A Behaviorist Exorcise

Now that Halloween is here,
I’ve a tale to weave, so gather near.

All Hallows Eve would have us believe
From spirits and the like there’s no reprieve.

Alas, it was from just such intuition
That mental causes first came to fruition.

Minds and all their kin, you well know,
Became the agents who ran our show.  

But some were not content.
They continued to experiment.

One guy in particular did declare
“There’s a better explanation: ‘out there’!”

At first, in the lab his time was spent,
Relating response to environment.

When such behavior bent to his explanation,
He moved on to insightful extrapolation. 

Today he stands above the crowd,
Along with others who shout aloud:

“There can a science of behavior be
That from the mental world is ever free.”

Enjoy, my friends, this Halloween,
but on spirits and minds be not keen.

From hobgoblin to cognition
They all invite omission.

Such accounts are but delusion.
Just another Halloween illusion.


Posted by Andy Lattal, Ph.D.

Dr. Andy Lattal is the Centennial Professor of Psychology at West Virginia University (WVU). Lattal has authored over 150 research articles and chapters on conceptual, experimental, and applied topics in behavior analysis and edited seven books and journal special issues, including APA’s memorial tribute to B. F. Skinner.