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 #214
CE Offered: BACB
An Introduction to Interbehaviorism and Interbehavioral Psychology
Sunday, May 27, 2012
2:00 PM–3:20 PM
610 (Convention Center)
Area: TPC/PRA; Domain: Theory
Chair: Mitch Fryling (California State University, Los Angeles)
Discussant: Hayne W. Reese (West Virginia University)
CE Instructor: Sarah M. Richling, M.S.
Abstract: J. R Kantor’s Interbehavioral Psychology and his philosophy of Interbehaviorism are little known by many behavior analysts. When known, Kantor’s Interbehavioral Psychology and his philosophy of Interbehaviorism tend to be misunderstood as incompatible with Skinner’s Behavior Analysis and his philosophy of Radical Behaviorism. This is an unfortunate circumstance given how much Kantor’s perspective has to contribute to the science of behavior and its philosophical foundations. The aim of this symposium, therefore, is to provide an introduction to Kantor’s formulation and elaborate upon some of the most distinctive aspects of Interbehaviorism. The first presentation will offer an overview of the philosophy of Interbehavioral Psychology and discuss several key areas of differentiation from Skinner’s philosophy of Radical Behaviorism. The second presentation will provide an outline of the investigative and interpretive sub-systems of Interbehavioral Psychology. The final presentation will discuss the applied sub-system of Interbehavioral Psychology and particularly emphasize the value of application in interbehavioral psychology.
Keyword(s): Interbehaviorism, Kantor, Philosophy, System Building
MOLLI LUKE (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Historically, philosophical systems, especially within psychology, have not been based upon objective systematizing. Instead they have been ontologically oriented, searching for absolutes and focused on systematizing an omnipotent power. According to Kantor (1953), science requires systems that organize and articulate data and operations based upon natural events as opposed to autistic constructions. Philosophy and the logic of science, when systematized based upon natural events, can guide scientists in development of hypotheses and systematic investigation of findings. One philosophy that does just this is Kantor’s Interbehaviorism (Kantor, 1958). Kantor’s Interbehaviorism shares many basic assumptions with that of Radical Behaviorism (Hayes, Adams & Dixon, 1998), yet few Radical Behaviorists know of or understand the philosophy of Interbehavioral Psychology. This presentation will give an overview of the philosophy of Interbehavioral Psychology, a few areas of similarity and differences from other behavioral philosophies, along with implications for this philosophy in the science of psychology.

Interbehavioral Psychology: The Investigative and Interpretative Subsystem

SARAH M. RICHLING (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)

Many behavior scientists appear to have little knowledge of or find little value in the philosophical aspects of their science. This disregard for a philosophical basis and consistency leads to issues across the entire scientific system. These issues begin with the specific goals of behavioral science and the nature of scientific activity. This dilemma spans even further to what is considered to be the subject matter of psychology and the ways in which we study that subject matter. Further, one must also closely consider the ways in which results from research are interpreted and the terminology that is used to describe psychological phenomena. Finally, philosophical coherence determines the degree to which behavioral science can be considered to be a legitimate, independent, comprehensive, and coherent science. This presentation discusses relevant and important concepts within the scientific system of Interbehavioral Psychology, specifically as they relate to the investigation and interpretation of psychological events.

Interbehavioral Psychology: The Applied Subsystem
MITCH FRYLING (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: J. R. Kantor’s (1958) system of interbehavioral psychology has been found to be particularly useful in several philosophical and theoretical areas of behavior analysis. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the applied subsystem of interbehavioral psychology. In this presentation I provide an overview of the applied subsystem, and particularly emphasize the value of application in interbehavioral psychology. The applied subsystem is viewed as having both verification and exploitation roles in Kantor’s (1958) system, and both of these roles will be reviewed. Emphasis will be placed on how the applied interbehaviorist can contribute to the overall system of behavior science more generally. In accomplishing these goals I will review the interbehavioral field construct and explain why workers might find it to be a particularly useful construct in naturalistic settings, such as those confronted by workers in applied behavior analysis (ABA). Efforts will be made to distinguish between unique features of applied research and practice, while at the same time recognizing that these two areas overlap substantially in ABA. Examples from the assessment of problem behavior and acquisition of verbal behavior will be provided.



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