate), while the other experimenter instructed the participant about the computer game. At the same time, the participant could see and hear that the remote confederate received the same instruction by another experimenter (i.e., an actor). The experimenter made sure to wave with the participant to their remote counterparts at the exact moment that the latter waved on the video. To conceal that the participants could not really interact with the remote confederate, the participants were told that there were problems with the sound connection at the other school. Nevertheless, the participants were encouraged to try to interact whether or not the sound was working. The experimenter left the room at the same moment as the experimenter did on the video. After exactly 10 minutes, the experimenter came back again (similar to the video), waved to the remote counterparts and switched off the electronic devices. The participants’ height and weight were measured, and a short questionnaire was administered.
Measures
Food intake participant.
The experimenter weighed the bowls of candy before and after each session using a digital scale
(Kern 440, Kern & Sohn, Balingen, Germany). The consumed grams were converted into kilocalories (100 gr/471 kcal) and used as the dependent variable in the analyses.
Explicit self-esteem.
Explicit self-esteem (ESE) was assessed by the Rosenberg self-esteem scale which is a widely used 10-item self-report measure of self-esteem. Participants rated the items
(e.g., ‘‘On the whole, I am satisfied with myself’’) on a scale from 1
(strongly agree) to 4 (strongly disagree). Cronbach’s alpha was a =.80.
Body esteem.
The participant’s body esteem (BE) was measured by the Children Figure Rating Scale, which consists of nine children’s appearance drawings ranging from very thin (1) to obese (9) [39]. The participants were asked to choose the drawing which they perceived their current figure to be and which they perceived as their ideal figure to be. The discrepancy between their perceived current figure and their ideal figure represented their BE [40]. The higher the score, the greater their body dissatisfaction and the lower their BE [32]. As it has been suggested that people who want to gain weight might have a different BE than people who want to lose weight [32,41], BE was additionally tested by recoding the participant’s score of who wanted to gain weight as missing score.
Implicit self-esteem.
Implicit self-esteem (ISE) was assessed with the Implicit Association Task (IAT) [42]. The IAT measures the positive and negative associations that an individual has with the self and with others. It is a computer-based response time task in which participants categorize stimuli by rapidly pressing a left- side or right-side key on the laptop keyboard without making errors. The reaction time measure assesses the relative difference of association between two target categories (i.e., me vs. not-me) with two attribution categories (i.e., positive vs. negative words or attitudes). The measure is computed by the speed at which participants press the keys in which association strengths influence performance. Participants respond faster to highly associated categories (e.g., me
+
positive attributions) than to less associated categories (e.g., she
+
positive attributions or me
+
negative attribu- tions). Thus, the scores reflect the ease with which participants associate positive versus negative words with the self. The overall
IAT score is computed by taking the difference between the average response times for the two test blocks (blocks 4 and 7, which were counterbalanced across participants to control for order effects). The degree to which ‘‘me-positive’’ and ‘‘not-me- negative’’ are stronger associations than ‘‘me-negative’’ and ‘‘not- me-positive’’ indicates more implicit self-esteem (see Table 1 for an overview of the IAT task). The improved scoring algorithm was used (
D
-measure) to compute individual scores as the difference in mean latencies between the two test blocks, divided by the inclusive standard deviation of trials within the respective blocks
(for further specific details on the
D
-measure such as practice trials and exclusion criteria, see Greenwald et al. [43]). The IAT was programmed in Inquisit 3.0 (Millisecond software).
Body weight.
Body weight is controlled for in the analyses as it is associated with BE and social modeling behavior [18]. The experimenter measured height and body weight individually according to standard procedures (without shoes but fully clothed).
Height was measured to the nearest 0.1 cm using a stadiometer
(Seca 217 Slider, Seca GmbH & Co., Hamburg, Germany) and weight was measured to the nearest 0.1 kg using a digital scale
(Seca Bella 840, Seca GmbH & Co.). The body mass index (BMI) was calculated using the formula: weight [kg]/height2 [m]. BMI
(z-score) cutoff points which are representative of current z-BMI standards for Dutch youngsters were used [44].
Measurements Questionnaire
Hunger.
To conceal the real aim of the study, participants’ subjective hunger state was measured after the experiment. The participants indicated their hunger on a Visual Analogue Scale
(VAS) (0 cm, not hungry at all
; 15 cm, very hungry
) [18].
Time of day.
Participants’ food intake might be related to time of day. Afternoons are more commonly snack times than mornings [45]. Therefore, the actual time of day on which the participant played the computer game during the online social interaction was taken into account.
Liking of the candy.
Liking of the candy was previously found to affect the participants’ food intake [18]. The participants were asked to indicate how much they liked the candy on a VAS
Self-Esteem in Online Peer Influence on Eating
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(0 cm, not at all
; 15 cm, very much
) with a sad looking and smiley face at the start and end of the scale, respectively.
Liking of the task.
To measure the extent to which the participants liked the computer game, a VAS was used (0 cm, do not like at all
; 15 cm, like it a lot
) with a sad looking and smiley face at the start and end of the scale, respectively.
Liking of the remote confederate.
Liking of the remote confederate might influence food intake. To measure the extent to which the participants liked the remote confederate, a VAS was used (0 cm, do not like at all
; 15 cm, like him/her a lot
) with a sad looking and smiley face at the start and end of the scale, respectively. Estimation of the remote confederate’s candy intake.
To
test whether the participants were conscious of the remote confederate’s candy intake, they were asked if they could estimate his/her candy intake (expressed in the number of candies).
Analytical Strategy
Data were analyzed using SPSS for Windows (version 20.0,
2012, SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, US). Alpha was set at p ,
.05. First, randomization checks were performed by using one-factor analysis of variance to test for differences among the three experimental intake conditions. Second, Spearman’s rank and Pearson’s correlations were performed for the model variables of age, sex, hunger, liking of the candy, time of day the experiment took place, liking of the task, liking of the remote confederate and candy intake (kcal) to determine which variable had to be controlled for in the main analyses.
The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for the outcome variable candy intake (kcal) was.05 meaning that 5% could be explained by nestedness within schools. According to Muthe
́n
[46], the size of the effect should preferably be under 5%. To control for the possible impact of clustering within schools, analyses were conducted in MPLUS with a sampling design adjusted model with schools as clusters, using the Type is Complex option in Mplus 6.0 [47]. Of the 118 participants, 3 participants did not complete the ESE task and 5 participants did not complete the ISE task. For BE, 9 participants reported an ideal body shape that was larger than their current body shape. In a second analysis for BE, they were coded as ‘missing.’ Therefore, the analyses for
ESE, ISE and BE were performed for N=115, N=113, N=118 and N=109 participants, respectively. Maximum percentage missing values was 7.6%. Missing values were handled in Mplus using full information maximum likelihood (FIML) estimation.
First, to examine whether social modeling occurred during social media interaction, the main effects of self-esteem and the experimental intake condition on candy intake (kcal) were tested in
2 different models by means of dummy coding the experimental intake conditions. Second, the interaction effects between the different self-esteem scores and experimental intake condition were tested. Model 1 tested no-intake as a reference group
(dummy coded as 0) against the low-intake and high-intake condition (dummy coded as 1), and model 2 tested the low-intake as a reference group against the no-intake and high-intake condition. The interaction terms were calculated between the dummy variables (i.e., the experimental intake conditions) and the different types of self-esteem and entered into the models while controlling for hunger and liking of the candy. To interpret possible interaction effects plots were constructed using the unstandardized regression coefficients. Similar models were used to examine discrepancies between the implicit and explicit measures. Results
Randomization and Manipulation Checks
Randomization checks were performed to test for differences between the experimental intake conditions in age, sex, hunger, liking of candy, liking of the task, liking of the remote confederate,
ESE, ISE, BE. Table 2 summarizes the means and standard deviations (SDs) for all variables in each experimental intake condition. There were no significant differences (
P
.
.10) between the experimental intake conditions, which indicated that random- ization was successful.
The manipulation check showed that there were significant differences (N=117;
F
2,115
=42.18,
p
,
.001) in the participant’s estimations (1 participant did not provide an estimation) of the number of candies the remote confederate ate between the experimental intake conditions (no-intake:
M
=1.17 (
6
2.31); low-
=.014). Again, participants with higher
ISE than BE adjusted more to the remote confederate’s candy intake than participants with higher BE than ISE.
Discussion
The present study was the first to investigate whether young teenager’s palatable food intake is affected by peer intake in a social media setting and whether this association was moderated by different types of self-esteem. Findings indicated that youngsters adjusted their food intake to the amount eaten by a peer in an online interaction and that this relation was qualified by body esteem (BE) and implicit self-esteem (ISE). Youngsters with lower
BE and higher ISE modeled peer intake. Global explicit self- esteem did not moderate the social modeling effect. In addition, this study was the first to indicate that discrepant self-esteem moderated social modeling behavior. That is, youngsters with so- called ‘‘damaged’’ self-esteem (i.e. higher ISE than ESE) were found to follow peer intake more closely than those with lower ISE than ESE.
Going beyond previous studies on normative influences on food intake by means of remote [9,10,11,12,13] or real confederates
[5,6,18,49], the current findings showed that social modeling behavior can also occur through online interaction. Youngsters modeled their peers when eating nothing compared to something, regardless of the amount of candy (i.e., a modest or substantial).
Notably, this modeling pattern is in line with previous findings in normal-weight children who had a confederate physically present in the same room (the study of Bevelander et al. showed that normal-weight children ate similar amounts when a peer ate either a modest or substantial amount of food, whereas overweight children ate similar amounts when a peer ate nothing or a modest amount and increased their intake when a peer ate a substantial amount of food) [18]. It seems that the influence of a peer via social media might be similar to a real-life eating situation. Given that people increasingly engage in social interactions via the
Internet, it is relevant to examine the impact of peers on food intake via social media. It should be noted that a previous study in which female students were exposed to an eating remote (video) confederate did not find a modeling effect [50]. The authors suggested that the indication of how much the remote confederate consumed had no effect, because the consumption environment
(i.e., task and physical surrounding) differed between the confederate and participants. The current study provided addi- tional insight. Although the tasks were the same, the remote confederate was not in a similar surrounding as the participant.
This might indicate that social modeling could be affected by dissimilarity in people’s activities rather than the physical environment. It would be interesting to further investigate this by means of modeling studies in which people perform different tasks versus the same tasks in the same context, for example.
The moderating effects of self-esteem on social modeling behavior were also examined in the present study. In line with the hypothesis, youngsters with lower BE modeled a peer’s candy intake more than those with higher BE; that is, when the peer ate nothing compared to a substantial amount of food. Notably, this moderation effect was not found for ESE. The findings support previous research on the notion that BE as a domain-specific self- esteem might provide more insight into explaining specific behavioral patterns compared to ESE [27]. Thus, body confidence might be more relevant than the general sense of well-being with regard to adjusting to a peer’s food intake. The majority of youngsters appear preoccupied with a slim body image and are often conscious of their weight [51]. It is proposed that youngsters with lower BE are more insecure or experience distress about their body shape in an eating situation with an unknown peer than those with higher BE [52]. As young people often engage in social comparisons, those with lower BE might have followed the intake of a peer to avoid eating inappropriately compared to those with higher BE; especially, when the peer was eating nothing compared to a large amount of food (in youngsters who were satisfied or wanted to lose weight, this was also true for when the peer was eating nothing compared to a modest amount of food).
