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Is punishment an operation or a process? Implications for clinical behaviour analysis

December 6, 2019
11:00 - 13:00
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The Centre for Behaviour Analysis hosts Professor Robert Mellon, Ph.D., BCBA, Laboratory of Experimental and Applied Behaviour Analysis, Department of Psychology, Panteion University of Athens

Robert Mellon is professor of experimental clinical psychology in the Department of Psychology at Panteion University in Athens, where he directs the Laboratory of Experimental and Applied Behaviour Analysis. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and the European Journal of Behavior Analysis. He served as president of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis and is current president of the Hellenic Association for Behavior Analysis.

In contemporary applied behaviour analysis, punishment is defined functionally as a reduction in the frequency of emission of acts of a given form due to their consequences. In contrast, behaviour analysts such as B. F. Skinner, Murray Sidman and James Dinsmoor defined punishment operationally as the consequential production of a negative reinforcer or termination of a positive reinforcer, independent of any effect of the consequence on the subsequent probability of emission of the punished action. The operational definition recognizes the daunting complexity of probable effects of punishment on respondent and operant behaviour, the explicit consideration of which can substantially increase the effectiveness of case formulation and intervention in clinical behaviour analysis. The advantages of such consideration will be illustrated in an interpretation of self-denigration and injury as form of aversive self-control.


Watch Professor Mellon's Seminar here.

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