Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions
The behavior of scientist is characterized by a common set of assumptions: determinism, empiricism, experimentation, replication, parsimony, and philosophic doubt. Behavior analysts also act under these assumptions in regard to their work in human behavior. Specifically, there are two assumptions that will be focused on during this excerpt: empiricism and replication. Empiricism is the practice of objective observation and measurement of the phenomena of interest (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). In this field of behavior analysis, it is physically impossible to develop a behavioral intervention plan if the individual the plan is based on has not been directly observed by a behavior analyst. In addition to observation, empiricism also outlines measurement. Behavior analyst as well as behavior therapists/ technicians measure data, write it down, and compare data from the beginning of an intervention to the end of a intervention Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions. Measurement is a key asset in the field of applied behavior analysts for this reason. Without measurement, it’s difficult to determine if an individual has progressed or not. Replication is defined as the repeating of experiments. Also, replication includes repeating independent variable conditions within the experiments (Cooper et. al, 2007). Behavior analysis as a field utilizes single-subject design during research majority of the time. During this type of design, the same intervention (or multiple) is repeated on an individual (replicated) to assess the accuracy of the intervention plan.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nded.). Pearson Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions.
Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions
Photo Credit: esoxx – stock.adobe.com
The behavior of the scientists of applied behavior analysis is characterized by a set of philosophical assumptions and attitudes of science. They guide the work of the behavior analyst, including their investigations, strategic approaches, and interpretations of findings.
For this Discussion, you will analyze six assumptions and attitudes of behavior analysis discussed in the Learning Resources—determinism, empiricism, experimentation, replication, parsimony, and philosophic doubt. You will also consider examples of how the assumptions apply to the study of behavior Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions.
- Review the Learning Resources for this week as well as the required weekly media program to gain an understanding of the philosophical assumptions that inform the practice of behavior analysis.
- Consider examples of how the philosophical assumptions apply to the study of human behavior.
- Review the interactive media in the Learning Resources, “Six Assumptions or Attitudes of Behavior Analysis.”
By Day 4 of Week 2
The behavior of scientists, including behavior analysts, is characterized by a common set of assumptions: determinism, empiricism, experimentation, replication, parsimony, and philosophic doubt.
Post two of these assumptions and give an example of how each applies to the study of human behavior.
Read your colleagues’ postings.
Note: For this discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the To Participate in this Discussion link, then select Create Thread to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!
By Day 6 of Week 2
Respond to at least two colleagues’ posts by expanding on each of their explanations of how the assumptions they identified in their examples apply to the study of human behavior.
Be sure to support your posts and responses with specific references to behavior-analytic theory and research. In addition to the Learning Resources, search the Walden Library and/or internet for peer-reviewed articles to support your posts and responses. Use proper APA format and citations, including those in the Learning Resources Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions.
Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained because of your colleagues’ comments.
There are six assumptions and attitudes of behavior analysis, and each can be tied to human behavior. Two of these are determinism and replication. Determinism is a well-known assumption with its definition that phenomena do not happen in a free will and accidental fashion. Instead, it is ‘lawful and orderly’ (Cooper, 2020). In terms of human behavior, it can be looked at from the perspective that every behavior typically has an antecedent that comes before. My training as an RBT has shown that there are some behaviors that do no have one, such as crying without a clear antecedent’, however human behavior is not something seen to appear or occur for no reason. Kids cry when they fall, adults answer questions because they are asked one. Replication is an attitude that entails “repeating condition within an experiment to determine the reliability…increase internal validity….to determine the generality of findings” (Cooper, 2020). I feel that this can relate to human behavior in two ways. Researchers and BCBAs/ RBTs can replicate an experiment to provide answers on the reliability of implementing strategies into their work. The second way I viewed this attitude is that the individuals producing the behaviors may continuously replicate behaviors to determine if the consequence is reliable to thus determine if it is worth continuing to engage in. This may be a completely incorrect view for this attitude however, it seemed like it could flip both ways, researchers and individuals producing the behavior could use this attitude to gather data and answers Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L.. (2020). Applied Behavior Analysis. 3rd ed. Pearson Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions.