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 #74
Reflexions on Perception: Three Naturalistic Approaches
Saturday, May 26, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
605 (Convention Center)
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Maria Isabel Munoz Blanco (University of Nevada)
Discussant: Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)

Perception is perhaps one of the most eluded topics in our science do its subtlety. In psychology, very few explanations have been provided where no internal processes are used; making perception an impossible subject of study from a naturalistic point of view. Nevertheless, perception seems to occur prior any organismic interaction with the environment, and it seems paradoxical that the study of this behavior has been avoided on our field. Some authors have theorized on how perception can be the subject matter of a naturalistic science without violating its basic principles. In this symposium three different perspectives will be presented based on the theories developed by Dewey, Gibson and Kantor, hoping to bring the importance of the study of this behavior to the table. It would be examined how although perception is subtle, it does not make it internal or inaccessible for empirical research, moreover it would be suggested how empirical research can be performed and interpreted from these three angles.

Keyword(s): Dewey, Gibson, Kantor, Perception

Why We Shouldn't Get Rid of Perception: A Deweyan Argument

ANDRES H. GARCIA-PENAGOS (West Virginia University)

In 1930, psychologist, philosopher and educator John Dewey wrote a relatively unknown chapter entitled Conduct and Experience where he purported to revise the meaning of both concepts as central to what at his time were the two main psychologies, behaviorism and introspectionism. In his revision he proposed a sort of middle ground by emphasizing that sensation, memory, and perception could be better understood as modes of behavior, in a manner not unlike that used by Skinner some decades later, and even closer to that of more recent molar approaches to the study of behavior. Despite these attempts at reconciliation, current psychologies including -behavior analysis- can still be seen as perpetuating this dichotomous separation of the subject matter of psychology. This presentation will introduce the main arguments developed by Dewey, and analyze them in the light of recent perspectives on the relation between perception and action, so as to argue about the importance of understanding perception to obtain a more complete picture of behavior, in wholly empirical, non-mentalistic terms.


Perception, Attention and Substitution

MARIA ISABEL MUNOZ BLANCO (University of Nevada), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)

The study of perception has been controversial in the history of science (Kantor, 1966, 1969). It is a subtle phenomenon that has encouraged philosophers and psychologists to create different theories to explain it. J. R. Kantor makes an analysis of perception and attention from a naturalistic perspective, where stimuli and stimulus functions become fundamental to its understanding. The present work aims to provide an introduction to attentional and perceptual systems from a Kantorian perspective, and to examine how substitution of functions may be considered at a perceptual level. This review of perceptual substitution aims to open the discussion about non-linguistic perceptual substitution of words. Words are commonly used in the study of verbal and other complex human behaviors but little has been said about their perceptual functions that may be hindering the development of certain relations, not considered by the experimenter. Finally, it is suggested how the understanding of perceptual functions and substitution would allow us to orient to the study of subtle behaviors such as slips of the tongue, reminiscing, etc. from a naturalistic perspective.


Affordance Perception: A Comparative Analysis

FELIPE CABRERA (Universidad de Guadalajara)

The organism-environment relationship is a fundamental unit of analysis for any behavioral description in psychology. Such a relationship has been described as reciprocal by the ecological approach to perception (Gibson, 1979), and entailed the concept of affordance; that is, what the environment provides as a reliable support for a particular behavior to an organism. Although compatible with a behaviorist viewpoint, affordance perception has not been considered into the analysis of behavior domain. This presentation proposes a comparative analysis of affordance perception employing the intrinsic metric analysis (Warren, 1984) in order to facilitate generalization between the experimental analyses of behaviors findings and the perception-action approach. Our results and discussion suggested that the concept of affordance perception is valuable to account for the operant-level performance in typical operant procedures.




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