ERIC Number: EJ947343
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 14
The Aesthetics of Intervention in Defense of the Esoteric
DeLeon, Iser G.
Behavior Analyst, v34 n1 p41-45 Spr 2011
So it appears that the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB) could benefit from intervention aimed at increasing its translational footprint, thus promoting continued recognition and support as a valuable social enterprise. The author greatly appreciates Critchfield's ("Translational Contributions of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior," "The Behavior Analyst," v34, p3-17, 2011) ) efforts to identify the problem, its controlling variables, and its potential solutions. At least two behavioral problems are identified immediately in Critchfield's abstract. The first can be restated as "Why hasn't basic behavior analysis demonstrated social relevance more often?" The author says little about this first question other than to restate that the perception that basic research frequently demonstrates social relevance is perhaps misguided. The second question, "What are impediments to translational innovation that may need to be addressed for basic behavior science to increase its translational footprint?" implies a behavioral deficit, and behavior analysts are good at addressing behavioral deficits. Critchfield identifies several important historical antecedents, including carryover (largely through training) of a time when the indirect benefits assumption was strongly supported and the adoption of rules that basic and applied science do not mix well. The second half of Critchfield's article is prescriptive, aimed at promoting translational research behavior on the part of basic researchers. The solutions imply some fundamental changes in operations. Critchfield is not pointing to inadequacies per se, only to changes that are sensitive to the current environment. Change is inevitable. Critchfield is simply recommending how to channel behavior change in ways that are sensitive to that environment. This is good behavior analysis. Towards promoting translational research in basic scientists, Critchfield suggests the following solutions: (1) Basic scientists need to read applied research and interact with practical problems; (2) basic scientists must master the communicative skills necessary to establish the social relevance of their research; (3) basic scientists should collaborate with applied behavior analysts; and (4) basic scientists should consider, and be trained in, experimental methods that are more suitable to use-inspired research. The last solution implies diverting some proportion of basic endeavors towards research questions with practical end points, adopting human subjects as the focus of basic research, determining how to obtain orderly data more efficiently, and considering experimental designs that resonate more strongly with the scientific mainstream. If carried out, the author has no doubt that this prescription would succeed in producing more translational research out of basic laboratories.
Descriptors: Behavior Problems, Intervention, Behavior Modification, Behavior Change, Technology, Scientists, Interdisciplinary Approach, Aesthetics, Behavioral Science Research, Innovation, Behavioral Sciences, Research, Researchers, Communication Skills, Research Design
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A