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Reason and emotion: a behavior-analytic interpretation of recent advances in neurosciences

Recent findings of the neurosciences present an integrated view of the human functioning, one that encompasses the relationships among the great organic systems, between physiological and cognitive states and between reason and emotion. The aim of this paper is to contrast such studies with central aspects of the Skinnerian explanatory system, highlighting the role of relations between respondent and operant processes for an understanding of the interdependence between reason and emotion. The importance of emotional responses and verbal behavior for rational responding and, moreover, for the selection of verbal and non-verbal behavioral repertoire, is discussed. It is argued that the current movement in the neurosciences towards overcoming dualistic views of the human being is compatible with the behavior-analytic approach to overt and covert responses in the context of individual-environment relations.

reason and emotion; operant-respondent interaction; behavior analysis; neurosciences

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