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Are Brazilian Behavior Analysts Publishing Outside the Box? A Survey of General Science Media



Recent studies have stressed the importance of disseminating behavior analysis to a more diverse audience and have provided ways to do so effectively. General science publications offer an attractive venue for communicating with a scientifically educated public. The present study examines behavior analysis research published in Science Today and Research Fapesp, monthly general science publications published by the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science and São Paulo Research Foundation, respectively. Behavior analytic terms were searched in issues published from 2003 to 2014, along with psychoanalytic terms as a comparative measure. Only 13 behavior analysis articles were found, while psychoanalytic articles totaled 150. Six of the behavior analysis articles misconstrue fundamental concepts of behavior analysis. The study recommends that behavior analysis researchers extend the dissemination of their findings outside the box.
Dal Ben, R., Calixto, F. C., & Ferreira, A. L. (2016). Are Brazilian Behavior Analysts Publishing
Outside the Box? A Survey of General Science Media. Behavior Analysis in Practice. doi.
Title: Are Brazilian Behavior Analysts Publishing Outside the Box? A Survey of General Science Media
Recent studies have stressed the importance of disseminating behavior analysis to a more diverse audience and have
provided ways to do so effectively. General science publications offer an attractive venue for communicating with a
scientifically educated public. The present study examines behavior analysis research published in Science Today
and Research Fapesp, monthly general science publications published by the Brazilian Society for the Advancement
of Science and São Paulo Research Foundation, respectively. Behavior analytic terms were searched in issues
published from 2003 to 2014, along with psychoanalytic terms as a comparative measure. Only 13 behavior analysis
articles were found, while psychoanalytic articles totaled 150. Six of the behavior analysis articles misconstrue
fundamental concepts of behavior analysis. The study recommends that behavior analysis researchers extend the
dissemination of their findings outside the box.
Keywords: dissemination, general science, publication, behavior analysis
It has been more than eight decades since Skinner established the foundations for the science of behavior
analysis (Skinner, 1938). Since then, behavior analysts have investigated subjects such as memory, language,
decision making, pharmacology, gerontology, and developmental disabilities from empirical and theoretical
perspectives (Madden, Dube, Hackenberg, Hanley, & Lattal, 2013a, 2013b). By taking a closer look at the
antecedents to consequences of present and past behaviors and their contingencies, behavior analysis has broken
with the ancient custom of seeking behavioral causes within individuals and introduced a revolutionary way of
thinking into psychology.
In view of the potential social impact of such a circumstantial approach, it is reasonable to ask how, when,
and whether the findings of behavior analysis (BA) research are being disseminated to the broad spectrum that could
benefit from them. At the same time, it is important to note that the discipline itself can be positively affected by
disseminating its findings to a more diverse audience, in other words, by getting out of its box. In addition to the
well documented and widely acknowledged advancements that behavior analysis has contributed to the treatment of
people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Foxx, 2008; Hayward, Gale, & Eikeseth, 2009; Matson, Tureck,
Turygin, Beighley, & Rieske, 2012; Peters-Scheffer, Didden, Korzilius, & Sturmey, 2011; Virués-Ortega, 2010),
two further examples illustrate this impact, and an additional uncommon case can be found in Maple and Segura
First, prompted by Mischel, Ebbesen, and Raskoff Zeiss (1972), behavior analysts Grosch and Neuringer
(1981) performed an experiment in which Mischel’s well-known marshmallow paradigm was successfully tested
with non-human subjects, indicating the significance of environmental variables in self-controlled behavior. Such
findings encouraged the behavioral study of self-control, a line of research that has proven invaluable (Rachlin,
2009). Second, behavior analysis can contribute to the study of complex behavioral phenomena such as corruption,
traditionally a domain of economists and political scientists (Abbink, 2000; Armantier & Boly, 2008; Frank &
Schulze, 2000). Its contribution can involve elucidating controlling variables of operant behavioral classes that
compose corrupt behavior at individual and cultural levels, thus facilitating the dissemination of the operant
approach to areas primarily grounded in cognitive processes (Agbota, Sandaker, & Ree, 2015; Fernandes & Pezzato,
2015; Goldstein & Pennypacker, 1998). In return, behavior analysis may attain greater visibility and influence the
political process, perhaps to the point of informing public policies (Hursh & Roma, 2013; Thaler & Sunstein, 2009).
