Why thoughts aren’t causes

Marshmallow MushroomsI was asked this week by a couple of my students why I prefer the behaviour analytic ways of thinking, compared, say, with the standard information processing approaches of cognitive psychology. I’m not a diehard behaviourist, but I do lean quite a bit toward functional contextual ways of thinking, and I’ll be honest and say B.F. Skinner is my all-time intellectual hero. (I’ve also been involved in qualitative research and I teach psychometric scale development, so please don’t write me off as ‘one of them’.)

There is a lot of rubbish spouted about behaviourism, often by people who should know better. Claims that behaviourists deny the existence of internal psychological events like thoughts and emotions might not be ridiculous if you’re thinking about the behaviourism of of John B. Watson, but virtually no behaviour analysts today are thinking about him. Watson’s behaviourism is often called methodological behaviourism and it stands in stark contrast to Skinner’s more recent radical behaviourism. Skinner explicitly was interested in thinking and feeling. Indeed, he wrote an entire book about it (which arguably lead to the falling out of favour of this school of psychology).

Claims that behaviour analysts routinely punish their clients into compliance are simply bullshit. (I’m using the word here in the sense of Harry G. Frankfurt’s classic text where he defines bullshit as making knowledge claims when you have insufficient familiarity with the knowledge domain. So there.)

So what are the main features of modern behaviourism, and why do I think it’s a useful way to conduct science? (I’m going to say ‘modern behaviourism’ to lump together radical behaviourism and closely related philosophical frameworks like functional contextualism.) There are lots of important features. Functional contextualists make the assumption, for instance, that it’s important to very clearly define the scope of the behaviour you’re analysing; since the world doesn’t come already pre-quantised it’s important that we state plainly how we, as scientists are choosing to chop it up.

For me, though, the two most important features of modern behaviourism are these:

  1. Mental events are not considered causes of behaviour. They are simply types of behaviour themselves and are themselves to be explained.
  2. Behaviourists look to be able to predict and influence behaviour. Prediction alone is not enough.

This is the very nub of the difference between much of applied cognitive psychology on the one hand and modern behaviourism on the other. Though I wouldn’t want to over-play it, this difference often leads to quite different interpretations of the same phenomena, and in my view, the behaviourist account is usually more hopeful.

Take the classic marshmallow experiments. You’ve probably heard of them. In a series of experiments in the late 1960s and early 1970s at Standford, Mischel, Ebbesen and colleagues sat children in front of a marshmallow and told them that if they didn’t eat it right away, they’d get more marshmallows later. This is a classic delayed gratification paradigm. If the child can resist, she’s rewarded with even more sweeties. Some kids wait. Some gobble the sweets. Over the years, Walter Mischel and colleagues built an impressive body of work examining individual differences in this ability to delay gratification. For example, in 1988 they published a longitudinal paper showing that “children who were able to wait longer at age 4 or 5 became adolescents whose parents rated them as more academically and socially competent, verbally fluent, rational, attentive, planful, and able to deal well with frustration and stress.” Impressive stuff.

What are we to conclude from such research? Well, the phrase ‘individual differences’ appears many times in these papers. Though the researchers occasionally look at contextual factors, such as whether the children were encouraged to think about the flavour or the shape of the treat, mostly they are clearly describing this phenomenon as a function of some internal ability the child has. And that’s precisely how the media interpret such findings too. Time Magazine, for instance, use phrases like, “show an underlying inability to exert self-control in adulthood.” What does it suggest to us, as applied psychologists and educators? At best, that we should encourage people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and develop ‘self control’. At worst, that some people just don’t have what it takes. Elsewhere in the popular media the findings are interpreted as suggesting that we can develop better willpower techniques if we try really hard to work on our own minds.

Fast forward half a century. Celeste Kidd and colleagues at the University of Rochester repeated the experiment with a contextual manipulation. For some of the kids, the marshmallow experiment was preceded by the experimenter offering some crappy crayons for an art project, saying she’d go and get better ones, then returning empty handed. For some kids, the experimenter followed through. Then, just to drive the message home, in the first ‘adults are unreliable’ condition, the experimenter offered a sticker and said she’d come back with more, better stickers soon. Then didn’t. In the ‘adults follow through’ condition she came back with some awesome stickers.

