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In the early 1980s our Center was formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts to advance the new science and seek applications that might reduce human suffering. We took on many projects and were joined by some brilliant academicians and practitioners. In 1989 a fire destroyed our building and most of our accumulated resources, but as often happens, it also brought new life and attracted new people to take up the cause. We now operate as a charitable nonprofit corporation thanks to the generosity of our donors and revenue from our professional conferences and activities.
We are fortunate to list among our trustees and advisors a number of first or second generation disciples of the original founders, including many recognized leaders in the field, some of whom served as presidents of the new science’s various scientific and professional organizations. By charter, we are limited to 75 trustees, but we also have access to a great many advisors and exceptional graduate students.
In looking over this distinguished list, a few questions occurred to us: How did these people come to adopt this discipline? Why did they abandon a conventional course in favor of this new and often controversial one? Most importantly, how did their behavioral solutions differ from others that addressed similar problems?
This Omnibus Edition, having 29 tales, is the result of our decision to follow a fundamental dictate of the science: collect the data! We asked each of the contributors to prepare a response to the question: Why and how did you come to this field? We asked them to tell their first person accounts in a way that would give the reader not only a sense of who they are but also how they applied the science to their unique area. We selected contributors who represent different areas of our science to give the reader a peek into how it was applied to different challenges. We imposed no stylistic guidelines, believing that authors would reveal much about themselves by the manner in which they chose to comply with our request.
The resulting contributions are as varied as the individuals themselves. Nevertheless, some interesting generalities emerge. For example, some of our contributors have intellectual roots in philosophy. Many abandoned traditional psychology in favor of the more pragmatic approach of the new science of behavior. In this edition and the one that preceded it, you will find stories from women and men who took on some incredible challenges. We hope that the courage and persistence of our pioneers will be apparent in their stories and will serve to inspire future generations.
Contributing Authors and Titles:
Aubrey Daniels, Taking Behavior Analysis to Work
Tristram Smith, The Longest Journey
Karen Pryor, Inside and Outside Behavior Analysis
Henry Pennypacker, Reinforcement in the Key of C
Andy Bondy, Picture This
E. Scott Geller, Driven to Make a Difference
Teodoro Ayllon, Present at the Creation of Applied Behavior Analysis
Kurt Salzinger, Barking Up the Right Tree
Beth Sulzer-Azaroff , The Journey of a Pioneer Woman Applied Behavior Analyst
Murray Sidman, The Analysis of Behavior: What’s In It for Us?
Robert Holdsambeck, Special Children
Kent Johnson, Behavior Analysts Can Thrive in General Education Too
Abigail B. Calkin, Always the Back Door
Francis Mechner, Some Historic Roots of School Reform
Terry McSween, Journey Through Behavioral Safety
Carl Binder, Teachers and Students Passing it On
Richard Malott, What Makes Dick So Weird?
Travis Thompson, Imagination in Science
Dwight Harshbarger, Sliding Doors: A Chronicle
William L. Heward, Why Be a Behavior Analyst?
T. V. J. Layng, In Search of Consequences
Julie M. Smith, An Unusual Path to an Unusual Career in Organizational Behavior Management
J. E. R. Staddon, ‘Superstition’
Philip N. Hineline, On Discovering What Our Science Is About
Sigrid S. Glenn, Scratching the Itch for Integration
James E. Carr, From Working as a Behavior Analyst to Working For Behavior Analysis
Maria E. Malott, Searching for Answers: Behavior, Systems, and Culture
Victor G. Laties, A Life in Behavior Analysis and Psychopharmacology
A. Charles Catania, Antecedents: How Behavior Analysis Chose Me