Kenneth Jacobs, Robert Isenhower, and Linda Hayes propose an original conceptual take on the issue of public and private events in psychology. The authors point out that in Skinner’s writings, and behavior analysis generally, the origin of private events, their controlling variables, and predictive utility remain to be determined. Thus, the authors offer an alternative multiscale account of private events based on biology and motor behavior. The proposal attempts to solve a possible incongruency in behavior analysis which may ultimately be a pseudo-problem: the distinction between public and private events.
From the multiscale perspective, the solution lies precisely in analyzing what has been termed “private events” on multiple scales; public and private being two different aspects of the same nature seen at different scales, which have been erroneously categorized as “accessible” or “inaccessible.”
In arguing for the absence of a real distinction between public and private the authors mention studies on tactile perception of visually inaccessible objects. By manipulating visually inaccessible objects, a subject becomes aware of his hands in relation to the object, and of the object in relation to his hands. It is through this type of experiences that humans learn to describe themselves and to talk about their feelings in relation to corporal states, thus giving rise to the distinction between public and private.
Next, in response to Jacobs, Isenhower and Hayes, Andrés García-Penagos argues that attempting to understand corporal events based on the concept of tensegrity and the principles of fractal geometry is unlikely to solve the issue of private events in psychology because these are hypothetical constructs that overvalue the role of physiological mechanisms. The author asserts that many other conceptual problems must be solved before dealing with the notion of privacy. The theoretical issues that García-Penagos brings up serve to clearly illustrate the importance of the public-private events debate in psychology. Also informative is his discussion of the contribution of behavior analysis, and interbehavioral and ecological psychology to dealing with conceptual issues in the study of behavior.
Hugo Romano Torres reports a study on social and academic adjustment of focal dyads in integrated classrooms. The number of integrated classrooms has increased as a result of initiatives in favor of inclusion and integration of special and regular education. This has revealed that special needs children have more social adjustment problems. Nevertheless, this type of studies is uncommon in Mexico, which has made it difficult to realize the importance and potential benefit of an integrative education strategy. Thus, the study was guided by three hypotheses: students with special needs (NEE) show lower academic achievement than regular students; they are less socially accepted and have fewer social skills; and the degree of social acceptance and rejection of all students stabilizes within six months. Twelve elementary school special needs children participated along with 12 regular students. On two separate occasions children were assessed on an academic achievement, general grade point average, socioeconomic status, social impact, friendship relationships, social acceptance, and social adjustment criteria. After the assessments, the 12 focal dyads were matched such that both members were in the same classroom, scored at the same grade percentile, and were of the same age and gender.
The results confirmed that NEE children had a lower academic achievement than their partners; no statistically significant differences were found between the dyad members in terms of social status, friendship relationships, and social acceptance, even though some differences become apparent when the focal children were compared with regular classroom standards. The sociometric profile ranged around “average”, “rejected”, and “ignored.” In terms of friendship relationships, 40% of the focal children did not have reciprocal nomination friends; and there were significant differences on social acceptance scores between the groups. The use of criteria to rate socio-academic adjustment revealed that a high proportion of the NEE children are extremely vulnerable, and that the level of rejection was fairly stable, which hints to risk for integration problems in the present, and group acceptance problems in the future.
The authors question the use of sociometric procedures as a way to determine social placement, given that social relations derive from characteristics of their home environment which may not conform with standardized conditions, and can hardly be verified through individual nomination procedures. Further studies may benefit from using observational methods and behavioral sociometric procedures.
Maryed Rojas Leguizamón reports on the V International Seminar on Behavior and Applications (SINCA), which took place November 11-13, 2015 at the UNAM in Mexico City. Similarly, Francisco García-Torres y Francisco J. Alós report on the IV International SAVECC Congress on Functional Analysis of Behavior that took place November 26-28, 2015 in Cordoba, Spain. Information on both events is available at:
Conductual has decided to follow the lead of both academic meetings and publish their results, given that their standards correspond with those of this journal, namely, they are non for profit organizations dedicated to spreading knowledge and providing opportunities for young investigators in behavior analysis and interbehavioral psychology.
April 1st 2016