The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Operant and Classical Conditioning

The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Operant and Classical Conditioning

The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Operant and Classical Conditioning

The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Operant and Classical Conditioning


This combined survey of operant and classical conditioning provides professional and academic readers with an up-to-date, inclusive account of a core field of psychology research, with in-depth coverage of the basic theory, its applications, and current topics including behavioral economics.

Provides comprehensive coverage of operant and classical conditioning, relevant fundamental theory, and applications including the latest techniques

Features chapters by leading researchers, professionals, and academicians

Reviews a range of core literature on conditioning

Covers cutting-edge topics such as behavioral economics

About the Author

Frances K. McSweeney is Regents Professor and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Washington State University, USA. Cited as one of the most prolific contributors to behaviour analysis journals, she holds both Masters and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. The former Chair of WSU’s Department of Psychology and of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Professor McSweeney is a fellow of ABAI, of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 3 and 25), and of the Association for Psychological Science. Her recent research focuses on short-term changes in reinforcer effectiveness.

Eric S. Murphy is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, USA, and holds a doctorate in experimental psychology from Washington State University. He has published research in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and in 2010 received UAA’s Faculty Exemplar Award for enhancing undergraduate research opportunities. A specialist teacher and researcher in behavior analysis, Dr Murphy is currently leading a study of the variables regulating reinforcer effectiveness.


The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Operant and Classical Conditioning surveys the field of contemporary behavior analysis. the book is organized into four parts. Part I summarizes the basic principles, theories, and physiological substrates of classical conditioning. Habituation, a related fundamental form of learning, is also covered. Part ii describes applications of classical conditioning. These applications include taste aversions, phobias, and immune system responses. Part iii provides a review of the basic operant conditioning literature. Coverage ranges from traditional topics, such as basic operant principles and schedules of reinforcement, to the more contemporary topics of behavioral economics, behavioral momentum, and dynamic changes in reinforcer effectiveness. the final section of the book covers the growing field of applied behavior analysis. These applications range from intensive behavioral treatment for children with developmental disabilities to organizational behavior management to behavior analytic approaches to aging.

We chose to cover the topics of operant and classical conditioning in the same book because the basic principles of these two types of learning are similar. Therefore, an understanding of one type of conditioning can contribute to an understanding of the other type. As a result, the two types of learning are traditionally covered in a single volume. We chose to cover both basic principles and applications in the same book because we could not leave out either topic without ignoring a substantial part of the current literature on conditioning. in addition, we believe that applications cannot be properly understood without coverage of the principles on which they are based. Likewise, the understanding of basic principles is enriched and enhanced by a discussion of their applications.

There are many potential topics to cover in the broad areas of classical and operant conditioning. the choice of topics for this book is somewhat arbitrary. We have tried to select topics that are broad in coverage and, therefore, interesting to a relatively wide audience. This is particularly true in the section on applied behavior analysis in humans. With the exceptions of the chapters on autism and aging, we have tried to select topics that affect almost everyone, rather than concentrate on treatments for particular populations. We have also tried to select topics in which substantial research progress has been made since earlier conditioning handbooks were published and we . . .

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