In contrast to BE and ESE, the findings on the role of ISE on social modeling may seem surprising. Youngsters with higher ISE modeled peer food intake more than those with lower ISE. As this
Figure 4. Interaction effect between experimental intake condition and discrepant self-esteem on social modeling of candy intake
(kcal).
Note:
The figure presents an interpretation of the interaction effect plotted with the unstandardized regression coefficients. There is a significant difference between the no- and high-, and low- and high-intake condition for youngsters with higher ISE than ESE. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072481.g004 Self-Esteem in Online Peer Influence on Eating
PLOS ONE | www.plosone.org 8 August 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 8 | e72481 was the first study examining the role of ISE on social modeling behavior, explanations are speculative. Implicit beliefs about the self are proposed to develop at an early age and become fairly stable over time, whereas ESE can fluctuate and, moreover, can differ from ISE [53]. Research on the role of ISE and the connectedness in people’s relationships propose that ISE is associated with the regulation of affiliation responses [54].
Furthermore, ISE is found to manifest in nonverbal behavior
(e.g. nodding head affirmatively when someone speaks, smile at someone) and may contribute to the regulation of people’s bonding and affiliation efforts, which might be similar to modeling each other’s behavior [17,55,56]. DeHart et al. [54] proposed that implicit self-esteem might function as an indicator of social acceptance. For example, when there is a need to affiliate, ISE is already activated before ESE [57]. In the current study, the youngsters had to engage in a social interaction with an unfamiliar peer, which might have activated their affiliation response. It is speculated that youngsters who possessed higher levels of ISE were more likely to automatically engage in nonverbal behaviors (e.g. modeling) than those with lower ISE. Following this tentative reasoning, ISE might regulate one’s capacity to perform nonverbal social behavior, so those with higher ISE match the food intake of their peers more often than youngsters with lower ISE.
An additional explanation for the findings on explicit and implicit self-esteem might be found in dual process models, which provide a framework for integrating both forms of self-esteem.
Previous research found that people suffering from personality or clinical disorders (e.g., narcissism [58], depression and loneliness
[59], bulimia nervosa [34]) possessed low ESE while at the same time displaying high ISE. It is suggested that people process information through two separate but possibly interacting systems: a slow conscious reflective mode of processing drawing on cognitive capacity and effortful retrieval of information and a fast automatic mode drawing on associative links in memory. In line with this, ESE is assumed to be a product of the reflective mode, whereas ISE is assumed to be rooted in the associative mode. The incongruity between the explicit reflective and implicit associative self-esteem-systems presents a way to distinguish between two types of self-esteem discrepancies: a combination of high ISE and low ESE (i.e. ‘‘damaged’’ self-esteem or ‘‘discrepant low’’) versus low ISE combined with high ESE (i.e., ‘‘fragile’’ self-esteem or
‘‘discrepant high’’) [33,58]. ISE is suggested to represent the ideal self, whereas ESE represents the real self. A discrepancy between
ISE and ESE could consequently lead to a disturbed feeling [35].
Damaged self-esteem may thus be seen as an indicator of psychological distress that can create uncertainty and lead to lower levels of mental health [36]. In this study, youngsters with damaged self-esteem (higher ISE than ESE) were found to follow the food intake of a peer more closely, while those with fragile self- esteem did not. As research on discrepant self-esteem, depression and loneliness suggested that ISE might be indicative of desired social relationships (whereas ESE represents actual social relation- ships) [59], it is possible that the youngsters engaged in social modeling behavior to fulfill their affiliation goals. As this is the first study to examine the role of implicit and explicit self-esteem on social modeling behavior of eating, more research is warranted to investigate the impact of self-esteem on people’s eating behavior in social contexts. Based on the current findings, it might be relevant to include implicit measures of self-esteem in conceptual models that aim to examine social modeling.
Several limitations associated with the current study are worth mentioning. First, the participant’s affiliation purposes were not measured during their social interaction. Although previous research supports the notion that people want to fulfill their affiliation goals through social modeling, the present study does not provide insight into whether the participants wanted to be liked by their peers. Future studies could code nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact or smiling in order to establish affiliation goals.
Second, the homogeneity of the study population can be seen as a limitation. In contrast to implicit self-esteem which stays fairly stable over time, research has shown that age has an effect on explicit self-esteem across the life span [60]. In general, self-esteem is highest during childhood but significantly declines from childhood (ages 9–12) to adolescence (ages 13–17) and continues to decline into the college period (ages 18–22). After this period, self-esteem rises throughout adulthood [60]. It would be interest- ing to conduct further research on the role of self-esteem in peer modeling among older study populations. In addition, this study consisted out of few overweight or obese youngsters. Future research should concentrate on this weight category as well.
Furthermore, this study only involved normal-weight confederates.
It would be interesting to investigate whether social modeling would be different within overweight/normal-weight or over- weight dyads due to possible different affiliation goals or social norms. Third, the children’s subjective hunger status was measured only after the social interaction to conceal the aim of the study. Another strategy might be to measure the children’s subjective hunger before the study or assess when (or how much) they ate (during) their last meal. Fourth, the remote peer was videotaped, so a real ongoing social interaction was not possible.
Qualitative impressions after watching the video recordings of the participants showed that they did not try to verbally contact the peer after a few minutes. Although this seemed to have no effect on modeling behavior, it would be interesting to test social modeling during a real ongoing chat session. Also, the confeder- ates were strangers. As people are more likely to chat with family and friends than with strangers and the influence of strangers on food intake has been shown to be less strong than the influence of familiar peers [61], future studies should investigate the impact of family and friends on food intake via social media interaction.
