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ERIC Number: EJ848698
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-1554-4893
Opinion: The Two Subject Matters of Behavior Analysis and Early Intervention
Greer, R. Douglas
Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention, v1 n2 p239-245 2004
The author argues that the field of behavior intervention has two subject matters that are distinct in several ways. Each is derived from, and contributes to, the foundation science and epistemology associated with behavior selection. The differences that the author wants to describe occurred to him as he sought to identify which of two Spanish phrases best represented the science--"Analisis de el Comportamiento" or "Analisis de La Conducta." The author found the distinction between the meaning of the two compelling because they clarified issues that he and his colleagues had faced in the more than 20 years of building schools that educated the "whole child" based entirely on scientific procedures (Greer, 2002). To him, "Analisis de el comportamiento" appeared to concern behavior broadly construed as in the the behavior of matter or species and it's origins, whereas "analisis de la conducta" was about "behaving well." "Analisis de la conducta" identifies the variables associated with: behaving fluently, the molecular and molar contingencies associated with existing operants, or conducting one's self consistent with the best interests of the individual and culture. "Analisis de el comportamiento" appeared to concern how behavior "functions" originate, operants or higher order operants, and how they can be induced when they are missing. It seems to the author that when operants are already in the individual's repertoire the fundamental concern is to identify the contingencies that evoke the behaviors--the existing controlling variables for behavior whether people call the behavior "appropriate or bad." They are the preverbial "performance behaviors." On the other hand it seemed to him that when the objective of scientific inquiry or application is to create or induce new operants or higher order operants different tactics and strategies are needed. Thus, when individuals seek to teach children to use language functionally, solve problems, enlarge their community of reinforcers, or acquire academic literacy, to name a few examples, they are engaged in "teaching" new operants or higher order operants. When individuals seek to identify and form new repertoires the verb "teach" seems eminently suitable, while the verb "train" is suitable for arranging controls for existing repertoires.
Joseph Joseph Cautilli, Ph.D. & The Behavior Analyst Online Organization. 535 Queen Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147-3220. Tel: 215-462-6737; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A