W. Scott Wood: 1940-2006

Article excerpt


This inaugural issue of the Analysis of Gambling Behavior begins on a sad note: Our friend and colleague Scott Wood passed away on November 23, 2006.

An Arizona State PhD under Jack Michael's direction and a longtime faculty member at Drake University, Scott is perhaps best known for his role in transforming the Mid-Western Association for Behavior Analysis (MABA) into the Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA) (see Peterson, 1978). Equally noteworthy is Scott's involvement in creating and then serving as the first editor of The Behavior Analyst (see Wood, 1978).

Scott also had a hand in establishing the B. F. Skinner Foundation. Scott worked tirelessly on these and many other pursuits, and it is a safe bet that without his leadership and wisdom, the field of behavior analysis would have a very different look than it has today. Scott's interest in gaming and gambling behavior took a formal turn in the mid-1990s with an appointment to the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program Advisory Committee. It was at about this same time that a small group of behavior analysts began presenting papers on gambling at ABA. Scott's participation at these early sessions was both inspirational and visionary. Indeed, it was Scott who insisted upon forming a special interest group on gambling at ABA, and in 2001 the BIGSIG (Behaviorists Interested in Gambling Special Interest Group) was formed.

Scott's contribution to the analysis of gambling evolved from his longstanding study of verbal behavior. He was convinced that gambling was fundamentally a rule-governed affair, and that gamblers frequently applied fallacious rules about games of chance that affected their rate and pattern of play. …