Finally, there is an ongoing debate about the validity of implicit measures to assess implicit self-attitudes. Implicit self-esteem is a complex construct, and different implicit measures may capture distinct aspects of ISE [62]. Therefore, future research is warranted to use multiple indirect measures when implicit self- attitudes are examined, for example, by assessing implicit body esteem. In conclusion, this study broadens the existing scope of normative influences on young people’s palatable food consump- tion. To date, we often engage in social contact by social media interactions. As this study found that youngsters even conform to their peer’s food intake via social media, online interactions should also be accounted for in research on the influence of the social environment on food intake or the development of intervention strategies. Given that body image is increasingly important in society, young people with lower body esteem may be more susceptible to peer influences on food intake. In addition, this study provided new insights into the role of self-esteem and people’s adjustment to their peers. Future modeling studies with real confederates should include self-esteem measures.

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Classical conditioning since Pavlov. Full Text Available Bitterman, M. E. ; Review of General Psychology, Vol 10(4), Dec, 2006. pp. 365-376. [Journal Article]
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Discussion: Pavlov's theory of conditioning. Full Text Available Guthrie, E. R. ; Psychological Review, Vol 41(2), Mar, 1934. pp. 199-206. [Comment/Reply]
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THREE VIEWS OF BEHAVIORISM. Full Text Available By: Moore, Jay. Psychological Record. Summer2013, Vol. 63 Issue 3, p681-691. 11p. DOI: 10.11133/j.tpr.2013.63.3.020.
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People are born with certain temperament traits. Some children are easy going and easy to get along with. Some are not. This article describes the temperament traits of the strong-willed child. The strong-willed is viewed as stubborn to parents and teachers. The child's goal is to always be in control of his own behaviors, regardless of the needs and feeling of people around him. The strong-willed child is resistant to change and has feelings of mistrust of others around him. His many temperament qualities that come across as negative to other people actually can be a catalyst to appropriate behaviors under the consistent care of parents and school teachers. This article describes the characteristics of the strong-willed child and also describes ways to control and guide the child's behaviors. Once viewed negative behaviors can become positive behaviors. Many a strong-willed child has become an important leader in society.| http://arkansasate.org/documents/Volume%203,%20Number%202%20Sept%202012.pdf Character trait: facing one’s fears.
Classroom teachers could use this book during a lesson of facing fears. Young children are often afraid of monsters in their closets and under their beds. This would allow students to see a humorous plot and an unexpected ending. An activity could be children drawing pictures of their fears, in addition to writing several sentences about their fears. The teacher could then assure the children that their fears will not come true. The Giving Tree, by Silverstien, is anoth
Conclusion
In conclusion, children’s literature books are a rich resource to instill character traits in young children. Children are influenced positively by animal books. In turn, they see modeling in books where the characters are adults or children. At the first and second grade level, children see these types of character education books as bigger than life stories. In the classroom, discussions and other extension activities reinforce the appropriate ways for children to act and react in positive ways. These books basically ascribe to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” cademics.nsuok.edu/Portals/6/Documents/Oklahoma -------------------------------------------------

Abstract:
This article examined the efficacy of a primary-level, standard-protocol behavior intervention for students with externalizing behavioral disorders. Elementary schools were randomly assigned to treatment (behavior intervention) or control (business as usual) conditions, and K-3 students were screened for externalizing behavior risk status. The final sample included 7 treatment schools (n = 44 students) and 6 control schools (n = 26 students). Results of multilevel models showed that students with externalizing behavior in the treatment schools had significantly lower levels of problem behavior than those in the control schools. A positive but statistically nonsignificant treatment trend was observed for increased on-task behavior. No effects were observed for academic skills. The positive effects of the behavior intervention were smaller in schools serving higher proportions of students with low socioeconomic status and for students who had higher baseline levels of externalizing behavior. The discussion includes the results, practical imp

This article examined the efficacy of a primary-level, standard-protocol behavior intervention for students with externalizing behavioral disorders. Elementary schools were randomly assigned to treatment (behavior intervention) or control (business as usual) conditions, and K-3 students were screened for externalizing behavior risk status. The final sample included 7 treatment schools (n = 44 students) and 6 control schools (n = 26 students). Results of multilevel models showed that students with externalizing behavior in the treatment schools had significantly lower levels of problem behavior than those in the control schools. A positive but statistically nonsignificant treatment trend was observed for increased on-task behavior. No effects were observed for academic skills. The positive effects of the behavior intervention were smaller in schools serving higher proportions of students with low socioeconomic status and for students who had higher baseline levels of externalizing behavior. The discussion includes the results, practical importance, and limitations. (Contains 4 tables and 2 figures.)

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DOI:
10.1348/135910708X389042

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y: Mark E. Bouton
Department of Psychology, University of Vermont
Acknowledgement: Preparation of this article was supported by National Science Foundation Grant IBN 9727992. I thank Peter Lovibond and Laura Solomon for their comments on the article.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Mark E. Bouton, Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405 Electronic Mail may be sent to: mbouton@zoo.uvm.edu.
Each of the articles collected in this special supplement is concerned with the maintenance of behavior change after a different cardiovascular risk behavior has been reduced. By putting obesity, smoking, diet, and exercise together here, the hope is to begin to discover some of the common principles that apply to them (e.g., Brownell, Marlatt, Lichtenstein, & Wilson, 1986). A search for common principles comes naturally to the learning theorist. Since roughly Pavlov's and Thorndike's time, learning experiments have been used as a method for discovering some of the principles operating at just such a general, abstract level. I believe the search has been rewarded (e.g., see O'Donohue, 1998). In this article I briefly review some basic learning research that has been directed at understanding extinction and counterconditioning, two of the most fundamental of all behavior change effects. The findings may provide a framework that helps conceptualize some of the common principles behind lapse, relapse, and the maintenance of behavior change.
