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.

David Palmer

Palmer David

Smith College


David C. Palmer completed his Ph.D. in 1988 at the University of Massachusetts, on the blocking of conditioned reinforcement. Since 1989, he has been teaching courses on behavioral psychology and statistics at Smith College, where he is currently a Senior Lecturer. Both his teaching and research reflect his ardent advocacy of the behaviorism of B. F. Skinner. His important and frequently cited paper in American Psychologist (1992), co-authored with John Donahoe, explains the advantages of a selectionist approach to the study of complex behavior and the shortcomings of the essentialist approach typically adopted in cognitive science. In about 50 journal articles, book chapters, reviews, and commentaries, Dr. Palmer has offered a far-reaching conceptual analysis of language and cognition from the standpoint of modern behaviorism, and has addressed fundamental issues such as the unit of analysis, response class, and private events. His critiques of other researchers’ structural views of language, and his own tutorial articles, have advanced the analysis of verbal behavior. His textbook co-authored with Donahoe, Learning and Complex Behavior (1994, 2010) integrates behavior analytic and biological approaches to the study of behavior and is still regarded as being at the cutting edge of our basic understanding of behavior. In addition to his articles, critiques, and commentaries, Dr.  Palmer has been an energetic contributor to ABAI meetings and other symposia, and has deservedly earned a reputation for being a superb spokesperson for behavior analysis. 



Modifed by Eddie Soh