College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Translational Research in Behavior Analysis: Historical Traditions and Imperative for the Future

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-2010

Keywords

Translational Research; Bridge Research; the Future of Behavior Analysis; Coordinated Bidirectional Basic—Applied Research

Publication Title

Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

ISSN

0022-5002

Volume

93

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

“Pure basic” science can become detached from the natural world that it is supposed to explain. “Pure applied” work can become detached from fundamental processes that shape the world it is supposed to improve. Neither demands the intellectual support of a broad scholarly community or the material support of society. Translational research can do better by seeking innovation in theory or practice through the synthesis of basic and applied questions, literatures, and methods. Although translational thinking has always occurred in behavior analysis, progress often has been constrained by a functional separation of basic and applied communities. A review of translational traditions in behavior analysis suggests that innovation is most likely when individuals with basic and applied expertise collaborate. Such innovation may have to accelerate for behavior analysis to be taken seriously as a general-purpose science of behavior. We discuss the need for better coordination between the basic and applied sectors, and argue that such coordination compromises neither while benefiting both.

DOI

10.1901/jeab.2010.93-293