Why Reinforcement Isn’t Bribery

Reinforcement is something quite different from bribery, despite the occasional equating of the two in some quarters. Because reinforcement is so important in behavior analysis both theoretically and…

Replication and Another Misrepresentation of Behavior Analysis

No sooner do I write about how neat it is that behavioral psychology has built-in mechanisms of replication in many of its investigations than journalist Andrew Ferguson confuses, indeed, seems to…

Office Worker Health is Under Attack!

Institute’s Note: Our guest commentator, Nick Green, received his M.S. in organizational behavior management at the Florida Institute of Technology and is now a doctoral student in psychology at the…

Seven Tips for Retaining Your Talent

Attracting and keeping your best performers continues to be not only a smart business decision but a very strategic one that all companies invest in. While some believe attracting talent is the first…

There’s No Such Thing as “Human Nature”

Well, of course there is, but “human nature” is not what many seem to think that it is. Human nature is not a thing (see my commentary on “things”) that exists somewhere at our “very human core” that…

Zombies and Resurgence: A Halloween Analysis

Zombies are known as the living dead, creatures that arise from their graves, eat human flesh, and do other disgusting stuff just to stay semi-alive. Even though this is a well-documented phenomenon…

Spooked

This being the Halloween season and all, it seems appropriate to bring up the subject of being spooked. Someone is said to be spooked by a circumstance or situation when they exhibit fear. The person…

Research Replication in Behavior Analysis

Research replication is a core tenant of science. Thus, the surprising recent report that only 60 psychology research studies out of 100 attempts were replicated has raised general concerns about “…

The Naked Truth about Treating Behavior Problems

Institute’s Note: Our guest commentator, Tyler Nighbor, is a doctoral student in behavior analysis at West Virginia University. He earned his M.A. degree in behavior analysis from the University of…

Stimulus Control and the Avoidance of Evils

When a child learns that asking his mother for money results in getting that valued item and that asking his father does not, it isn’t hard to guess who he’s gonna ask. In out lingo, we say that Mom…

Leadership Behavior: Focused Listening

Institute Note: Jamie Daniels is an experienced behavioral consultant who an was a senior member of Aubrey Daniels International for many years, co-authoring with Aubrey Daniels, The Measure of…

Ability is not an Inside Job

On a recent exam, one of my students observed that her rat had the ability to get the reinforcer.” Relatedly, star athletes often are said to have “great athletic ability,” scholars are said to…

The ABCs of Antecedents

Lost to history is the name of the first person who applied the expression “A-B-C” to the relation between antecedent events, behavior, and its consequences.  The expression stuck as a shorthand…

How to Manage Through Uncertainty

If you look around the workplace today, whether your company is thriving or fighting to stay alive, it’s not uncommon to see and feel uncertainty. The instability of the marketplace, vying for top…

The Power of Alternative Reinforcement

There are, in principle, several ways to get rid of unwanted behavior: you can extinguish it, punish it, or reinforce some other behavior in its place. In my experience, it seems that the first thing…

Bad Behavioral Engineering

I am a Francophile. I have great respect for French values, history, cuisine, and culture. But I do not like all things that come out of France. One such thing is the recent whacky idea of placing…

Is “Deskilling” a Threat to Safety in Your Workplace?

Maybe you’ve heard the term de-skilling. It refers to the loss of knowledge or skills on the part of a person as a result of technology doing more of the work for them.  In work environments…

Symptoms, Causes, and Behavioral Enviroscience (a.k.a. Behavior Analysis)

Way back in the 1950s and ‘60s, early behavior analysts waged a war of ideas with the established psychiatric practices of treating behavior problems. Those proto-behavior analysts attacked something…