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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Paper Session #393
EAHB-SIG Distinguished Career Award: A. Charles Catania
Monday, May 26, 2008
11:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: EAB
Chair: A. Charles Catania (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
EAHB-SIG Distinguished Career Award: A. Charles Catania
Domain: Theory
A. CHARLES CATANIA (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Abstract: Verbal behavior allows the creation of fictional entities such as angels and demons. Because it does so we must be alert to whether entities with similar functions can enter into our science. The history of science is replete with entities that began as verbal ones and that later became tightly related to environmental events: e.g., atoms, synapses, genes, black holes. But some verbal entities in the behavioral and psychological sciences have been less amenable to measurement: e.g., feelings, consciousness, ideas, mind. Clearly, created verbal entities can sometimes prove useful. Along with that potential, however, comes the risk that they will sometimes deflect our attention from practical lines of research into areas that turn out to be blind alleys. This presentation will explore some of the variables that enter into the creation of verbal entities and the antecedents and consequences of such entities as they bear upon behavior analytic research and its applications. Examples have occasionally appeared within behavior analysis, and even within the analysis of verbal behavior itself.



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