Editorial Vol. 5, N. 1

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The release of the fifth volume of Conductual is also the beginning of a new phase of bi-annual publication, in June and December. The original plan of quarterly releases unfortunately led to short turnaround times for authors and reviewers, which is why the Editorial Team decided to increase the interval between issues. With the new schedule in place, we hope to continue the self-imposed task of disseminating knowledge, free from profit, to all readers. We much appreciate the understanding of our readers.

This volume contains two articles and a book review. In the first article Sarah M. Richling, Linda J. Hayes, Molli M. Luke and David N. Legaspi discuss the aims of science, the object of study, and the purpose of research from the Interbehavioral perspective, and describe the elements comprised in the system’s subdomains.

In the investigational domain, the authors identify aspects related to the definition of a research question that relate to the object of study, personal interests of the investigator, interrelation with other domains, and advances in the field of study. Among the variables that influence such definition are the investigator’s circumstances such as opportunities for publication and financing, and the influence of other investigators. Interbehaviorism does not eliminate these influences and must then start from an analysis that includes them, as well as potential influence from other areas in the domain.

The authors define hypothesis not as something to be proven, but as a guide for the selection of procedures and study samples, which must be representative. They caution of certain risks associated with the use of preparations and instruments merely for ritualistic purpose. The investigators must see themselves as participants in the research as they interact with the subjects. For an interbehaviorist, speaking of dependent and independent variables makes sense in the context of investigation but not in the context of interpretation.

In the interpretation domain, errors in the naturalistic and philosophical understanding of psychological phenomena can lead to diverse problems, and the applied domain must be linked to the experimental and philosophical domains.

In the Interbehavioral approach, application requires a continuous examination of the whole system being careful to refrain from pure utility.

The authors argue that any person, interbehaviorist or not, must have a more comprehensive view of human behavior, and that experimentation must be performed in keeping with their goals as scientists. Descriptions and interpretations must conform to the specific conditions of the investigation, being mindful that our conclusions do not result in overgeneralization.

Interbehavioral research is no different from other research. Instead, it provides a precise account of the ways in which particular aspects of the research relate to the rest of the scientific system and to science in general. When this issue is raised, the analysis is often posed in relation to experimental operations, but interbehavioral research differs on the events chosen for study and on the interpretation of results based on the interbehavioral philosophical assumptions.

In the second article, Héctor Martínez and Eder Espinoza offer an experimental study on the effect of alcohol consumption by rats and its effects on behavioral patterns of variation and stereotypy. The authors discuss earlier research on the effects of researcher-administered alcohol on variation and stereotypy; however, the aim of this study was to test the effect of the self-administration of alcohol in different concentrations. Using a multiple schedule of reinforcement with one variation and one stereotypy component, two operanda recorded the rat’s response sequences. The authors found no immediate effects of alcohol self-administration, but the effects of chronic alcohol consumption in the later phases of the study was one of the main findings of the study.

Finally, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its publication, Felipe Cabrera, Pablo Covarrubias, and Ángel Andrés Jiménez offer a review of The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems by James J. Gibson, published in 1966. In their review, the authors discuss the importance of Gibson’s work for psychology and other sciences, as well as some factors that have limited its impact on the behavioral sciences.

Among the topics of Gibson’s work, the authors discuss the central role that behavior has on perception, the understanding of perception and perceptual systems as activity of the organism in its environment, and as isolated perceptual channels. The authors point to the anti-mentalistic emphasis of the information gathering process in Gibson’s perspective, which leads to the definition of the stimulus detection of environmental invariants. Overall, the authors suggest that a serious consideration of Gibson’s work by behavior analysts might lead to a reinterpretation of behavioral phenomena.

June 1, 2017

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