Following this path, wider dissemination may yield at least three highly desirable outcomes. First, it can
empower BA scholars in academic and political settings by highlighting the relevance of their research. Second, it
can enhance the impact of their published work among scholars from different disciplines interested in the topics
they treat. Finally, it can expand employment opportunities for behavior analysts based on increased public
acceptance of their approach to dealing with social challenges (Michael, 1980; Normand, 2014; Schlinger, 2014a).
Despite the evident benefits of wider dissemination, however, behavior analysis has a paradoxical history in
this regard, as shown in a detailed historical analysis by Cruz (in press). On the one hand, BA practitioners represent
a growing community with broad international representation (ABAI, 2016) and reputable professional certification
(BCBA, 2016). On the other, since its foundation, behavior analysis has been haunted by the specter of isolation
(Catania, 2008; Herrnstein, 1987; Laties, 1987, 2008; Lindsley, 1987; Skinner, 1987). Isolation occurs inside the BA
community, for example, when researchers from different areas and practitioners are unaware of each other’s
studies, methodologies, and practices (Diller, Salters-Pedneault, & Gallagher, 2014; Elliott, Morgan, Fuqua,
Ehrhardt, & Poling, 2005; Poling, Alling, & Fuqua, 1994; Poling, Picker, Grossett, Hall-Johnson, & Holbrook,
1981). A more optimistic perspective, however, can be found in Virues-Ortega, Hurtado-Parrado, Cox, and Pear
(2014). Isolation also occurs between behavior analysis and general psychology (Coleman & Mehlman, 1992;
Hearst, 1967; Hineline, 1980; Krantz, 1971, 1972). As a consequence, critics of the former have characterized BA as
a closed, restrictive, and even perishing community (Hearst, 1967; Rutherford, 2009; Wendt, 1949), although some
have rebutted such claims (Roediger, 2004). Such isolation strongly influences persistent discussions on BA life
expectancy (Baum, 2000; Carr, 1996; Fantino, 2008; Hayes & Fryling, 2015; Michael, 1980; Poling, 2010; Vyse,
2013; for an entire issue on the topic, see Holth, 2014) and calls for equipping and encouraging behavior analysts to
disseminate their findings more broadly (Bailey, 1991; Freedman, 2015; Smith, 2016).
Recently, ten articles reflecting on the benefits and challenges of disseminating BA research were published.
Becirevic (2014) surveyed respondents on BA social media websites and found many agree that it is imperative to
address misrepresentations and misunderstandings of their field. They failed, however, to indicate any concrete steps
to do so effectively. In response, three experts shared maxims for dealing with BA misunderstandings, e.g., be
evidence based (Critchfield, 2014); draw on relevant sources to craft an effective response (Todd, 2014); and use
strategic approaches, such as determining the context in which misconceptions have emerged and correcting them in
a non-argumentative manner (Zarcone, 2015). Another expert highlighted the importance of high-quality graduate
training in developing communication skills (Schlinger, 2014b).
Another five case studies address the benefits and challenges of publishing outside the box. The authors
provide valuable advice and indicate pertinent publications for BA researchers to consider in disseminating their
findings to a more diverse audience (Morris, 2014; Reed, 2014). One option to reach scholars from different fields is
to publish articles in scientific journals of other disciplines (Friman, 2014b). Another, targeting an even broader
readership, is to publish books in the popular press that provide a comprehensive panorama of BA principles and
procedures in language that is more accessible than the abstruse jargon that too often marks scientific literature
(Vyse, 2014). Yet another option that could reach both scholars and well-educated laymen is to disseminate BA
advances via general science publications, magazines, and newspapers (Schlinger, 2014a).
General science publications are particularly attractive venues given that their readership is largely composed
of scholars, practitioners from diverse disciplines, and others readers interested in science. It is an effective means of
disseminating behavior analysis empirical discoveries and its philosophical comparisons and contrasts with other
approaches (Schlinger, 2014a).