At this point, your common sense is telling you what happened when the kids were then asked to wait, staring at a marshmallow, whilst the experimenter went to get more. You might imagine yourself in the situation. You might imagine yourself thinking, “she lied before, so she’s lying now”. Regardless of what you imagine happening in the child’s head, the focus of this experiment on the context of the behaviour leads us naturally to different ideas about its implications. We’re no longer thinking that the marshmallow-munching kids show an “underlying inability”. Instead, we realise that kids raised in an unreliable family environment would learn a generalised set of behaviours to take what’s available now, and discount promises of future reward. With this later set of results, we’re imagining all sorts of family-based interventions to help children become more “academically and socially competent”.

Dr Kidd describes herself as a cognitive scientist, so why am I using the excellent work she and her colleagues did as an example of how behaviourism is the best thing since the web? It’s simple. Cognitive psychology took half a century to come up with some robust findings that environmental context plays a powerful role in guiding these sorts of ‘willpower’ behaviours. Dozens of papers and thousands of person-hours have gone into exploring whether this or that personality characteristic is associated with waiting for the second marshmallow. I humbly suggest that modern behaviourism would have got us there faster.

Remember what I said earlier about causality? Behaviourists do not accept mental events as causes of other behaviours. Explanations invoking children’s willpower or other ‘individual differences’ would be complete non-starters for most behaviourists. Any behaviour analyst coming across this phenomenon would immediately have started looking for contextual events, outside of the child’s own skin, that seem to influence the behaviour. These events might have been patterns of reinforcement within the family context. Early on, had Mischel taken a behavioural stance, he would have asked what experimental manipulations to the procedure and to the environment in which the children found themselves would encourage them to wait for the second marshmallow.

B.F. Skinner wrote an almost utopian novel, Walden Two, published in 1948, to show how the application of radical behaviourism could lead to an improved, more harmonious society. The book has been roundly criticised, but I’d like to suggest that Skinner was right in at least one regard. If we look to internal mental phenomena like ‘willpower’ to explain our behaviour we risk developing a very pessimistic outlook on the world where people have simply to put up with their lot in life. If we focus on how external circumstance influences behaviour we immediately start to build ideas of how to support people to develop more useful behavioural repertoires.

Despite the bad rap, modern behaviourism is inherently the most hopeful school of psychology. Perhaps I’m a hopeful psychologist, but it’s this, more than anything else, that draws me to modern behaviourism.

24 thoughts on “Why thoughts aren’t causes

  1. Sancho Sequeira Reply

    I really liked the point of view you are coming from and I would definitely agree with you! I would even argue that modern behaviorism already has literature on this topic. The part that cued me to this was when you said “discount promises of future reward”. I am not sure if you were saying this on purpose or not but this is perfectly describing “delay discounting”. I have been involved with a few research studies involving delay discounting, specifically being measured using an adjusting-amount procedure. Many findings in this field have found that people who have impulse disorders including substance abuse (alcohol, opiates, cigarettes, cocaine) and AD/HD also have a general inability to wait for delay rewards. This “general inability” being measured behaviorally. There is no way to link anything here, but let me know if you want any citations for anything I have said.

    • drleehw Reply

      Hi Sancho,
      You’re right of course. I try to avoid too many technical terms in my blog posts in the hope of attracting ‘the interested laity’ but I should have just used the proper phrase there. There’s a really decent literature on it, isn’t there? I used to teach a bit of it years ago though I’m a bit out of touch now. If you know of any really useful recent review(s), do please send it/them my way. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I’ll be teaching it again!

      • Rob Purssey

        In Walden Two Skinner has entire scenarios where older children are teaching younger children just these exact skills! It’s an extraordinarily practical utopian novel 🙂

  2. Sancho Sequeira Reply

    I really liked the point of view you are coming from and I would definitely agree with you! I would even argue that modern behaviorism already has literature on this topic. The part that cued me to this was when you said “discount promises of future reward”. I am not sure if you were saying this on purpose or not but this is perfectly describing “delay discounting”. I have been involved with a few research studies involving delay discounting, specifically being measured using an adjusting-amount procedure. Many findings in this field have found that people who have impulse disorders including substance abuse (alcohol, opiates, cigarettes, cocaine) and AD/HD also have a general inability to wait for delay rewards. This “general inability” being measured behaviorally. There is no way to link anything here, but let me know if you want any citations for anything I have said.