In the laboratory, extinction and counterconditioning can be studied in either Pavlovian or operant conditioning. In Pavlovian learning (classical conditioning) participants learn about relations between signals and significant events, whereas in operant conditioning participants learn about relations between their behavior and those significant events. These two forms of learning are highly similar (e.g., Dickinson, 1980; Mackintosh, 1983; Rescorla, 1987), and although much of what I describe here comes from Pavlovian methods, similar principles apply in the operant case (e.g., Bouton & Swartzentruber, 1991). In classical conditioning, extinction is the reduction in performance that occurs when a signal (like a tone) that has been associated with some significant event (such as food, shock, or a drug) is then presented repeatedly on its own. The behavior change here, of course, is that the behavior goes away. In counterconditioning, a signal that was originally associated with one event (e.g., shock) is later associated with a different event (e.g., food). An operant analogue might be acquiring a new coping skill to replace a harmful risk behavior in the presence of certain stimuli. The result, again, is behavior change; in this case, the first performance goes away, but a new performance also replaces it. Extinction and counterconditioning are probably ubiquitous, and they are probably both involved in almost any method used to change risk behavior. As I show here, they also involve similar learning principles.
A fair amount of research has studied these effects, especially extinction. However, a theme that did not actually emerge in any significant way until the 1980s and 1990s is that neither really involves destruction of the original learning. The idea that extinction or counterconditioning destroys the original learning seems to make intuitive sense; moreover, some powerful models of conditioning have assumed it (e.g., Rescorla & Wagner, 1972). However, there is now ample evidence that the original learning is not destroyed; it might even survive largely intact (Rescorla, 1993, 1996). In the Pavlovian conditioning situation, the signal winds up with two available “meanings.” It is ambiguous, and like an ambiguous word, its current meaning—or the behavior it currently evokes—is determined by the current context (e.g., Bouton, 1994b). Instability, lapse, and relapse are to be expected from a modern understanding of behavior change. 1
Lapse and Relapse in the Laboratory
Elsewhere I have reviewed several effects that suggest that extinction is not unlearning (e.g., Bouton, 1988, 1991, 1993; Bouton & Nelson, 1998; Bouton & Swartzentruber, 1991). In each, some manipulation causes a substantial return of the original behavior after extinction has occurred. Each phenomenon is a potential mechanism of lapse and relapse, and each can be seen as a context effect.
One of the most fundamental recovery effects is a phenomenon known as renewal (e.g., see Bouton, 1993). In the simplest possible example, conditioning (e.g., tone-footshock or tone-food pairings) occurs in just one context, Context A, and then extinction (tone presentations alone) is conducted in a second context, Context B. (In the animal laboratory, contexts are usually operationally defined as the box or apparatus in which the conditioning events are presented, which often differ in their visual, olfactory, spatial, and tactile properties.) Interestingly, the context switch from A to B often causes no decrement in the behavior evoked by the tone; conditioning generalizes remarkably well across contexts. However, even after fairly extensive tone-alone training, which completely eliminates all measurable responding, simple presentation of the signal again in the original context leads to a robust recovery (“renewal”) of the original performance (e.g., Bouton & King, 1983; Bouton & Peck, 1989). Further, although the renewal effect has usually been studied when conditioning, extinction, and testing occur in Contexts A, B, and A, it also occurs when the contexts are A, B, and C (e.g., Bouton & Bolles, 1979; Bouton & Brooks, 1993; see also Gunther, Denniston, & Miller, 1998) or even A, A, and then B ( Bouton & Ricker, 1994). Extinction performance thus depends on testing in the context in which extinction was learned. In another context, the original performance can return.
The renewal effect is a very general and reproducible result. It occurs in every conditioning method we have examined in my laboratory, including aversive conditioning, in which the tone is associated with footshock (e.g., Bouton & King, 1983); appetitive conditioning, in which the tone is associated with food (e.g., Bouton & Peck, 1989; Brooks & Bouton, 1994); and taste aversion learning, in which a flavor is associated with illness (e.g., Rosas & Bouton, 1998). It also occurs with several different kinds of contexts. For example, we found that when fear extinction was conducted in the internal (“interoceptive”) context provided by a benzodiazepine tranquilizer, fear was renewed when the rat was tested in the absence of the drug ( Bouton, Kenney, & Rosengard, 1990). Although physical contexts have been studied most often, the literature on both human participants and animal subjects suggests that a variety of different types of stimuli or events can play the role of context ( Table 1). It may not be farfetched to think that renewal can be created by any of them. Thus, the reformed smoker who once habitually smoked in a particular setting at work, under the influence of a particular drug or alcohol, or in the presence of negative affect will be ready to lapse when cigarettes are made available in one of these contexts again. We now think of extinction as inherently context specific, with the term contextbeing broadly defined.

Examples of Contextual Stimuli Studied in Animal and Human Laboratories
A somewhat different phenomenon is reinstatement. In this effect, the participant receives a few “free,” or noncontingent, exposures to the significant event (e.g., food pellets in appetitive conditioning or shocks in fear conditioning) after extinction has occurred (e.g., Rescorla & Heth, 1975). In Pavlovian conditioning, if the signal is then presented again in the same physical context, responding to it returns (e.g., Bouton, 1984; Bouton & King, 1983). The effect is controlled by conditioning of the context. Casually speaking, when the significant event is presented after extinction, it is associated with the contextual cues that are present. That association causes the context to arouse an expectation of the event, which then triggers extinguished responding when the signal is presented there again. Reinstatement has been shown in a number of settings, including both Pavlovian fear and appetitive conditioning (e.g., Bouton & King, 1983; Bouton & Peck, 1989) and operant conditioning (in which noncontingent reinforcers also cause recovery of extinguished responding, e.g., Baker, Steinwald, & Bouton, 1991). It is another indication that extinction is not unlearning, and that performance after extinction can be powerfully influenced by what the animal has learned about the background. The mere expectation of the original reward in a given setting can excite behavior there again.