Among Brazilian general science publications, two merit particular attention: Science Today and Research
Fapesp. The first is published by the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science which constitutes Brazil’s
major scientific society, comprising over one hundred associations from all scientific disciplines. The second is
published by the São Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil’s major scientific research foundation, which promotes
national and international scientific collaboration and funds research at multiple levels, with a budget exceeding
$300 million US dollars in 2015.
Brazil’s BA community is second only to the United States in size, with high-quality researchers that publish
in national and international scientific journals (Todorov & Hanna, 2010). Considering only national publications, a
search of the principal BA journal and book databases (viz., Behavior under Focus
; Brazilian Journal of Behavior
Analysis; Brazilian Journal of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy; Perspectives in Behavior Analysis), indicates
some 450 published articles over the past decade (2006 to 2015). Despite this considerable academic productivity
and initial BA dissemination during the1960s (Matos, 1998), isolation also impacts Brazil (Andery, 2012; Cruz,
Strapasson, & Rebecca, in press; Rodrigues, 2006).
Comportamento em Foco Authors translation.
With this contrast of growth and isolation in mind, it is reasonable to assume that Brazilian behavior analysts
have relevant material to share with a broader audience and could benefit from doing so. Moreover, as previously
indicated, Science Today and Research Fapesp are optimal venues to achieve these ends. Accordingly, the present
study examines BA research published in Science Today and Research Fapesp.
To identify BA articles published between 2003 and 2014, searches of Science Today’s and Research
Fapesp’s online databases were conducted. While two issues from the former (numbers 220 and 297) were not
analyzed due to problems in the database, the remaining 130 and all 132 issues from the latter were analyzed.
Occurrences that did not relate substantively to behavior analysis, e.g., behavior of chemical compounds, were not
Search terms were selected using a Brazilian BA vocabulary index (Teixeira Junior & Souza, 2006). Twelve
commonly used technical terms (behavior, behaviorism, behavioral therapy, cognition, conditioning, contingency,
operant, punishment, reflex, reinforcement, respondent, stimulus control) and four leading researchers (Hull,
Skinner, Tolman, Watson) were selected. In a preliminary phase, the terms were searched in 30% (78) of the Science
Today issues. Only two technical terms (behavior, behaviorism) and one researcher (Skinner) were found in all
retrieved instances. Accordingly, these terms were searched in the 262 issues of Science Today and Research
As a comparative measure, using terms common to psychoanalysis derived from a psychoanalytic vocabulary
index (Laplanche, 2001) and a general dictionary (Houaiss, 2008), viz., psych, psychoanalysis, and Freud
were searched. As an additional control measure, 35% (92) of the issues were then searched using the term
psychology. However, this search did not indicate any publications not previously retrieved using the original BA
and psychoanalytic search terms. The occurrences were grouped into four categories: psychoanalysis Research
Fapesp, psychoanalysis Science Today, behavior analysis Research Fapesp, and behavior analysis Science
Following these analyses, 40% of the reviewed issues (52 from Science Today and 53 from Research Fapesp)
were analyzed to establish interobserver agreement by comparing BA and psychoanalytic occurrences identified by
two independent observers. When a disagreement occurred, it was discussed and the article was included only if
both observers concurred. The rate of agreement was calculated by dividing total agreements by total agreements
plus disagreements, and the result converted to a percentage. The total interobserver agreement for both publications
was 93%, with four disagreements pertaining to psychoanalysis and none to behavior analysis. Regarding the
disciplines reflected in Figure 2, occurrences from 20% of the reviewed issues (26 from Science Today and 26 from
Research Fapesp) were analyzed to establish interobserver agreement. Following the procedure previously
described, the total interobserver agreement for both publications was 98%, with one disagreement pertaining to the
discipline assigned to a psychiatrist that is associated to a psychology department.
Results and Discussion
During the study period, 13 BA articles were published (six in Science Today and seven in Research Fapesp).
Figure 1 depicts the cumulative number of publications involving the selected terms over the study period for each
category. In regard to the six articles published in Science Today, two were published in the section titled
Memory”, which is devoted to discussions about significant scientific events. The first notes the importance of
Pavlov’s findings on respondent conditioning in development of the experimental analysis of behavior (Pessoti,
2003). The second offers reflections on the impact that Watson’s manifest (Watson, 1913) had on rejection of
introspection and development of alternative methodologies to investigate psychological phenomena in an objective,
and experimental fashion (Cirino, 2013). Another is a letter to the editor written by the present study’s first author in
response to a physicist’s article about the limitations of science. The letter elucidates the advantages of identifying
science as the behavior of scientists in relation to measurable and controllable environmental contingencies (Dal
Ben, 2014).
Insert Figure 1
The remaining three articles misportrayed Skinner’s proposals on language and verbal behavior (Skinner,
1957), while embracing Chomsky’s proposals on universal grammar (Chomsky, 1959). Szczesniak (2004, 2007) and
Balão (2005) present Skinner’s proposal as being grounded in the stimulus-response paradigm, instead of the
multiple-controlled operant paradigm, and developments in verbal behavior analysis (e.g., empirical and theoretical
research published in the journal The Analysis of Verbal Behavior) were not discussed. Although no letters were
published in subsequent issues of Science Today in response to these articles ironically resembling Skinner’s
silence in regard to Chomsky’s criticism, publically addressing such misunderstandings provides an excellent
opportunity to educate authors and readers by correcting published errors and indicating reliable sources of
information (Becirevic, 2014; Critchfield, 2014; Friman, 2014b; Hobbs, Cornwell, & Chiesa, 2010; Schlinger,
2014b; Todd & Morris, 1983; Todd, 2014; Zarcone, 2015).
Regarding the seven BA articles published in Research Fapesp, two were published in the section titled
Research”, which announces scientific discoveries. Zorzetto (2013) reports advances in the treatment of obsessive-
compulsive disorder, in which the use of medication and behavioral therapy is the recommended practice for
changing how a person perceives and acts out the disorder. Zolnerkevic (2013) reports findings from a collaborative
endeavor among Brazilian and Australian researchers on differing abilities to perform simple and conditional
discriminations by diverse species of bees that raise questions regarding the role of survival contingencies in such
An unattributed article (FAPESP, 2004b) pays tribute to Carolina Bori’s labors to establish psychology as a
scientific discipline and profession in Brazil. In so doing, it recognizes her efforts to enhance teaching methods for
spreading scientific critical thinking to the general public, which, she believed, is the primary social contribution of
science. The remaining three articles concern a curriculum to develop children’s social abilities; an open access
digital collection of classical psychology authors, including Skinner; and activities of the National Institute of
Science and Technology for Behavior, Cognition and Teaching, which focus on behavior analysis (FAPESP, 2004a,
2007; Marques, 2010 respectively). Finally, in the section titled “Tales”, a historical fiction about an unhappy
psychology graduate student depicts Skinner’s and Pavlov’s experimental control and basic research with non-
humans as a denial of human superiority and freedom as compared to the concepts of self-realization and personal
freedom advanced by Carl Rogers and Wilhelm Reich (Castelo, 2012).
The number of psychoanalytic articles published during the study period was 6.5 and 14 times higher than
their BA counterparts in Science Today and Research Fapesp, respectively. An average of 4.3 and 8.1
psychoanalytic articles were published annually in Science Today and Research Fapesp. In some years (2010, 2011,
2014 for Science Today and 2014 for Research Fapesp), the number of psychoanalytic articles spiked; however, no
specific reasons for this occurrence, such as a special section or issue, were identified. Psychoanalytic mentions
were present in virtually all sections of both publications (Articles, Interviews, Letters, Memory, Research, Tales,
In summary, during the study period, there was only one published article reporting BA basic research
findings (Zolnerkevic, 2013), one letter to the editor describing BA approaches (Dal Ben, 2014), and two articles
related to BA as a means of clinical and educational intervention (Zorzetto, 2013; FAPESP, 2004a, respectively).
