Philip Hineline, PhD
“I tutored 40 kids when I was 9-12 years old. In college, I became passionate about…catering to children who could do better if we taught them better. Behavior analysis was the vehicle for me to make gains in education.”
“I’ve worked in a variety of industries including automotive, human services, non-profit, print, retail, and oil and gas across a range of companies, from global Fortune 500s, creative start-ups, to local small businesses.”
“We began an instructional program in 1990 with three students. Now there are over a hundred students and more than 10 staff in that program, plus a few other programs in Israel.”
“Getting a child with Autism to communicate with signs, symbols or words when they previously used ‘meltdowns.’…I am happy that the company I created gives opportunities to these kids (and also lots of jobs to talented ABA professionals).”
“I am most proud of the 43 doctoral students I have trained, and the numerous sabbatical visitors who have spent time working with me. These people are the future of our field…”
“Behavior analysts should work on speaking to a broader audience in ways that the audience is receptive to and finding ways to disseminate and tell our story more effectively.”
“I’m proud of my students and their work, and how we developed a line of research related to communication/verbal behavior and RFT/rule governance in organizations. Developing your niche is hard to do and takes courage.”
…my approach is the same: make sure the behavior is doable; ensure there’s motivation and environmental support; reduce or eliminate coercion; always look to the contingencies.
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.”