The third effect, spontaneous recovery, has been known since Pavlov's time. In this case, the extinguished response recovers when time elapses after extinction. This effect, once again, appears to be quite general. It has been shown in nearly every example of conditioning (e.g., Bouton, 1993). Although learning theorists ignored its explanation for awhile, I believe it is useful and accurate to think of it as another context effect. The passage of time naturally creates various changes in the background context (e.g., Estes, 1955; Spear, 1978). Spontaneous recovery can thus be seen as the renewal effect that happens when the extinguished signal is presented in a new temporal context (cf. Devenport, Hill, Wilson, & Ogden, 1997; Robbins, 1990).
Although these three phenomena have been studied most extensively after extinction, each also occurs after counterconditioning. For example, the renewal effect has been observed when tone-shock pairings occur in Context A, tone-food pairings occur in Context B, and then the tone is presented back in Context A ( Peck & Bouton, 1990). Even though fear responding had been eliminated and replaced by food responding by the end of the second phase, it returned again when the tone was returned to the original context. A similar renewal of first performance occurs when tone-food pairings are followed by tone-shock. Reinstatement, in turn, has been observed when the rat is given a few noncontingent shocks after tone-food pairings have replaced tone-shock pairings ( Brooks, Hale, Nelson, & Bouton, 1995). Consistent with extinction research, the free shocks had to be presented in the context in which testing occurred; a new background expectancy of shock once again caused return of the response. Spontaneous recovery of the first response also occurs when time elapses either after tone-shock and then tone-food or tone-food and then tone-shock training ( Bouton & Peck, 1992). Related effects are also known to occur in the extinction and counterconditioning of operant learning (e.g., see Bouton & Swartzentruber, 1991; Rescorla, 1991, 1993). Time and context seem almost universally important in “interference paradigms,” in which conflicting information is learned at separate points of time ( Bouton, 1993). Thus, in almost every example of behavior change studied in the laboratory, behavior change results in a new performance that seems highly dependent on the current context. It may not be unreasonable to suppose that the same may be true when we change a belief, attitude, schema, or emotion.
Lapses Leading to Relapse
After behavior change, the reformed smoker, overeater, or couch potato might thus lapse when he or she encounters a conditioned stimulus (CS) in a different context. The basis of the original risk behavior has not been destroyed. It is worth noting, however, that lapses in the world at large do not merely lead to a recovered response; they also open the door to a resumption of the original CS–unconditioned stimulus (US) pairings. Once the smoker takes another cigarette or the overeater eats a forbidden food, the extinguished cues are paired with the reinforcer again. The recovery initiated by renewal, reinstatement, or spontaneous recovery thus ultimately exposes the participant to the original conditioning contingency again.
In this light, we need to consider reacquisition, the return of responding that occurs when CS–US pairings are resumed after extinction (or counterconditioning). (In operant conditioning, response-reinforcer pairings are simply reintroduced.) There is a widespread belief that extinguished responding returns very rapidly when conditioning trials are resumed this way, suggesting the danger of lapse quickly leading to relapse. The belief is certainly consistent with the conclusion, suggested previously, that extinction does not produce unlearning; some aspect of the original learning is saved and produces positive transfer with relearning (e.g., Kehoe & Macrae, 1997). However, this turns out to be an oversimplification. Many early reports that demonstrated the sudden return of responding when CS–US pairings resumed had simply confused rapid relearning caused by resumed CS–US pairing with spontaneous recovery caused by a delay between extinction and testing, renewal effects caused by reintroduction of the context provided by the reinforcer, etc. The distinction is subtle. However, in fear conditioning and taste aversion learning, the reacquisition that occurs with resumed CS–US pairings can actually be slower than original learning ( Bouton, 1986; Bouton & Swartzentruber, 1989; Calton, Mitchell, & Schachtman, 1996; Hart, Bourne, & Schachtman, 1995). Thus, somewhat surprisingly, reexposure to the original contingency does not inevitably lead to relapse. In fact, in fear conditioning, either slow or rapid-looking reacquisition can be cued by the appropriate context ( Bouton & Swartzentruber, 1989). That is, after extensive extinction, slow reacquisition was produced when CS–US pairings were resumed in the context that otherwise retrieved extinction. However, when the rats were returned to the original conditioning context or reconditioning was run in a third context, renewed responding occurred. The pattern fits the idea that an extinguished CS is ambiguous, with two available “meanings,” either of which can be cued by the right context, exactly like an ambiguous word.
Studies of fear conditioning and taste aversion learning, in which reacquisition can be slow, usually entail only a few initial conditioning trials (e.g., eight or one, respectively), because the original learning in those methods can occur very quickly. The slow reacquisition that occurs in these methods also primarily occurs after a relatively extensive number of extinction trials. Later work with eyeblink conditioning in rabbits showed that reacquisition was rapid in that method, even when factors like spontaneous recovery and renewal were ruled out ( Napier, Macrae, & Kehoe, 1992). Unlike fear conditioning and taste aversion learning, eyeblink conditioning usually involves a large number of initial acquisition trials (e.g., 180 in Napier et al.'s 1992 experiments). This variable may explain the difference. Subsequent work in yet another method (appetitive conditioning) revealed that after a large number of initial conditioning trials, a resumed CS–US pairing provides a new sort of contextual cue that signals or retrieves another CS–US pairing ( Ricker & Bouton, 1996). Fewer initial conditioning trials did not allow this connection to be learned. Thus, another principle is important: Recent previous trials are part of the context that influences performance on the next trial (see also Capaldi, 1994).