    • drleehw Reply

      Hi Sancho,
      You’re right of course. I try to avoid too many technical terms in my blog posts in the hope of attracting ‘the interested laity’ but I should have just used the proper phrase there. There’s a really decent literature on it, isn’t there? I used to teach a bit of it years ago though I’m a bit out of touch now. If you know of any really useful recent review(s), do please send it/them my way. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I’ll be teaching it again!

      • Rob Purssey

        In Walden Two Skinner has entire scenarios where older children are teaching younger children just these exact skills! It’s an extraordinarily practical utopian novel 🙂

  3. nancyfromholland Reply

    So if I think “I’ll go to the supermarket” and then go to the supermarket, the thought and event are not causally related? The thought is not the cause of me going to the supermarket? There are ‘simply two types of behavior’? That doesn’t make sense to me…

    • drleehw Reply

      We have the experience that we think “I’m going to do this” before we do it. And we don’t have the conscious experience that neurones in our motor cortex start firing a few nanoseconds before we actually move. We know from neuroscience and experimental work that the neuronal firing ’causes’ the movement in our bodies despite this. Our conscious experiences often aren’t a very good guide to what’s really going on.

      But really the point here is broader. If what we’re trying to achieve as a science is to find ways of helping change the world, then it makes little sense focussing on models where we can’t change the supposed causal agent. Take the example of thinking positively. For years we’ve had study after study showing us that we’re less likely to be depressed and more likely to be happy if we think positively. All this does though is to move the goal posts. The question is now, not “how do we make people happier” but “how do we get people to think positively”. We haven’t progressed. If we look for explanations of behaviour where the causal agent is outside the organism then we’re more likely to find things we can change.

    • Arkadiy Akhtenberg Reply

      Ask yourself why you think “I’ll go to the supermarket.” Might it not be because your fridge might be getting empty (i.e., you need food)? Would you either think that you need to go to the supermarket, or actually go there, if you didn’t need food? The absence of adequate food supplies, in this example, is the cause, whereas the thought about going and the actual getting there, are two behaviors in a chain (series) of behaviors that leads to you getting the food you need. Both the thought and the walking there are together in a class of behaviors related to the reason they occur (absence of food) and the function they accomplish (getting more food). Both behaviors are a response to an event in your environment/surroundings, the fact that you’re running low on food.

  4. Martin Atkins Reply

    Okay, why didn’t behavior analysts take us there faster than cognitive psychologists with the post marshmellow experiments? You just described Dr. Kidd’s work in behavior-speak but Dr. Kidd–not a behavior analyst–ran those experiments. If behavior analysts can predict and control behavior better than everyone else and get us there faster (the claim), why don’t behavior analysts just do it–with marshmallows and other things. Do it; do not just make up stories about why behavior analysts can’t predict and control verbal behavior (which includes popular print/publications and public discussions) and non-verbal behavior.

    • Arkadiy Akhtenberg Reply

      Is it not the case that the publication of scientific journals is a very successful way to affect public discourse? This is as well as any discipline can do in that regard. Some of the journals that publish research which expands on the body of knowledge about human behavior and attempts to give broader audience this information about successful and applicable methods of influencing individual lives and society as a whole, include: Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA), Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB), The Behavior Analyst, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, Behavior Analysis in Practice, etc. Oh, and at least two prominent professional/scientific associations that hold regular conventions, come to mind: The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS). I think a lot of your objections will easily be answered if you review a few articles in some of the aforementioned journals on any subject of your interest. But to give you an easy example of what you’re talking about from my field of interest (clinical psychology), consider that the principles of the standard mental health treatment for phobias (graduated exposure) were wholly borrowed from behaviorist literature. In ABA literature, the procedural components of graduated exposure are better known as shaping (of tolerance), differential reinforcement and escape extinction. That said, please do not consider it unfair for me to put a question to you that is similar to the one you ask of behaviorists. What practical and socially (or individually) beneficial ways of controlling and predicting verbal behavior, have information processing-based cognitive theorists identified and implemented, and to what extent and effect?

