Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

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Category: Publications

A Programing Contingency Analysis of Mental Health

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A Programing Contingency Analysis of Mental Health presents Dr. Israel Goldiamond’s reflections on various ways we formulate behavioral and emotional problems, most often in traditional terms of mental health disorders, mental diseases or illnesses, psychopathological disorders, and so on – what he calls a pathological orientation. Here, Goldiamond argues for a groundbreaking alternative view from the vantage point of radical behaviorism.


The book begins by discussing contingency relations between behavior and its past and present consequences, along with other environmental events. It reminds us that this approach sits comfortably alongside other consequential systems in the social and biological sciences, particularly, decision theory and evolution. This behaviorist system regards most important human behaviors as being emitted rather than stimulus-elicited. Described are some of the diverse origins of behavior, including the effects of environmental consequences and the programing procedures of social and cultural inheritance. The exposition includes decision matrices which rationalize some of the programmed patterns and the accompanying thoughts and emotions commonly found in mental illness. As a result of this nonlinear contingency analysis such patterns may be considered adaptive rather than maladaptive. Programs based on those matrices are described which might be applied to mitigate any problems or costs associated with those patterns. The book concludes by moving from individual analysis to social analysis, with particular reference to some societal contingencies that may maintain the pathological orientation, and others that might shift our gaze in the direction proposed here.


Alongside Dr Goldiamond’s original work, this edition features a new introduction from Dr. Paul Thomas Andronis and Dr. T. V. Joe Layng, as well as an article tracing history of the non-linear thinking of Dr Goldiamond, first published in The Behavior Analyst. It will be a must read for anyone working in the analysis and clinical intervention in problems associated with mental health, or those more generally interested in the work of Israel Goldiamond.


Table of Contents:
I. Introduction
II. The Analytic System to be used
i. Confusions between formulations
ii. Reactive and consequential relations
iii. Traditional and radical behaviorism
iv. Operationism and inner events
v. Other consequential systems
vi. Programing and paradigms
III. The Origins of Behavior Patterns
i. Sources
ii. Cultural inheritance
ii. Programing disturbing and undisturbing contingencies
IV. Societal Contingencies of the Pathology Model
i. The individual social selection parallel
ii. Contingencies of pathological ideology and alternatives


Israel Goldiamond, a pioneer in the field of behavioral psychology, was a professor in psychiatry, behavior sciences (biopsychology), medicine (committee on nutrition and nutritional biology), and director of the behavior analysis research laboratory at the University of Chicago. Goldiamond was a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Association, and he served as Association for Behavior Analysis: International president, from 1977 to 1978.


Author: Goldiamond, I


ISBN: 9781032196220

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