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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #292
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
I Forgot the Name of this Talk: A Tutorial on Remembering
Sunday, May 28, 2017
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 1-3
Area: DEV/VRB; Domain: Theory
PSY/BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: A. Charles Catania, Ph.D.
Chair: Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)
Presenting Authors: : A. CHARLES CATANIA (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

From the effects of the temporal separation of responses and their consequences (as in delayed reinforcement) to the effects on behavior of events no longer present (as in verbal reports), behavior analysts study behavior extended in time. They are therefore either implicitly or explicitly concerned with the phenomena colloquially called remembering and forgetting. These phenomena have also been focuses of attention for those of the cognitive rather than the behavioral persuasion. This tutorial explores some properties of remembering and forgetting as revealed in both the behavioral and the cognitive literatures. What we know about remembering can contribute significantly to both our basic research and our applications. Cases to be considered include, among others: why remembering should be treated as a skill that can be shaped; how remembering varies with what is to be remembered; why remembering is better interpreted as recall of behavior with respect to stimuli no longer present than as recall of the stimuli themselves; how contingencies affect both forgetting and the creation of false memories; and how behavioral criteria can be applied to the distinctions among different varieties of remembering, such as short-term versus long-term memory or recall versus recognition.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

The content of this tutorial as relevant to all behavior analysts, whatever their level of training.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) give a minimum of three reasons why an understanding of remembering and forgetting is important for the science and practice of behavior analysis; (2) say why remembering is better interpreted as recall of our behavior with respect to stimuli that are no longer present than as the reconstruction of those stimuli and why this distinction is crucial to our understanding of tact relations in verbal behavior; (3) describe some properties of remembering (e.g., conditions for the creation of false memories, proactive inhibition produced by earlier remembering) and to give examples of how these properties may be relevant to applied behavior analysis (e.g., in recognizing how remembering can vary with age and across different populations).
A. CHARLES CATANIA (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
When A. Charles Catania encountered psychology as a Columbia undergraduate, Keller and Schoenfeld's curriculum seamlessly incorporated a broad range of experimental psychology, including the topics of remembering and forgetting. The literature of experimental psychology also provided the context for his subsequent graduate and postdoctoral work at Harvard. After some psychopharmacology at the SK&F Laboratories in Philadelphia, he moved to the University Heights campus of NYU and then to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he is now Professor Emeritus. Along the way, he conducted research on reinforcement schedules, stimulus control, verbal behavior, and other topics. Considerations of remembering became a component of both his research and his teaching, especially as he attempted to find bridges connecting operant analyses of delayed reinforcement to cognitive experiments on memory, with the latter often presented as challenges to behavioral approaches. That background has informed Catania's research and writing, and the current edition of his text, Learning, provides a behavior-analytic perspective on many examples drawn from the literature of remembering.



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