3rd Edition

The New Behaviorism Foundations of Behavioral Science

By John Staddon Copyright 2021
    328 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    328 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This ground-breaking book presents a brief history of behaviorism, along with a critical analysis of radical behaviorism, its philosophy and its applications to social issues.

    This third edition is much expanded and includes a new chapter on experimental method as well as longer sections on the philosophy of behaviorism. It offers experimental and theoretical examples of a new approach to behavioral science. It provides an alternative philosophical and empirical foundation for a psychology that has rather lost its way.

    The mission of the book is to help steer experimental psychology away from its current undisciplined indulgence in "mental life" toward the core of science, which is an economical description of nature: parsimony, explain much with little. The elementary philosophical distinction between private and public events, even biology, evolution and animal psychology are all ignored by much contemporary cognitive psychology. The failings of radical behaviorism as well as a philosophically defective cognitive psychology point to the need for a new theoretical behaviorism, which can deal with problems such as "consciousness" that have been either ignored, evaded or muddled by existing approaches.

    This new behaviorism provides a unified framework for the science of behavior that can be applied both to the laboratory and to broader practical issues such as law and punishment, the health-care system, and teaching.



              Part 1: History

    1. The Psychology of the "Other One"
    2. Neo-Behaviorism and Learning Psychology
    3. The Experimental Analysis of Behavior
    4. Part 2: Explanation

    5. Behaviorist Theory
    6. Radical Theory
    7. Variation and Selection
    8. Behavior-Evolution Parallels
    9. Experimental Methods
    10. What is Rational?
    11. Philosophy of Behaviorism
    12. Free Will, Behaviorism and Utopia
    13. Values
    14. Behaviorism and Mental Life
    15. Cognitivism and the New Behaviorism
    16. The New Behaviorism
    17. Internal States: The Logic of Historical Systems
    18. Consciousness and Behaviorism
    19. Three Domains
    20. Part 3: Behaviorism and Society

    21. Law, Punishment and Behaviorism
    22. The Contingencies of Medicine
    23. Teaching

    Postscript: Alchemy of the Mind


    John Staddon is James B. Duke Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Biology and Neurobiology, Emeritus, at Duke University, USA. He is the author of more than 200 research papers and five books. His research is on the evolution and mechanisms of learning in humans and animals, and the history and philosophy of psychology, economics and biology.

    The New Behaviorism is a feast of clear thinking and deep scholarship, one deserving careful attention by students and scholars in any field who are curious about human behavior - and about why we understand ourselves so poorly. Professor Staddon recasts some of the simplistic notions that launched behavioral psychology in the early 1900s, challenging us to understand behavior in all it glorious complexity while still avoiding the shoddy thinking that has driven investigations of a "mental world" for more than a century. -- Robert Epstein, American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, USA

    B. F. Skinner returned to the public eye after tech companies began to use his conditioning techniques to glue users, expectedly waiting for the next Like, to their social networks. John Staddon offers a deep look into Skinner’s thinking, why he rejected freedom and dignity, how he made pigeons superstitious, and why he believed that human behavior should be controlled. The New Behaviorism provides a well-written and well-reasoned analysis of the potential and limits of behaviourism, new and old. It is a marvellous guide to understanding the uneasy relation between behaviorism and the rest of psychology. -- Gerd Gigerenzer, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

    Behaviorism is a distinctive and elegant philosophy of social science, and the source of many ideas that have entrenched themselves in psychology and everyday conversation. There is no better account of the substance and evolution of this movement than The New Behaviorism. -- Steven Pinker, Harvard University, USA

    The New Behaviorism is quite brilliant: It is frankly the only behaviorism left standing. Staddon never fails to be thought provoking and there is a wry assurance to his written voice which makes him excellent company for the voyage he lays out. This is integrative psychological theorizing of the highest order. -- Clive D. L. Wynne, Arizona State University, USA

    I started John Staddon's book on behaviorism at a fast clip, as befits a reader who has been a behaviorist for over 50 years. But quickly I slowed down because the gems that were offered were too rich to be passed over quickly.  He knows the history of behaviorism and the many notions in other disciplines that affect its rationale. I've seen most books on the topic and this is, by far, the best of all. Most pleasing to me, Staddon provides a path forward through the recent travails of being an animal learning theorist. His presentation of "theoretical behaviorism"  provides a bulwark against many of the criticisms leveled against our endeavors. I thank him for the education his book provides. If you are a behaviorist, your reaction is likely to be the same as mine. -- Alan Silberberg, American University, USA