Blogger: Darnell Lattal, Ph.D. The Future just got a Restart on the Meaning of Unpredictable In the Spring of 2020, the world is engaged in very large behavioral changes that we hope will lead to positive outcomes. The question is, “Will we thrive?” We will isolate and distance ourselves for a rather long while most
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.

Behavioristic Bliss

Someone recently sent me a rather gloomy article titled, “Your Professional Decline is Coming Much Sooner Thank You Think.” The author, Arthur Brooks, says that everyone over the age of 50 is washed up in their current careers, and should quit and do something else!

Rules Rule, or Do They?

Rules are derived to guide behavior under certain conditions. Rule-governed behavior occupies a prominent place in behavior-analytic theory.