Document Detail

From molecular to molar: a paradigm shift in behavior analysis.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12144313     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A paradigm clash is occurring within behavior analysis. In the older paradigm, the molecular view, behavior consists of momentary or discrete responses that constitute instances of classes. Variation in response rate reflects variation in the strength or probability of the response class. The newer paradigm, the molar view, sees behavior as composed of activities that take up varying amounts of time. Whereas the molecular view takes response rate and choice to be "derived" measures and hence abstractions, the molar view takes response rate and choice to be concrete temporally extended behavioral allocations and regards momentary "responses" as abstractions. Research findings that point to variation in tempo, asymmetry in concurrent performance, and paradoxical resistance to change are readily interpretable when seen in the light of reinforcement and stimulus control of extended behavioral allocations or activities. Seen in the light of the ontological distinction between classes and individuals, extended behavioral allocations, like species in evolutionary taxonomy, constitute individuals, entities that change without changing their identity. Seeing allocations as individuals implies that less extended activities constitute parts of larger wholes rather than instances of classes. Both laboratory research and everyday behavior are explained plausibly in the light of concrete extended activities and their nesting. The molecular- view, because it requires discrete responses and contiguous events, relies on hypothetical stimuli and consequences to account for the same phenomena. One may prefer the molar view on grounds of elegance, integrative power, and plausibility.
William M Baum
Related Documents :
16811503 - Matching to relative reinforcement frequency in multiple schedules with a short compone...
16811613 - Responding in the squirrel monkey under second-order schedules of shock delivery.
24790193 - Controlling phase noise in oscillatory interference models of grid cell firing.
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior     Volume:  78     ISSN:  0022-5002     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Anal Behav     Publication Date:  2002 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-07-29     Completed Date:  2003-03-03     Revised Date:  2010-09-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0203727     Medline TA:  J Exp Anal Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  95-116     Citation Subset:  IM    
University of California-Davis, USA.
Export Citation:
APA/MLA Format     Download EndNote     Download BibTex
MeSH Terms
Conditioning (Psychology)
Models, Psychological*
Species Specificity

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Previous Document:  Contextual control of equivalence-based transformation of functions.
Next Document:  An interdisciplinary community-based clinical experience for beginning students.