Philip Hineline, PhD

Interview conducted by Annie Galizio

How were you drawn to the field of behavior analysis?

Behavior analysis was the first psychology course Dr. Hineline took, and it “made sense to me”. He “never had to read anything twice.” When they had the laboratory portion conducting experiments with rats, everything just “clicked”.

What do you feel is your most important accomplishment and why?

“While Skinner was a very nice guy he was often demonized. Many people only accept behavior analysis after they see the practical applications.” One of Dr. Hineline’s major accomplishments has been to focus on explanatory language and why behavior analysis is so controversial. Other major accomplishments include his theoretical work on avoidance, as well as a multi-scaled view of behavioral processes.

What do you think behavior analysts should be doing more of?

We should be studying “narrative and storytelling. Stories are pervasive in verbal behavior, but we have had little to say about this area”.

What advice do you have for people just entering the field of behavior analysis?

When looking for a graduate program, find a mentor you want to work with, rather than focusing on the university. Also, talk to the students at the places you are applying. Make sure you get their views on what it’s like to go to graduate school there. Additionally, “don’t wait for special opportunities! Sometimes the most important thing you’ll do is what you did when you thought no one was looking.”