      • Martin Atkins

        Thanks for taking the time to write that thoughful response. Behavior analysts have an impressive array of professional journals. My point–poorly conveyed–was the amount of control and perhaps prediction of what will readily disseminate among the public, specifically–among people who are not behavior analysts. For example, if I walk into any Barnes & Noble bookstore, the self-help and psychology book section appears to be primarily controlled by non-behaviorists with very few, if any, exceptions. And most of the behavior or psychology bestsellers (NYT, etc) are written by psychologists, not behavior analysts. Most of the books–very few exceptions–written by behavior analysts sell and appear to be written for fellow behavior analysts or people who use the techniques instead of convincing the public that behavior techniques and principles are practical, effective and important for people to understand and how to use behavior analysis.. Whether or not you prefer reading psychologists, such as Daniel Gilbert, Steven Pinker, Martin Seligman, and Daniel Kahneman–based on availability and sales of books at book stores–have more control of the press (control and prediction of the verbal behavior and other behavior of publishers and people at bookstores).

        What about treatments for depression? Cognitive-behavioral interventions seem to be effective and have cognitive components. However, I really wasn’t as interested in treatment for clinical issues as much as I was common things people have to deal with during their lives–or want to improve.

      • Arkadiy Akhtenberg

        You’re quite welcome, Martin. Primarily, as any self-respecting behaviorist, I would be remiss to take at face value your anecdotal assertion that books written by behaviorists are in low circulation compared to those written by cognitive psychologists. Would you be so kind as to show me some data supporting this? But were this even so, your assertion may not be particularly buoyant, as history is obviously fraught with instances where popular literature was filled with things that on later and closer examination, were mistakes at best. I think you also might have missed that some of the great writing in behaviorism (other than just Skinner’s About Behaviorism, Verbal Behavior, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Walden Two, The Technology of Teaching and Science of Human Behavior) was written for popular consumption and addressed complex personal and social issues. My recent favorite by the way, is The Science of Consequences (Susan Schneider). Behavioral interventions are every bit as useful in addressing the “common” things people would like to improve in (because what you want to change, is behavior!), and I’m not sure why you dismiss the issue of clinical treatment either, as it has quintessential importance to individuals who need the right sort to help address their prevalent problems. But speaking of a model for general behavior change for a person, please look into Stephen Hayes’ (et al.) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

        To sum up, though, if I understand it correctly, the crux of your argument (right or wrong) is that behaviorists are terrible at marketing, preferring to focus on the exploration of the science of behavior in the hope that, much like Darwin’s natural selection (on ideas from which, incidentally, behaviorism is based in large part), the confirmations of predictions that are made, will speak for the validity of the science itself and will result in its adoption generally. What about that do you find at fault, if I may ask? Lastly, don’t you find it a bit paradoxical and circular that you’re arguing against popularization/marketing of behaviorism on a blog attempting to do just that, on the grounds that behaviorism not fantastic at marketing?

      • Martin Atkins

        You wrote, “Lastly, don’t you find it a bit paradoxical and circular that you are arguing against popularization/marketing of behaviorism on a blog attempting to do just that, on the grounds that behaviorism not fantastic at marketing?” You mean I am arguing for the marketing of behaviorism but claiming that psychologists have more books sold at the psychology and self-help sections at the bookstore, and psychologists have more bestsellers on NYT list than behavior analysts. Don’t you find it ironic that you are claiming to support the marketing of behavior analysis and annoy its supporters and are defensive about any criticism of its lack of comparative popularity? (That statement was just a jab back in good jest.)

        Data? I will name Pinker, Kahneman, and Gilbert who are all psychologists who’ve had a bestseller on NYT top 20 bestseller list in the past 5 years–there are others. Now name three behavior analysts in the past 5 years who had a New York Times bestseller–just name one. There were even books about evolution on that list of bestsellers within the past 10 years that weren’t written by a behavior analyst.

        Why are you so defensive? That is the data. The next time I go to B&N, I will randomly grab twenty books off the shelf in the self-help and psychology section and let you know how many were written by psychologists versus behavior analysts.

        I never wrote that clinical issues weren’t important. I am simply claiming that I am not as interested in those issues.

        Your defensive tone reminds me of the tone of people who receive criticiques of their religion. Perhaps the strategy should instead be to shape people’s verbal behavior to statements that are in support of behavior analysis.

