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.


Seventh International Conference; Merida, Mexico; 2013

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #54
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

John B. Watson's "Dozen Infants" Statement: A Balanced Appraisal

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
8:30 AM–9:20 AM
Yucatan II (Fiesta Americana)
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Hayne W. Reese, Ph.D.
Chair: Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
HAYNE W. REESE (West Virginia University)
Hayne W. Reese received his Ph.D. in experimental child psychology at the State University of Iowa (1958), was assistant to full professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1958-1967), a professor at the University of Kansas (1967-1970), and centennial professor of psychology at West Virginia University (1970-2000), at which is he now centennial professor emeritus. His professional interests are in life-span development of learning, memory, and problem solving, and philosophical, theoretical, and historical issues. He was a member of several National Institute of Mental Health and National Institutes of Health Initial Review Groups (14 years), and served the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology as a member of the editorial board (1965-1974, 1998-2000), associate editor (1975-1983), and editor (1983-1997). His bibliography includes dozens of authored or edited books, including 26 volumes of Advances in Child Development and Behavior and eight volumes of Life-Span Developmental Psychology, more than a hundred journal articles and chapters, and well over a hundred oral presentations

John B. Watson endorsed his “Dozen Infants” statement, and it is probably his most widely cited fragment. However, it often has been disparaged imprudently because of ignoring its context and other reasons shown by analyses in this paper. A byproduct of the analyses is a summary of the essentials of Watson’s behaviorism.

Target Audience:

Anyone interested in the essentials of Watson's behaviorism.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presenation, participants should be able to:
--Describe what Watson’s “Dozen Infants” statement means based on its content and context.
--Describe the concrete roles attirbuted to heredity and environment in Watson’s “Dozen Infants” statement and his related writings.
--Describe the kinds of evidence relevant to Watson’s views about heredity and environment that are important in contemporary psychology and behavior sciences.



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