The Future of Behavior Analysis
Some twenty-five years ago The Behavior Analyst published a paper by David Rider (The Behavior Analyst, 14, 171–181, 1991) titled “The speciation of behavior analysis.” Rider’s thesis was that basic and applied behavior analysis, for a variety of reasons, are destined to become independent species. In a commentary on this paper I pointed out, for example, that scientists and engineers are interdependent, especially at the frontiers of application. I was sanguine about a continuing analogous relationship between basic and applied behavior analysis. However, especially in the last decade, indications are that basic and applied behavior analysis may indeed be emerging as distinct species. I discuss several themes in a review of the “literature of survival” addressing the evolving complex relations between basic and applied behavior analysis, including constraints on training leading to narrow foci of application, our often self-imposed isolation from those with whom we could productively collaborate, and the difficulties of obtaining sufficient support for our science. All these challenges reflect a briar-patch of interlocking contingencies; each one depends crucially on the others and we cannot effectively address any in isolation. Thus solutions will not be easy, but our long-term survival as a coherent discipline absolutely depends on finding some.
Marr M. J. (2017). The Future of Behavior Analysis: Foxes and Hedgehogs Revisited. The Behavior analyst, 40(1), 197–207. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40614-017-0107-8