Four of the articles were related to BA history, generally recalling significant discoveries derived from the
respondent paradigm (Cirino, 2013; FAPESP, 2004b, 2007; Pessoti, 2003). On the other hand, Balão (2005), Castelo
(2012), and Szczesniak (2004, 2007) presented misconstrued and outdated information regarding behavior analysis,
but did not receive a single response from behavior analysts. In view of the dearth of published articles on scientific
and technological advancements derived from the operant paradigm, unanswered misinterpretations, and the
disproportion between psychoanalytic and behavior analysis representation, it is reasonable to suggest that behavior
analysts have underused Science Today and Research Fapesp as outlets for disseminating BA research to a broader
Critics might present at least four arguments suggesting limitations to the present study. First, it is possible
that the selected terms did not retrieve all BA and psychoanalytic articles. Second, the study may not provide a
comprehensive picture of BA dissemination in Brazil, given its focus on general science media, while excluding
other dissemination strategies, such as publishing in journals from other disciplines or popular press books. Third,
the topics addressed by the publications analyzed in the study may be unrelated to subjects of interest to behavior
analysis, thus limiting opportunities for dissemination. Fourth, comparing publication of BA and psychoanalytic
research may be misplaced as instances of the latter likely exceed those of the former for several reasons, such as
greater number of researchers, studies, and broader acceptance in the popular culture.
Regarding the first argument, an alternative means of selecting search terms would be to use a word-counter,
such as Coh-Metrix (McNamara, Louwerse, Cai, & Graesser, 2013), which indicates such aspects as concreteness,
imageability, and meaningfulness (Diller, Salters-Pedneault, & Gallagher, 2014). Such tools, however, are not
culturally relevant to Brazil as their sources are based on a culture quite distinct from its own. For instance, behavior
analysis is far more prevalent in America’s popular culture than Brazil’s (e.g., Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory,
Breaking Bad; for a top-10 list see, McColloch, 2015). Furthermore, as previously delineated, the search terms used
were selected on the basis of analysis of relevant indexes and their efficacy was tested in pilot searches.
Concerning the second critique, the authors agree that the study’s data should be combined with data from
other dissemination strategies to provide a broader spectrum of BA dissemination in Brazil. Nonetheless, no
substantive change in the low dissemination scenario presented in this study would be anticipated. As noted, BA
isolation, diversity, and survival are persistent topics of concern (Baum, 2000; Carr, 1996; Fantino, 2008; Hayes &
Fryling, 2015; Holth, 2014; Lindsley, 1987; Michael, 1980; Poling, 2010; Vyse, 2013). However, as previously
mentioned, at least ten articles on BA dissemination strategies intending to equip and stimulate behavior analysts to
augment such scarce endeavors have been published (Becirevic, 2015; Normand, 2014).
In response to the third argument, a random search on any issue of the surveyed publications will reveal
several topics to which behavior analysis could contribute, such as climate change, aging, memory, language, human
development, evolution, and cultural organization. In addition, during the study period, Science Today and Research
Fapesp published articles (numbers 270 and 184, respectively) on autism spectrum disorder, a major topic in applied
BA research, whose contributions to effective interventions is well documented (Foxx, 2008; Hayward, Gale, &
Eikeseth, 2009; Ingvarsson, Cammilleri, & MacIas, 2012; Matson, Tureck, Turygin, Beighley, & Rieske, 2012;
Peters-Scheffer, Didden, Korzilius, & Sturmey, 2011; Rivard, Terroux, & Mercier, 2014; Virués-Ortega, 2010).
Despite this record, however, psychoanalysts were the only representatives of the psychology profession selected for
In regard to the premises posited in the fourth argument concerning disproportionate coverage of
psychoanalytic versus BA research in the general science publications reviewed, three dimensions may help frame
our analysis: the number of Brazilian psychoanalysts and behavior analysts, the academic production of each
community, and the disciplines represented by the published articles. Given that both behavior analysis and
psychoanalysis are psychological approaches that guide professional practice in Brazil, the most direct way to
measure the relative numbers of their practitioners would be to consult the affiliation directory of the Brazilian
Federal Council of Psychology, which regulates psychology as a profession. Unfortunately, the Council does not
record this data, nor does it provide related information such as type of interest group (e.g., such as APA divisions)
that could facilitate identification of their affiliates’ disciplines (Federal Council of Psychology, personal
communication, July 1, 2016). Moreover, while efforts are underway in Brazil to establish a certification process for
behavior analysts, presently there are no well-established certifications for either behavior analysts or
psychoanalysts. Accordingly, as an alternative measure, albeit less reliable, the memberships of BA and
psychoanalytic associations were tallied. For the study period, aggregate memberships totaled 1196 (ABPMC, 2016;
ACBr, 2016) and 1578 (FEBRAPSI, 2016), respectively. In other words, while psychoanalytic membership was
slightly larger than BA membership, the number of members was relatively equivalent, and thus adequate for the
study’s comparison.
