Andy Lattal is Centennial Professor of Psychology at West Virginia University, where he has taught and mentored 45 doctoral students since 1972. Andy’s research, covering a host of topics across the discipline’s spectrum, has appeared in more than 180 research articles, chapters, and edited books. A past Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, he currently serves in editorial capacities for eight professional journals. Andy has been recognized with several teaching and research awards, and for his professional service with the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis’s awards for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis and for the International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Lille in France and in 2019 will be a Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science in residence at Osaka Kyoiku University in Osaka, Japan.
Dissing-Ability

Dissing Ability

Blogger: Andy Lattal, Ph.D. Suddenly, an observable response pattern—reading—is turned into an internal state. Too many times I have read in both student and professional papers something to the effect that “the child had the ability to solve the problem” or “the pigeon had the ability to discriminate…” Three problems render such expressions untenable and therefore
Catch-Up Contingencies

Catch-Up Contingencies

Blogger: Andy Lattal, Ph.D. Ever heard the expression “closing the barn door after the cows are out?”  It basically means coming up with a solution that is too little, too late, to work. This happens even at the cultural level in that sometimes society recognizes that the way things have been done is in the long-run
When Punishment is a Reinforcer

When Punishment is a Reinforcer

Blogger: Andy Lattal, Ph.D. Punishment, by definition, reduces, weakens, or eliminates (depending on one’s theoretical bias) the responses on which it depends. But punishment also reinforces other behavior, notably that of the one administering the punishment. It does so because the behavior being punished is reduced or ceases altogether. And once the behavior of punishing is
Obsessing over OCD days of COVID-19
Blogger: Andy Lattal, Ph.D.   “Wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing the ‘Happy birthday’ song – twice” is the mantra of 2020, and with good reason. Not only that but also spraying packages from Amazon with Lysol and using that stuff on doorknobs and everything else metallic or cardboard or other
What is Social Behavior

What is Social Behavior?

Blogger: Andy Lattal, Ph.D. In an old experiment, Boren (1966) placed two Rhesus monkeys in separate operant chambers so that the two animals were visually and aurally isolated from one another. His was an experiment on mutual reinforcement, so the schedules were arranged such that Rhesus A’s responses produced reinforcement only for Monkey B and Rhesus
Generalists and Specialists

Generalists and Specialists

Blogger: Andy Lattal, Ph.D. In a recent piece in the New York Times titled, “You Don’t Want a Child Prodigy: What ‘Roger’ Dads do Better Than Tiger Moms Ever Will” by David Epstein, the author weighs the relative merits of raising children as “specialists,” focusing on one skill at which they excel, as in musical and sports prodigies,
fox-henhouse
Being vigilant and attuned to the threats of invasive species and invasive behavioral events may be the best thing that can be done. Keeping them out is important, but when they appear, managing them early seems critical.

Complex Behavior

“Complex” has two uses in psychology. One is to describe something with a lot of “moving parts.” The other use of complex is “I don’t understand it.”

Out of Thin Air?

In speaking of the origins of operant behavior, Skinner famously observed that “[o]perant conditioning shapes behavior as a sculptor shapes a lump of clay.

When in Doubt, Make a Cumulative Record

The origins of cumulative frequency plots, as they were known, date back to at least a couple of centuries ago, and now appear frequently in popular media.