discussion questions

discussion questions

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1. Assessing Behavior – The Philosophical Assumptions of Behavior Analysis

Throughout this course we have focused on the assessment of behavior. The conceptual framework for our approach has been the functional assessment of behavior, which we have employed to inform our development of a behavior intervention plan. In our final team discussion of the course, we will directly consider ways in which the philosophical assumptions of behavior analysis serve as a foundation for our approach to assessment.

In preparation for your discussion team meeting:

First – please read: What is Behaviorism (Chapters 1-3, pages 2-59) in Baum, W. M. (2005) Understanding Behaviorism: Behavior, Culture, and Evolution (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. [Link to: Baum 2005 – What is Behaviorism]

Then read: Radical Behaviorism – Chapter 10 in Johnson, J. M. (2014). Radical behaviorism for ABA practitioners. Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY: Sloan Publishing. [Link to: Johnson 2014 – Radical Behaviorism]

When you meet as a team:

Discuss your impression of the readings. Note areas that stood out to you – perspectives that you found new, surprising, particularly useful or with which you disagree. You may have observed that the content of the readings relate to aspects of the BACB 4th Edition Tasklist Section III – Foundational Knowledge – Explain and Behave in Accordance with the Philosophical Assumptions of Behavior Analysis (content areas FK01-FK-09).

2. Explain and compare each of the constructs listed below:

Mentalistic vs. Environmental explanations
Free Will vs. Determinism
Realism vs. Pragmatism
Radical vs. methodological behaviorism
How does each pertain to our work as behavior analysts? How are these comparisons of relevance to our responsibility to behave in accordance with the philosophical assumptions of behavior analysis? It may be helpful to begin this part of your discussion by reaching agreement on how you interpret this prompt — what is meant by this question?

3. Lynn and Penny

Consider the scenario presented on pages 181-182 of the Radical Behaviorism for ABA Practitioners chapter. In this scenario, Penny is concerned that Lynn’s “tendency to talk in everyday terms could affect her judgment about the direction and technicalities of treatment plans” (p. 182).

Discuss how Penny’s concern relates to our role and responsibility as behavior analysts.
Consider the relevance to the terms that we use when we write our reports, treatment plans, and professional communications.
What role does “everyday language” have in our interactions with parents and clients?
What are the risks of using a colloquial dialect in our work as behavior analysts?

4. Johnson states: “Unlike other sciences, in behavior analysis there is no conceptual discontinuity between the subject matter of the science and the explanatory behavior of its scientists” (p. 183).

What does this statement refer to?
Why is this relevant to our work as behavior analysts?

5. Consider the BACB 4th edition Tasklist objective G-05 – Describe and explain behavior, including private events, in behavior-analytic (non-mentalistic) terms.

Select a mentalistic term that is commonly used to describe a behavior.
How would this term or concept be expressed in behavior-analytic (non-mentalistic) terms

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