Despite their similar numbers, however, it is possible that studies of psychoanalysts are more prevalent in
peer-reviewed journals than those of behavior analysts. As previously stated, approximately 450 articles were
published in Brazilian BA journals over the last decade. A search of the Scielo database
for the same period, using
the term “psychoanalysis yields approximately 500 articles, a number comparable to the figure cited in the prior
sentence. Using these numbers as denominators, the aggregate of peer-reviewed psychoanalytic articles was
followed by 0.33 occurrences in the general science publications reviewed in this study, as compared to only 0.03
occurrences for BA articles.
Although their community size and academic production are similar, it could be the case that psychoanalysts
are more engaged in addressing the public and disseminating their findings than behavior analysts. To assess this,
the disciplines related to all articles reviewed were identified, as depicted in Figure 2. Behavior analysis was cited
by authors of four disciplines, primarily, psychologists (50%) and linguists (25%), and, as noted, in one instance in
an unattributed article. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, was mentioned in editorials (21%) and by authors from 20
disciplines, primarily, psychology (11%) and psychiatry (9%). The marked difference in dissemination across
disciplines is further highlighted when comparing the percentage of articles by disciplines directly related to
behavior analysis, viz., psychology and psychiatry (58%), to those related to psychoanalysis, to wit, psychology,
psychiatry, and psychoanalysis (28%). It is worth noting that most psychoanalytic articles (72%) arise from
disciplines not directly related to psychoanalysis.
Insert Figure 2
As in the Brazilian context, BA and psychoanalytic community size and academic production are similar,
these three dimensions enable us to frame and evaluate the study’s comparison. At the same time, the fact that most
Scielo Scientific Electronic Library Online is the main scientific database in Brazil that includes more than 3,000 Brazilian scientific journals.
psychoanalytic articles were written by authors from disciplines not directly related to psychoanalysis reflects its
broader cultural acceptance. This phenomenon is not limited to Brazil. For instance, in their analysis of thousands of
digital books, Michel et al. (2011) found that Freud was cited more frequently than Galilei, Darwin, and Einstein.
This prevalence provides compelling evidence for the imperative of disseminating the findings of BA research to a
broader audience that extends beyond the comparatively limited readership of scientific journals.
In this sense, as Normand (2014) aptly described, behavior analysis has redefined psychology and redesigned
its experiments. As it has renamed and expanded the vocabulary of psychology, its scientific precision and
specialized lexicon may render dissemination of its research more challenging than that of other psychological
disciplines (Hineline, 1980). Nevertheless, interacting with mass media is an increasing practice within sciences
with comparable rigor and terminology, such as epidemiology and stem cell research (Peters et al., 2008).
If behavior analysts agree that disseminating a scientific explanation of human behavior that enables us to
address social challenges, such as climate change, effectively is a worthwhile endeavor, they are faced with two
options. They can bemoan the fact that popular culture disregards their views and thus perpetuate the isolation
specter, or they can adopt a proactive approach to remedy the situation by disseminating their findings more broadly.
Indeed, as Carr (1996, p. 263) has affirmed, Until we make it clear that we too cherish society's highest values,
speak its language, and are sensitive to its political yearnings, we should expect to be ignored; and, we will be.
