Basic Research


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The basic research section offers resources related primarily to experiments relevant to the behavior of individuals. Related methodological and theoretical resources are also provided in this section.

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Hefferline Notes
A joint venture among the Center, the B.F. Skinner Foundation, and David Palmer leads to the publication of a .pdf document of the Hefferline Notes, Ralph Hefferline's notes on Skinner's lectures on verbal behavior at Columbia University in the summer of 1947. David Palmer created the searchable document and Edward Anderson funded the project.
Tags: behavior, behavior analysis, language, verbal behavior
Verbal Behavior: William James Lectures
By agreement among the Center, the B.F. Skinner Foundation, and David Palmer, The William James Lectures are published as a .pdf document. These lectures were given by Skinner in 1948 at Harvard University as a precursor to Verbal Behavior (1957). The searchable document was created by David Palmer and funding was provided by Edward Anderson.
Tags: behavior, behavior analysis, language, verbal behavior
What Works Clearinghouse: Single-Case Design Technical Documentation
The What Works Clearing House of the Institute of Education Sciences is now accepting single-subject research as scientific evidence.
A Behavior Analytic Paradigm for Adaptive Autonomous Agents
Behavior Analysis, the scientific study of animal and human behavior and learning, provides a strong conceptual framework for intelligent computer systems known as adaptive autonomous agents. The Seventh Generation Technology system, described in this paper, is an autonomous adaptive agent with cognition based on the behavior analytic paradigm.
Behavioral Contingency Analysis by Francis Mechner, Ph.D.
Behavior is a complex subject matter involving multiple functions that change over time, and as a result its own symbolic language is helpful for describing change. Francis Mechner's Behavioral Contingency Analysis provides this language. It describes all kinds of situations, from teaching to theory of mind to deception. And it does so in the best of behavioral/selectionist traditions, by analyzing complexity in terms of simple components.
Tags: behavior, behavior analysis, Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, notation systems, contingency analysis
Behavioural Interpretation of Cognition
It is not commonly appreciated that the behaviorist distinguishes the interpretation of behavior from the experimental analysis of behavior. Only the latter enterprise requires that variables be public, measurable, and reliable; the interpretation of behavior serves a different purpose and is differently constrained.
Tags: interpretation, experimentation
Chomsky's Formal Analysis of Natural Languages: A Behavioral Translation
The controversy between cognitive and behavioral accounts is in part simply a matter of speaking of the same things in different ways. But sometimes also, as when we fall to distinguish between structural and functional problems, controversies arise because we mistakenly speak of different things as if they were the same.
Tags: structure versus function, verbal behavior, language
Computer Modeling of Verbal Behavior
The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies has had a long interest in language simulation, as the original sponsor of an annual competition characterized as the "first instantiation of the Turing Test." Ken Stephens provides a review of conversant systems, including those that won that competition, and discusses how the power of the techniques used to win has steadily increased. This is put in perspective of a paradigm shift within computational linguistics that has brought powerful empirical techniques to bear.
Tags: computer models, language simulation, verbal behavior
On Chomsky's Review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior
Skinner's book, Verbal Behavior, was published in 1957. Chomsky's review of it appeared in 1959. Chomsky's review was, to put it mildly, displeased. It was also a virtuoso performance whose echoes reverbered throughout psychology. This article provided the first response to criticisms presented by Chomsky, 10 years following his initial review.
Tags: Chomsky, verbal behavior, language
Pervasive Negative Effects of Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation: The Myth Continues. The Behavior Analyst 24, 1-44. By Judy Cameron, Katherine M. Banko, and W. David Pierce.
Reprinted with permission of the Association for Behavior Analysis [please note that this article is only available for personal use and can not be duplicated and distributed without permission of the Association for Behavior Analysis]. A major concern in psychology and education is that rewards decrease intrinsic motivation to perform activities. Over the past 30 years, more than 100 experimental studies have been conducted on this topic. The results of this study show that in general, rewards are not harmful to motivation to perform a task. Every parent and teacher should be aware of these important findings, and the potential positive impact of a reward-based system in the classroom.
Tags: extrinsic reward, internal motivation, meta analyses

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