      • Martin Atkins

        And I agree with the general approach of focusing on the science and do think that behavior analysis is marketed better to the public today than, say, twenty years ago when most of the language was technical and difficult for anyone outside the field to understand. I think parents getting involved with the treatment of autism may have promoted some of that translation to an educated lay person’s language.

    • drleehw Reply

      You’ve both (Marin, Arkadiy) made some really interesting points. Here’s my direct answer to one of the original questions. “why didn’t behavior analysts take us there faster than cognitive psychologists with the post marshmellow experiments?” Simply put, because there are virtually no behaviour analysts left! Behaviour analysis has been almost entirely ghetto-ised. Only in the last few years, with the development of ACBS have the numbers of those interested in functional analytic approaches been growing again, after dwindling for decades.

      Many undergraduate psychology programmes in the UK now teach dozens and dozen of lectures on information processing models and only four or five on behaviour analysis. The same is true in some parts of mainland Europe. With the exception of ACBS, it’s rather hard to find a behaviour analyst working with humans who doesn’t work exclusively in autism.

      What I left out of my blog post was that it’s my view that mainstream psychology simply ditched the ideas of behaviour analysis too readily. Progress was slow and steady, but, looking back (I wasn’t around then) it looks an awful lot like the problem wasn’t that behaviour analysis couldn’t explain and influence certain domains, rather that the progress was too slow for a young upstart of a discipline. 🙂 Perhaps I’m being unkind, but that’s honestly what it looks like to me, reading the literature from the last seventy years.

      Of course, some information processing cogy stuff is very interested in contextual factors as causes, and to that extent, can help no end in developing useful intervention strategies. My issue isn’t with information processing models per se but with those models from any approach (I’m looking at you, health psychology) where virtually all the variables are intra-organismic and mentalistic. Such models, which posit thoughts as causes, simply lead to an infinite regression. Take the Theory of Planned Behaviour as an example. It posits that “Control beliefs and perceived behavioral control” are in a causal role with respect to physical behaviour. No end of correlational studies have been conducted to lend support to this bit of the theory. Great. We can draw that arrow in with a nice heavy line. So, next puzzle. How the hell do we change “control beliefs and perceived behavioural control”? Well, in some post-1990 versions of the model (at least according to some textbooks) one of the predictors of that set of constructs is “personality”. Great. Makes sense and we have some correlational evidence. Lets draw that arrow in. Now, how do we influence “personality”?

      And on it goes. Forever.

      I have close colleagues who are info-processing cognitivists in orientation. They do amazing work. I was trying to make a simple point here, and did so clumsily: When Chomsky ‘won’ (a very revisionist view of history that), we threw out several babies with just a little bathwater.

      • Martin Atkins

        Drleehw, thanks for the insightful reply about the comments to your blog.

  5. Martin Atkins Reply

    Okay, why didn’t behavior analysts take us there faster than cognitive psychologists with the post marshmellow experiments? You just described Dr. Kidd’s work in behavior-speak but Dr. Kidd–not a behavior analyst–ran those experiments. If behavior analysts can predict and control behavior better than everyone else and get us there faster (the claim), why don’t behavior analysts just do it–with marshmallows and other things. Do it; do not just make up stories about why behavior analysts can’t predict and control verbal behavior (which includes popular print/publications and public discussions) and non-verbal behavior.

    • Arkadiy Akhtenberg Reply

      Is it not the case that the publication of scientific journals is a very successful way to affect public discourse? This is as well as any discipline can do in that regard. Some of the journals that publish research which expands on the body of knowledge about human behavior and attempts to bring this information about successful and applicable methods of influencing individual lives and society as a whole, include: Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA), Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB), The Behavior Analyst, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, Behavior Analysis in Practice, etc. Oh, and at least two prominent professional/scientific associations that hold regular conventions, come to mind: The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS). I think your objections will easily be answered if you review a few articles in those on any theme of your interest. But to give you an easy example of what you’re talking about from my field of interest (clinical psychology), consider that the principles of the standard mental health treatment for phobias (graduated exposure) were wholly borrowed from behaviorist literature. In ABA literature, the procedural components of graduated exposure are better known as shaping (of tolerance), differential reinforcement and escape extinction).

