The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of behavioral reflexivity from a behavior-analytic perspective. Two quotations from behavioral researchers are first considered, and both suggest that behavioral reflexivity is an issue best ignored. The nature of behavioral reflexivity is then examined, in detail, by dividing it into three basic assumptions. This examination suggests that behavioral reflexivity precludes the possibility of finding an ontological (correspondence-based) truth in behavior analysis, and therefore the ontological truth of behavioral reflexivity itself is undermined. If a pragmatic truth criterion is adopted, however, the truth of behavioral reflexivity must be defined in terms of its usefulness in achieving particular goals, and thus the ontological truth of behavioral reflexivity becomes irrelevant. As a starting point for demonstrating the usefulness of behavioral reflexivity, an interpretive behavior analysis of behavioral reflexivity is conducted. This analysis suggests that behavioral reflexivity is produced, in large part, by the contingencies operating in the verbal community that establish responding to one's own behavior, and to "truth," in accordance with the relational frames of HERE and THERE, and NOW and THEN. The analysis is then used as the basis for an exercise for teaching students about behavioral reflexivity. Insofar as this exercise is useful in achieving particular goals, behavioral reflexivity is a true and welcome feature of behavior analysis.
Barnes, Dermot and Roche, Bryan
"A Behavior-Analytic Approach to Behavioral Reflexivity,"
The Psychological Record:
4, Article 3.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol47/iss4/3