Disseminating reliable data and effective interventions that address society’s challenges is a sound way to
gain cultural acceptance. Fortunately, we can climb the shoulders of prominent authors, whose advice is invaluable
in pursuing such an endeavor (Allen, Barone, & Kuhn, 1993; Critchfield, 2014; Freedman, 2015; Friman, 2014a;
Morris, 1985, 2014; Normand, 2014; Reed, 2014; Schlinger, 2014a; Smith, 2016; Todd, 2014; Vyse, 2014; Zarcone,
2015). The reason why Brazilian behavior analysts do not publish outside the box, however, does not lie primarily in
their unawareness of BA isolation, potential media, or dissemination strategies, but in the absence of contingencies
of reinforcement for dissemination. Given the publish-or-perish imperative (Waters, 2004), professors and
postgraduate students, who are in optimal position to disseminate their research, tend to focus on peer-reviewed
publications, i.e., inside the box.
In the spirit of Don Quixote, we could propose structural changes to academic practices that would promote
more universal dissemination. However, the authors believe there are three practical ways to attain this end within
direct reach of Brazilian behavior analysts. First, researchers from other disciplines should be invited more
frequently to BA conferences, as is done in ABAI conferences. Second, discussion of BA isolation and
dissemination strategies should be included in postgraduate curricula. Third, course credits should be awarded for
such dissemination.
The present study indicates that there is ample room for disseminating behavior analysis in Brazil. The
authors strongly recommend that behavior analysts take a close look into contingencies of reinforcement that
promote dissemination and take advantage of the previously cited studies to initiate serious and sustained outreach
outside the box. Although this may prove to be an arduous task, it is clearly worth the effort and will undoubtedly
generate unforeseen dividends.
*An asterisk indicate references for the 13 examined behavior analysis publications.
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*FAPESP (2007, June). Psicologia: Habilidades sociais. Pesquisa Fapesp, 136, 59.
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Figure 1. Occurrences of Psychoanalysis and Behavior Analysis terms on Science Today (ST) and Research Fapesp
Figure 2. Percentage disciplines and sections that where found the occurrences on Science Today and Research
2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
Ocurrences (n)
Psychoanalysis - RF
Psychoanalysis - ST
Behavior Analysis - RF
Behavior Analysis - ST
Behavior Analysis
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O interesse de analistas do comportamento por questões sociais e culturais torna incontor-nável a necessidade de dialogar com outras áreas do conhecimento, a exemplo da Psicologia Social, Sociologia e Antropologia. Isso posto, faz-se relevante explorar o que é dito sobre o comportamentalismo em textos dessas áreas. O objetivo deste trabalho foi avaliar como o comportamentalismo é apresentado na literatura de Psicologia Social, uma área com a qual acreditamos ser relevante estabelecer contato. Analisamos 11 livros considerados obras de referência da área e constatamos que os comentários são em sua maioria opiniões desfa-voráveis e equivocadas. Encontramos em Lane (1981/2006, 1984), porém, uma sinalização pertinente sobre a incompletude da análise do comportamento social. Finalizamos o artigo considerando possíveis estratégias para mitigar tais equívocos ao longo de nossa empreitada de dialogar com outras áreas do conhecimento interessadas por questões sociais e culturais.
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'Behaviorism’ has frequently been object of critics. Even several facts are related to the origin of such critics, specialized literature consider them predominantly as results of mistakes. Our professional experiences also give us great amount of support to this founding of the existence of mistakes concerning this approach. Even the treatment of not well supported critics and mistakes should not be any priority; our compromise with the formation of teachers incites us to establish some comments about this topic. Our work also presents a brief literature revision concerning some works which handle with mistakes related to the approach, produced in a specific educational locus.s.
