ERIC Number: ED283068
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-May
Context, Cognition, and Biology in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Morris, Edward K.
Behavior analysts are having their professional identities challenged by the roles that cognition and biology are said to play in the conduct and outcome of applied behavior analysis and behavior therapy. For cogniphiliacs, cognition and biology are central to their interventions because cognition and biology are said to reflect various processes, structures, and states that cause, mediate, or change dysfunctional behavior-environment interactions. For cogniphobics, cognition represents an unwarranted return to mentalism and an unnecessary obsession with epiphenomena, whereas biology represents an unwarranted return to reductionism and an unnecessary obsession with the materialistic side of Cartesian dualism. On the side of cognition, the cogniphiliacs are right. Applied behavior analysis needs to provide a comprehensive, explicit account of behavior-environment interactions. The cogniphiliacs' argument for explanatory cognitive and biological concepts, though, often seems little more than a reversion to mentalism. On the side of behavior, the cogniphobics are right. Cognition-as-process and biological reductionism as explanation have no place in a natural science of behavior. The cogniphobics' lack of reference to historical and current contextual conditions, however, suggests that they are in part responsible for the misconceptions of the science of behavior. Contextualism may be the treatment of choice in working with cogniphilia and cogniphobia. (Seventy-seven references are appended.) (NB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Association for Behavior Analysis Convention (13th, Nashville, TN, May 25-28, 1987).