Pre-Unified Separatism and Rapprochement Between Behaviorism and Cognitive Psychology: The Case of the Reinforcer

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Abstract

Psychology is in a preparadigmatic or pre-unified stage of scientific development. Two characteristics of psychology's status are: (1) lack of cumulative scientific growth and (2) experimental-theoretical over-generalization. The reinforcer, as a construct in theories and as a critical element of behavioral change, has been a casualty of the separatism between such factions as radical behaviorism and cognitive psychology. In the end, psychology as a progressive science has been impeded, and psychological practitioners have been left to use intervention techniques that are not the most effective or efficient. In order to improve upon this situation, unification is needed between radical behaviorism and cognitive psychology, among other disciplines. However, the issue of the reinforcer is only one of many areas where such unification should be pursued and attained.

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