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B.F. Skinner and His Involvement in Humanism: An Underappreciated Aspect of ABA History

1 hours, 35 minutes
15.0 BACB

“Skinner’s work is squarely within the tradition of Humanistic Philosophy. This is accurate despite the objections of others. What we know of as Behavior Analysis is much more in keeping with Humanistic Philosophy and Skinner’s place should not be argued.” 

Bobby Newman PhD, BCBA-D, LBA summarizing how Skinner and the application of Behavior Analytic principles were founded and are still in line with Humanistic Philosophy  


In 1972, B.F Skinner was named Humanist of the Year. Despite this, those outside ABA question whether Skinner and the science uphold humanist values. In this presentation, Dr. Newman explores these criticisms and disputes them. Characteristics of Third Force Psychology (also called humanistic psychology) are discussed and how ABA meets these criteria. The presentation ends with a discussion of ethics and how this impacts practice.    

Learning Objectives

What you’ll learn in the course and be able to do afterward 

  1. Describe the outside criticisms of Skinner and ABA humanism 

  1. Explain the characteristics of Third Force Psychology detailed by Maslow 

  1. Explain how ABA meets the characteristics of Third Force Psychology 

  1. Describe the clash of ethical values 


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