Cognition, Creativity, and Behavior: Selected Essays

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This diverse set of essays traces Epstein's experimental and theoretical work over a 15 year period. Four of the essays were coauthored by the eminent psychologist B.F. Skinner. The book demonstrates how the scientific study of behavior can increase our understanding and effectiveness in many domains: creativity and innovation, parenting, artificial intelligence, self-improvement, and even world peace. Reviewers have praised the volume as an impressive effort by one of America's most notable psychologists.

Epstein's goals in writing this book were (a) to present some relatively interesting papers that can stand alone and (b) to organize and edit them so that sections have some integrity and so that the overall volume paints a fairly consistent picture of his evolving views on cognition, creativity, and behavior. Parts I and II focus on generativity research and theory and on some Columban (pigeon) simulations of human behavior, and Part III includes some related laboratory studies. Part IV is concerned with efforts to create a comprehensive science of behavior, and Part V includes essays about Skinner, one of the principle architects of behaviorism. Part VI includes forays into artifical intelligence, child rearing, categorization research, and other topics, and Part VII takes the volume to some uncertain reflections on growing older, and to a modest proposal for a day of world peace.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[I]t is an interesting collection for those who are interested in the experimental study of behavior and the role Skinner has played in its development."


Metapsychology: Mental Health Net

A collection of 34 previously published essays that traces psychologist Epstein's experimental and theoretical work over a 15- year period. Four of the essays were coauthored by B.F. Skinner. The first sections focus on generativity research and theory and on some "Columban" (pigeon) simulations of human behavior. The next sections cover efforts to create a comprehensive science of behavior; essays about Skinner; and forays into artificial intelligence, child rearing, categorization research, and other topics. The volume concludes with some reflections on growing older and a proposal for a day of world peace. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275944520
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 378
  • Lexile: 1230L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT EPSTEIN received his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

1 Just How Predictable Is Human Behavior? 3
2 Generativity Theory and Creativity 13
3 Bringing Cognition and Creativity into the Behavioral Laboratory 37
4 How to Get a Great Idea 51
5 Symbolic Communication Between Two Pigeons (Columbia livia domestica) 63
6 "Self-Awareness" in the Pigeon 69
7 The Spontaneous Use of Memoranda by Pigeons 73
8 The Spontaneous Use of a Tool by a Pigeon 77
9 "Insight" in the Pigeon: Antecedents and Determinants of an Intelligent Performance 83
10 The Spontaneous Interconnection of Three Repertoires 89
11 The Spontaneous Interconnections of Four Repertoires 99
12 Simulation Research in the Analysis of Behavior 107
13 Resurgence of Responding after the Cessation of Response-Independent Reinforcement 125
14 Resurgence of Previously Reinforced Behavior During Extinction 131
15 Extinction-Induced Resurgence: Preliminary Investigations and Possible Applications 137
16 Spontaneous and Deferred Imitation in the Pigeon 147
17 An Effect of Immediate Reinforcement and Delayed Punishment, with Possible Implications for Self-Control 153
18 The Case for Praxics 165
19 Why the Devotion to Behaviorism? 189
20 Final Comments on Praxics 193
21 Our Most Unforgetabble Character 201
22 Behaviorist at Fifty 207
23 Skinner, Creativity, and the Problem of Spontaneous Behavior 209
24 In the Yellow Wood 223
25 The Myth of Categorization 229
26 The Principle of Parsimony and Some Applications in Psychology 237
27 The Positive Side Effects of Reinforcement 247
28 Should You Punish Your Child? 255
29 The Quest for the Thinking Computer 267
30 The Self-Concept and Other Daemons 279
31 Growing Older, or What Else I Learned in Graduate School 303
32 Another Breakthrough in Data Interpretation at Harvard 307
33 Why the Cognitivists Hate the Behaviorists: The Pecker-Envy Hypothesis 309
34 A Day of Peace on Earth 313
References 315
Index 345
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