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.


30th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2004

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #205
CE Offered: None

Toward a Comprehensive and Coherent Science of Behavior

Sunday, May 30, 2004
1:30 PM–2:20 PM
Republic B
Area: TPC; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: John W. Donahoe, Psy.D.
Chair: John W. Donahoe (University of Massachusetts)
PAUL THOMAS ANDRONIS (Northern Michigan University)
Dr. Paul Thomas Andronis is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Northern Michigan University, and serves as Director of the undergraduate option in behavior analysis. After completing the MS in zoology at Western Illinois University, he worked for two years at the Northwestern University Institute of Psychiatry, and then entered graduate study in biopsychology at the University of Chicago, working with Prof. Israel Goldiamond. He served as a research assistant both in the Parent Health/Infant Development Project in the Department of Psychiatry, conducting electromyographic research on reflexive behaviors of heroin- and methadone-addicted neonates, and in the Behavior Analysis Research Laboratory, training Illinois state psychiatric staff in applied behavior analysis, and conducting basic research in signal detection studies on temporal discrimination and the analysis of complex social behavior by pigeons, and on schedule-induced defecation in rats. Upon completing the MS and PhD, he remained at Chicago for three years as a U.S.P.H.S. Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychiatry. He was then appointed Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he established the Section on Behavioral Medicine and eating disorders units at both the Chicago and Olympia Fields Osteopathic Medical Centers. The University of Chicago then recruited him to the faculties in Behavioral Medicine for both the Departments of Psychiatry and Gastroenterology, conducting applied research on the treatment of obesity, and as an instructor in the Committee on Biopsychology, in the area of ethology. In 1990, he left Chicago for Northern Michigan University, where he was hired to direct the undergraduate behavior analysis option. In addition to regular teaching duties in the Department of Psychology and the NMU Honors Program, he supervises the practicum in applied behavior analysis, and maintains active laboratories for basic research on contingency adduction with pigeons, and stimulus equivalence with people. He also serves as President of the Board of Directors of a group home for adults with mental retardation.

While behavior analysis often lays claim to being the science of behavior, and rationalizes this claim by pointing to its singular accomplishments in applied enterprises, behavior analysis occupies an unheralded position among other fields that not only make the same claim, but glean substantially more of societys material and intellectual resources for research, and wield more powerful influence over its cultural landscape. Little scientific progress resulted from the so-called cognitive revolution, and following the Decade of the Brain, organic approaches (with cognitive science tagging along beside) have ascended to favored positions among the behavioral sciences The present paper argues that, in this, the fourth year of the Decade of Behavior and the hundredth anniversary of Skinners birth, behavior analysis can provide a unifying and coherent paradigm for a comprehensive theory of behavior that includes exciting new findings from a range of other disciplines. It calls for more thorough education of behavior analysts in areas like evolutionary neurobiology and ethology, concerted efforts to forge collaborative alliances with researchers and intellectuals in these other fields, and an attempt to frame our knowledge of behavioral relations in a vocabulary that acknowledges and embraces important contributions made by other areas.




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