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Fleeing from the elephant: Language, cognition and post-skinnerian behavior analytic science
AuthorHayes, Steven C.
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The present set of papers show that leaders in the field of organizational behavior management are grappling with issues of human language and cognition. That is a good and necessary step for the field, but the solutions proposed are worrisome: adopting principles from non-behavioral psychology, adopting principles from introspection that have not been empirically validated, returning to methodological behaviorism, or appealing to non-empirical interpretations using traditional behavioral principles. In this paper I argue that these are the wrong solutions, being taken for the right reasons. There is a need for an analysis of language and cognition, but it will be found neither in other forms of psychology nor in traditional Skinnerian thinking on the topic. I Suggest instead that OBM look at the data that exists in contemporary basic behavior analysis on the topic, particularly in the area of Relational Frame Theory. That work is a vigorous area of research, and its applied implications are significant, growing, and known to be relevant to organizations. The solution to the malaise these papers reflect is most likely to be found in post-Skinnerian behavior analysis itself. (c) 2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.