Principles of Psychology (Keller & Schoenfeld, 1950) turns 70 years old: memories of an epoch

Carlos A. Bruner


Having studied in the Conditioning program at Queens College from the City University of New York (1972-1981) places me in an unique position to celebrate the 70th birthday of Principles of Psychology. Different from my sporadic contact with Fred Keller, I was in continuous contact with Nat Schoenfeld. During this period I read for the first time their wonderful book. Since an impersonal analysis of the text is impossible I decided to share a few memories from that epoch. One was my obsession to understand the premises of Nat ́s thinking of psychology. I concluded that almost invariably he strived to integrate the known independent variables of behavior on continua that allowed for quantitative variation to produce new knowledge. My second memory is related to the latter and was my discovery of his systematization of established knowledge. This is evident in Principles of Psychology, which emphasizes that behavior analysis is a view of the whole of psychology. The textbook organizes the established knowledge as variations of reinforcement and extinction, with each chapter adding new knowledge to the preceding one. The power of such strategy is evident in the last three chapters on motivation, emotion and social behavior, which are not common themes in behavior analysis.

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Editor in Chief:

Dr. Carlos J. Flores-Aguirre

ISSN: 0185-4534

ISSN Electrónico: 2007-0802