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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W91
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
CANCELED: The Historical Origins of B. F. Skinner's Theory of Operant Behavior
Saturday, May 26, 2012
8:00 AM–11:00 AM
4C-4 (Convention Center)
Area: TPC/VRB; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Kristjan Gudmundsson, Ph.D.
KRISTJAN GUDMUNDSSON (Reykjavik College of Women)
Description: In this workshop will be an explanation and demonstration of the exact historical origins of B. F. Skinner's experimental research, with emphasis both on the beginnings of Skinner's operant research and his neglected and original research on human verbal behavior, which the present author has demonstrated to have begun as early as 1934. The course of Skinner's research from the time he began his studies at Harvard in 1928 all the way up to and including 1938, when he published his groundbreaking work, The Behavior of Organisms, will be covered.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants should be able to:

Connect their own current research to the origins of operant research, whether it be basic experimental work or higher level work on, for example, verbal behavior

Examine and explain the exact historical beginnings of B. F. Skinner's work (it is well known that this work is experimental, but it is also interpretative, in the sense that Skinner was all along also interested in complex human—verbal—behavior)

Activities: This workshop will involve going through the papers and unpublished material of B. F. Skinner from the time he entered Harvard graduate school up to the time he published his groundbreaking work, The Behavior of Organisms. Topics will include the debate with Konorski and Miller, the early and original research on the verbal summator, and of course the very early experimental work with rats and other animals, in the attempt to find a pure unit of behavior and a way to measure it.
Audience: This workshop is appropriate for researchers in both basic animal research and also verbal behavior, as well as applied research, as Skinner very early on showed excellent ability to develop his own unique research interests. By way of example, the audience can benefit from Skinner's approach, whether it be basic, verbal, or applied.
Content Area: Theory
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): operant, origins, Skinner, verbal



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