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RESUMO A ocupação de lugares acadêmicos e institucionais denota a expansão da Análise do Comportamento, entre as décadas de 1940 e 1950. Todavia, é a partir desse momento que a imagem de isolamento da ciência skinneriana é difundida entre adeptos e críticos da área. Neste artigo, esse ambíguo cenário foi analisado por meio do exame histórico da fundação do primeiro periódico da Análise do Comportamento: o Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB). O argumento apresentado é de que a fundação do JEAB denota episódio emblemático de um fenômeno perene na história da Análise do Comportamento, a saber, sua ininterrupta expansão institucional e científica seguida de sua crescente representação de isolamento na comunidade científica
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B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) is one of the most famous and influential figures in twentieth century psychology. A best-selling author, inventor, and social commentator, Skinner was both a renowned scientist and a public intellectual known for his controversial theories of human behavior. Beyond the Box is the first full-length study of the ways in which Skinner’s ideas left the laboratory to become part of the post-war public’s everyday lives, and chronicles both the enthusiasm and caution with which this process was received. Using selected case studies, Alexandra Rutherford provides a fascinating account of Skinner and his acolytes’ attempts to weave their technology of human behavior into the politically turbulent fabric of 1950s-70s American life. To detail their innovative methods, Rutherford uses extensive archival materials and interviews to study the Skinnerians’ creation of human behavior laboratories, management programs for juvenile delinquents, psychiatric wards, and prisons, as well as their influence on the self-help industry with popular books on how to quit smoking, lose weight, and be more assertive. A remarkable look at a post-war scientific and technological revolution, Beyond the Box is a rewarding study of how behavioral theories met real-life problems, and the ways in which Skinner and his followers continue to influence the present.
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Corruption is illegal and universally shameful. Persons who engage in corrupt practices tend to be discreet. This study offers an analysis of metaphors in corruption language based on positive and avoidance contingencies of reinforcement. Our data show that parties to corrupt practices use expressions that accentuate this discreet behavior, whether demanding or offering bribes. Our findings indicate that corruption language can be topographically similar to other verbal utterances, but functionally different when understood in context. Both officials and clients use metaphors to avoid prosecution and social embarrassment. The verbal behavior of the public servant is positively reinforced because he gets a bribe, and the verbal behavior of the client is positively reinforced because he/she receives service or favorable answer to application promptly. However, the payment of money denotes punishment.
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This theoretical interpretive essay aims to provide a radical behaviorist analysis of operational and ethical aspects of the Brazilian “jeitinho.” It can be defined as a behavioral variability shown and maintained by the Brazilians in a context of historical material deprivation as well as governmental and social control. The same behavioral pattern was observed during the first efforts of starting behavior analysis in Brazil. In the 1960s, Professor Keller and his Brazilian colleagues from the University of São Paulo made operant conditioning chambers by hand using improvised items (i.e., birdcages and lunchboxes). We have located some of those first Brazilian conditioning chambers and photo-documented them to use as an illustration of the cultural practice in analysis—combining a double interest that integrates a cultural analysis and a description of the history of the science of behavior in the country. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
The potential impact of behavior analysis is limited by the public's dim awareness of the field. The mass media rarely cover behavior analysis, other than to echo inaccurate negative stereotypes about control and punishment. The media instead play up appealing but less-evidence-based approaches to problems, a key example being the touting of dubious diets over behavioral approaches to losing excess weight. These sorts of claims distort or skirt scientific evidence, undercutting the fidelity of behavior analysis to scientific rigor. Strategies for better connecting behavior analysis with the public might include reframing the field's techniques and principles in friendlier, more resonant form; pushing direct outcome comparisons between behavior analysis and its rivals in simple terms; and playing up the "warm and fuzzy" side of behavior analysis.
The negative perception of behavior analysis by the public, and conveyed in mass media, is well-recognized by the professional community of behavior analysts. Several strategies for correcting this perception have been deployed in the field by organizational behavior management practitioners, in particular, with encouraging results. These strategies include (a) reframing behaviorism in a more resonant format, (b) pushing direct outcome comparisons between behavior analysis and its rivals, and (c) playing up the “warm and fuzzy” side of behavior analysis (see Freedman 2015, in this issue, for a thorough description of these strategies). This article outlines three additional strategies that the author believes will position behavior analysis as a “contemporary science of what works in behavior change.” These new strategies are (a) creating a cohesive, easily understandable framework; (b) personally communicating a more contemporary, sophisticated message; and (c) using technology to achieve scale.
Mischaracterizations of behavior analysis are someone’s behavior, and they should be approached in exactly the same way that behavior analysts approach behavior that is deemed curious, troubling, or self-injurious.
Correcting misconceptions is no work for amateurs. And, by “amateurs,” I mean those who have not read Judith Martin’s Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982) and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936).