The point is relevant to our understanding of relapse to cardiovascular risk behaviors, because such behaviors (smoking, overeating, lack of exercise, choice of bad diet) are presumably the result of a very large number of original conditioning trials. In a year, the two-pack-a-day smoker smokes more than 14,000 cigarettes, many presumably in rapid succession. Thus, smoking and other risk behaviors may develop in a way that provides ample opportunity for reinforced trials to become part of the context associated with further reinforced trials. In this manner, the initial lapse produced by renewal or spontaneous recovery will introduce additional contextual cues that further trap the smoker into smoking again. One begins to envision an expanding renewal effect that is created by an ever-expanding set of contextual cues. In this way, a slip or lapse may spiral into relapse.
This sort of analysis can have interesting implications. If recent cigarettes are part of the context that supports continued smoking, then effective treatments for preventing relapse should try to extinguish the connection between smoking a few cigarettes and then smoking many more of them. I am not aware of any laboratory experiments that have tested this, but an extinction procedure that actually involves infrequent reinforced trials among many nonreinforced trials might be an especially effective way to defeat this mechanism of relapse. Because those trials would initially reintroduce a contextual cue connected with smoking, they might slow down behavior change in the short run. However, in the long run, because they would allow more effective extinction of some of the cues stimulating relapse, controlled exposures to occasional lapses could theoretically facilitate a more permanent change in behavior (e.g., Brownell et al., 1986; Marlatt, 1983).
How Can We Extend Behavior Change Beyond the Extinction or Counterconditioning Context?
As I mentioned earlier, behavior change can be thought of as creating a kind of ambiguity. The original learning is not erased but is still available. In extinction and counterconditioning, the signal acquires a second meaning, and the context selects between the two. Given this, one strategy is to identify the contextual conditions associated with the original learning that might retrieve the original behavior (and initiate relapse) if they were encountered again. The client can be taught to avoid those contexts, and behavior change methods could be conducted directly in them.
My colleagues and I have tried to refine and extend the ambiguity idea a little further (e.g., Bouton & Nelson, 1994; Bouton & Nelson, 1998). As we surveyed the database, one persistent effect loomed as important. Although context switches after behavior change routinely produce a loss of the new performance, the same sort of context switch after simple conditioning has relatively little impact. Contexts seem to be especially important in controlling the second “thing” learned about the signal (e.g., Nelson, 1997). Thus, although a return to original contexts will lead to relapse after behavior change, we must recognize the crucial role played by the therapy context itself. After extinction, the original behavior is “on” unless the extinction context switches it off. Recovery effects, like renewal and spontaneous recovery, result at least in part from a failure to retrieve the second thing learned about the stimulus outside the context in which it was learned.
One implication is that lapse and relapse will be less likely when we create conditions that promote retrieval of the second thing learned. Retrieval cues can be helpful; spontaneous recovery and renewal after extinction are strongly reduced when a cue that was present during extinction is presented again just before the recovery test (Brooks & Bouton, 1993, 1994). Our retrieval cues probably worked because they were recognized as a feature of the extinction context and thus retrieved extinction more or less directly ( Brooks, 1995). Essentially, they brought the extinction context into a new context. It is worth noting that spontaneous recovery and reinstatement have also been reduced by other events (an extinction trial with a different CS; Rescorla & Cunningham, 1977, 1978) that might remind the participant of extinction. The findings begin to suggest that building retrieval cues or retrieval opportunities into the period after therapy—perhaps through reminder cards or reminder telephone calls from the therapist ( Hiss, Foa, & Kozak, 1994; Perri, Shapiro, Ludwig, Twentyman, & McAdoo, 1984)—will help prevent relapse and extend behavior change.
Another approach is to find methods that will make behavior change generalize beyond the immediate context. To understand such generalization, it is useful to think of contexts as collections of a large number of cues, some of which may be unique and some of which may be shared with other contexts. Seen this way, the trick would be to conduct extinction in a way that connects it with a large number of shared cues. One promising possibility is to conduct therapy in several different contexts. Theoretically, this would increase the overall number of contextual cues connected with extinction, thereby increasing the odds that any new context will contain some features that have been connected with extinction. Extinction in multiple contexts might increase the generalizability of extinction.
This sort of principle is known to work in human memory, in which the presentation of to-be-remembered information in multiple contexts can aid memory for it in a new one (e.g., Smith, 1982). Gunther et al. (1998) also confirmed the idea in fear extinction. Rats received fear conditioning in one context (A), and then extinction was conducted in three separate contexts: B, C, and D. (Controls received the same number of extinction trials in only one of these contexts.) When the fear signal was finally tested in Context E, considerably less renewal of fear was observed in animals that had received extinction in the multiple contexts. However, some renewal was apparently still observed. Moreover, the authors also found that conditioning in multiple contexts increased the strength of the renewal effect in Context E, even after extinction was also conducted in multiple contexts. Thus, there is a kind of balance between the cross-context generalization of conditioning on the one hand and extinction on the other. If cardiovascular risk behaviors are originally learned in multiple contexts, it may thus be necessary to effect behavior change in a large number of contexts to counteract potential renewal effects.
