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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #244
Personality Is Composed of Behaviors That Have Been Learned
Sunday, May 27, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
610 (Convention Center)
Area: TPC/CBM; Domain: Theory
Chair: Donald K. Pumroy (University of Maryland)
Discussant: W. Joseph Wyatt (Marshall University)

It seems reasonable to assume that children learn behaviors which determine their future personality. These behaviors are most likely to be learned from the child's parents. Parents frequently are not aware they are teaching or what is being taught. But research along this line is not being conducted; parents in our culture are reluctant to participate in such research. Dr. Roger McIntire was involved in a situationthat illustrates this observation. He suggested that parents obtain a license in order to have children. The response to his suggestion was rapid and emotional. He will discuss the event. Dr. Blumenthal has analyzed many college students and will speak on how students learned to attend college. Dr. Pumroy will discuss Eric Harris, one of the high school students involved in the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado and how he learned to do what he did.

Keyword(s): Family, Learned Behavior, Personality, School

Analysis of Students' Perception of How They Learn

JUDY G. BLUMENTHAL (Association for Behavior Change)

How student learn to attend college, attend class, study and exhibit other appropriate and successful academic behaviors varies according to students' perceptions of themselves. Discussions on learned family values appears clear to many students, but how they learn to pursue an education and display behaviors that reap tangible academic and career benefits is unknown or confusing to many of the same students. This awareness identifies the needs for students to understand how they learned to behave the way they currently do regarding academic objectives. Once students learn how they established and developed their repertoire of behaviors, the students can learn how to change the antecedents to increase, maintain, or decrease the current behaviors to display more effective behaviors that will increase the chance of more successful academic and career reinforces.


What is Not an Acceptable Science of Child Rearing?

ROGER W. MCINTIRE (University of Maryland)

The requirement of a license to drive does not seem objectionable, there are rules that work and they are for other's safety as well as our own. The suggestion for a license to parent seems objectionable, because no rules seem always useful and correct, another's safety isn't involved, and a personal right may be violated. As with driving, a training course and test would not guarantee performance. And our safety is threatened in both cases. In 1970, my article in Psychology Today illustrated how a community course and testing might work. It also described how a long-term contraceptive, reversible by a second prescription, might, one day, be used in child rearing. Although it was somewhat a science fictions, the responses were more numerous (and 80 percent negative) than any other article in the magazine, ever. A description of the article, a review of the responses, and interpretation will be included.

Parents Teach Their Children How to Think and Behave
DONALD K. PUMROY (University of Maryland)
Abstract: A key question for psychology is "why do people behave as they do?" As behaviorists we know that much behavior is learned. For children much of that learning takes place when the child interacts with and/or observes his or her parents' behavior. The parent may model the behavior that the child learns, or the parent may reinforce, punish or ignore the child's behavior. With repetition of the parents' behaviors the child personality is developed; not that the child may not know how that he has learned those behaviors from his parents. How do we study this line of thinking? There is some information that is available from the mass media that gives hinds about how some children were raised. Such analysis will be done with Eric Harris, the shooter from Columbine High School. The difficulty of such research will be discussed.



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