New Trends in Behavior Analysis

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(2), 123–124. Reviews the book, Psychology of Learning and Behavior by Barry Schwartz (see record 1979-30008-000). Since the pioneering efforts of Pavlov and Thorndike, the laboratory study of learning in animals has been a central area of interest in experimental psychology. The behavioral principles disclosed by over 75 years of research have formed the groundwork for behavior theories that are now applied to numerous facets of the human condition including education, mental health, business, and the design of cultures. Like its predecessors, Schwartz's text first distinguishes respondent from operant behavior and then proceeds to discuss the topics of generalization, discrimination, and schedules of reinforcement and punishment, largely in the context of operant behavior. The specialist in behavior analysis may find Schwartz's presentation of many contested issues one-sided. Also, Schwartz may have too hastily “decided” a number of important issues. First, contrary to his claims, the preponderance of evidence favors S-S over S-R forms of association, possibly even in second-order conditioning. Despite the above criticisms, Schwartz's book is a generally readable introduction to the psychology of animal learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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