Given our emphasis on the idea that the passage of time also provides a fluctuating context (see also Estes, 1955), we might suppose that extinction in multiple temporal contexts would provide a similar hedge against spontaneous recovery. That is, extinction trials distributed rather widely over time (and thus conducted in multiple temporal contexts) might be more effective at protecting against spontaneous recovery later. Once again, there is a literature in human memory for verbal material that is consistent with this possibility; items learned over multiple lags seem to be remembered better after even longer lags (e.g., Glenberg, 1976). Unfortunately, what is currently known about the effects of spacing extinction trials in time on spontaneous recovery is somewhat difficult to evaluate (e.g., Birch, 1965; Martasian, Smith, Neill, & Reig, 1992).
A related question is whether extinction in multiple contexts of one type would help prevent renewal when another type of context is changed. For example, would extinction in multiple physical contexts reduce spontaneous recovery caused by the passage of time? Would extinction in multiple temporal contexts reduce renewal caused by physical context change? Although we know that time and physical context change can combine and operate together in a way that suggests they are fundamentally similar (e.g., Rosas & Bouton, 1998), we do not know the answer to this question. We have had occasion to observe that physical contexts are themselves embedded in the context provided by the passage of time ( Bouton, Nelson, & Rosas, 1999). In this sense, they are not entirely interchangeable. Such a possibility might imply little transfer from one type of context to another. Instead, a hedge against the future effects of both temporal and physical context change might require extinction in multiple contexts of both type. These ideas must await further tests.
In contrast, at least one perspective predicts cross-context transfer effects ( Lang, Craske, & Bjork, 1999; see also Bjork & Bjork, 1992). In an approach quite compatible with the one developed here, Lang et al. argued that if therapeutic treatment fundamentally introduces new learning, we must discover ways to optimize it. Lang et al. emphasized the value of using multiple contexts, given reasons similar to those mentioned previously. However, they also noted that switching from any context to another during treatment introduces difficult retrievals while the new learning is occurring. On their view, difficult retrievals tend to increase learning and storage and thus become “valuable learning tools.” This is a second reason why context switches used during training might facilitate the durability of behavior change. From this view, then, behavior change over different contexts, no matter what they actually are, might have positive long-term influences on behavior change.
To summarize, theories now suggest the importance of context and retrieval factors in promoting behavior maintenance. Situating behavior change in the appropriate context and otherwise presenting helpful retrieval cues after treatment can reduce the likelihood of lapse and relapse. In addition, variation of the context (e.g., setting, spacing) during behavior change may also prevent various forms of lapse and relapse. A clear understanding of how the latter factors might operate and interact will require some new research.
The Value of Prevention
Another point is worth emphasizing here. Although we may ultimately uncover ways of making behavior change generalize better across contexts, the current emphasis on the fact that behavior change is not actually unlearning suggests more cost-effective ways to go. As mentioned, much of our work suggests that first-learned things seem much more likely to generalize over place and time. One implication is that if we truly want to reduce cardiovascular risk, we should arrange a world in which healthy behaviors are the first things, not the second things, learned.
One way of thinking about the research on behavior change is that the organism seems to treat the second thing learned about a stimulus as a kind of exception to a rule. It is as if the learning and memory system is organized with a default assumption that the first-learned thing is correct, and everything else is conditional on the current context, place, or time. There may be good functional reasons for the system to be organized this way (e.g., Bouton, 1994a). However, because of it, the goal of truly permanent behavior change may be difficult to achieve. The most efficient long-term way to decrease cardiovascular risk behaviors may be to create a society in which positive behaviors are truly the first thing learned. This utopian dream, occasionally recognized in psychology, appears to have some support from the learning laboratory.
Summary and Conclusion
Basic laboratory research addresses issues that speak to relapse and behavioral maintenance after behavior change. Broadly, it suggests that changed behavior is dependent on the current context and is therefore to some extent inherently unstable. Lapse and relapse may be most likely to occur when the context fails to retrieve extinction or counterconditioning, or perhaps directly retrieves the original learning.
Given this perspective, a realistic approach to modifying cardiovascular risk behavior would start by remembering that behavior change is not unlearning. The successful client learns something new but does not necessarily erase the old. This, coupled with the fact that the new learning may be more context dependent, makes lapses seem inevitable and understandable. Behavior change methods should, therefore, recognize the possible influence of contextual cues, identify the cues that might be involved, and help the client avoid the contexts that were connected with the original risk behavior, whether they are places, friends, or a negative affect. Otherwise, the new learning should be situated in the contexts in which the client will need it most. One idea is that, for clients whose risk behaviors have occurred over many trials, lapses may themselves introduce contextual cues that further increase the risk of relapse. Behavior change may, therefore, be conducted in the presence of this kind of cue. Beyond this, successful behavior maintenance may depend on finding ways of increasing the generalization between the new learning context and future contexts. In principle, such generalization may be facilitated by introducing retrieval cues for therapy (e.g., reminder cards), by promoting retrieval skills or strategies (“here are some things to remember about your therapy when you feel a lapse or a relapse about to occur”), or by conducting the therapy itself in a variety of contexts. However, generalizability of the new learning may often be difficult because the new learning often seems to generalize less across contexts than the original learning. This imbalance may be further exacerbated if the original risk behavior was itself learned in multiple contexts ( Gunther et al., 1998).
At this point in time, we are beginning to achieve a reasonably good understanding of some of the potential behavioral mechanisms of lapse and relapse. On the other hand, we have less knowledge about methods that might work to improve behavioral maintenance. There are good theoretical leads, however. Although more basic empirical work is needed, a perspective grounded in learning theory will continue to provide a strong framework for conceptualizing the common dimensions of lapse, relapse, and the long-term maintenance of behavior change.
Footnotes
1 It is worth noting that the learning principles involved in eliminating any cardiovascular risk behavior are undoubtedly multiple and complex. The point of this article is to describe what is known about relatively simple instances of behavior change in the hope that they reveal general principles that still apply.

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