      • Martin Atkins

        Thanks for taking the time to write that thoughful response. Behavior analysts have an impressive array of professional journals. My point–poorly conveyed–was the amount of control and perhaps prediction of what will readily disseminate among the public, specifically–among people who are not behavior analysts. For example, if I walk into any Barnes & Noble bookstore, the self-help and psychology book section appears to be primarily controlled by non-behaviorists with very few, if any, exceptions. And most of the behavior or psychology bestsellers (NYT, etc) are written by psychologists, not behavior analysts. Most of the books–very few exceptions–written by behavior analysts sell and appear to be written for fellow behavior analysts or people who use the techniques instead of convincing the public that behavior techniques and principles are practical, effective and important for people to understand and how to use behavior analysis.. Whether or not you prefer reading psychologists, such as Daniel Gilbert, Steven Pinker, Martin Seligman, and Daniel Kahneman–based on availability and sales of books at book stores–have more control of the press (control and prediction of the verbal behavior and other behavior of publishers and people at bookstores).

        What about treatments for depression? Cognitive-behavioral interventions seem to be effective and have cognitive components. However, I really wasn’t as interested in treatment for clinical issues as much as I was common things people have to deal with during their lives–or want to improve.

      • Arkadiy Akhtenberg

        You’re quite welcome, Martin. Primarily, as any self-respecting behaviorist, I would like to see some evidence that, as you assert, books written by behaviorists are in low circulation compared to those written by cognitive psychologists. Would you be so kind as to show me some data supporting this? But were this even so, your assertion may not be particularly buoyant, as history is obviously fraught with instances where popular literature was filled with things that on later and closer examination, were mistakes at best. I think you also might have missed that some of the great writing in behaviorism (other than just Skinner’s About Behaviorism, Verbal Behavior, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Walden Two, The Technology of Teaching and Science of Human Behavior) was written for general consumption and addressed complex personal and social issues. My recent favorite by the way, is The Science of Consequences (Susan Schneider). Behavioral interventions are every bit as useful in addressing the “common” things people would like to improve in (because what you want to change, is behavior!), and I’m not sure why you dismiss the issue of clinical treatment either, as it has quintessential importance to individuals who need the right sort to help address their prevalent problems. But speaking of a model for general behavior change for a person, please look into Stephen Hayes’ (et al.) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

        To sum up, though, if I understand it correctly, the crux of your argument (right or wrong) is that behaviorists are terrible at marketing, preferring to focus on the exploration of the science of behavior in the hope that, much like Darwin’s natural selection (on ideas from which, incidentally, behaviorism is based in large part), the confirmations of predictions that are made, will speak for the validity of the science itself and will result in its adoption generally. What about that do you find at fault, if I may ask? Lastly, don’t you find it a bit paradoxical and circular that you’re arguing against popularization/marketing of behaviorism on a blog attempting to do just that, on the grounds that behaviorism not fantastic at marketing?

      • Martin Atkins

        “Don’t you find it a bit paradoof cal and circular that you are arguing against popularization/marketing of behaviorism on a blog attempting to do just that, on the grounds that behaviorism not fantastic at marketing?” You mean I am arguing for the marketing of behaviorism but claiming that psychologists have more books sold at the psychology and self-help sections at the bookstore, and psychologists have more bestsellers on NYT list than behavior analysts. Don’t you find it ironic that you are claiming to be marketer of behavior analysis and annoy its supporters and are defensive about any criticism of its lack of popularity?

        Data? I will name Pinker, Kahneman, and Gilbert who are all psychologists who’ve had a bestseller on NYT top 10 bestseller list in the past 5 years–three are others. Now name three behavior analysts in the past 5 years who had a New York Times bestseller–just name one. There were even books about evolution on that list of bestsellers within the past 10 years that weren’t written by a behavior analyst.

        Why are you so defensive? That is the data. The next time I go to B&N, I will randomly grab twenty books off the shelf in the self-help and psychology section and let you know how many were written by psychologists versus behavior analysts.

        I never wrote that clinical issues weren’t. I am simply wrote that I wasn’t as interested in those issues.

        Your defensive tone reminds me of the tone of people who receive criticiques of their religion. Perhaps the strategy should instead be to shape people’s verbal behavior to statement that are in support of behavior analysis.

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