by Murray Sidman
Equivalence Relations and Behavior: A Research Story by Murray Sidman
How does the work of Sidman and his coworkers on equivalence relations fit into science and into life? Why were the experiments really done (the Journals never let you tell the whole story)? How did the researchers feel about what they were doing? Much new material, along with reprints, shows the ups and downs, moments of joy along with frustrations, intellectual triumphs and puzzles, intricacies of the reasoning process–and, of course, data. Clearly, Sidman is uncomfortable without data; he has spent his life gathering new data, thinking about it, and working out the next steps. Here is his story.
From the Author’s Introduction:
A major source of my own interest has been what seems to me a central role of equivalence relations in making language such a powerful factor in our everyday social intercourse …One of the most fascinating observations is that we often react to words and other symbols as if they are the things or events they refer to. . . . This treatment of linguistic forms as equivalent to their referents permits us to listen and read with comprehension, to work out problems in their absence, to instruct others by means of speech or text, to plan ahead, to store information for use in the future, and to think abstractlyall of these by means of words that are spoken, written, or thought in the absence of the things and events they refer to.