ON MODELS, BEHAVIORISM AND THE NEURAL BASIS OF LEARNING

Published

Journal Article

The history of psychology is full of disputes among various “‐isms”: behaviorism, cognitivism. functionalism, and many others. Nevertheless, all are unanimous in their opposition to one other ‐ism: reductionism. From Skinner to Simon, there is tacit agreement that behavior (or mind) is a subject matter in its own right that need not, perhaps cannot, be “reduced to” neurophysiology. This consensus has begun to crack in recent decades, with advances in neurobiology and the growth of understanding of the properties of brainlike theoretical systems. What. then, is the status of the study of behavior in its own right? This paper proposes a framework in which realtime theoretical models provide the link between behavioral research and the structure and function of the nervous system. We argue that such models arise most naturally from studies at the behavioral level, especially when the behavior under study depends on context and remote past history, as in learning and memory. We conclude that Skinner was probably right to argue that behavior must he understood in its own right before we can expect to understand brain‐behavior relations. But he was wrong in limiting behavioral science to descriptive laws and catalogs of input‐output relationships. Copyright © 1991, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Staddon, JER; Bueno, JLO

Published Date

  • January 1, 1991

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 3 - 11

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-9280

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0956-7976

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1991.tb00086.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus