Problems with Psychological Testing for the Behavior Analyst: Issues of Philosophical Dissensions Beyond Semantics
Date of Award
Graduate School of Professional Psychology
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Behavior analysis, psychological testing, assessment, philosophy
The qualification to administer traditional psychological tests is largely privileged to doctoral level mental health providers and represents an important demarcation between clinicians with a doctorate or masters degree. Furthermore, psychological testing has increasingly become an emphasized training standard in doctoral clinical psychology programs. For the behavior analyst, however, traditional psychological assessment is at odds with the philosophical and theoretical foundations of contextual behavioral science and according therapeutic applications. Such odds are not just semantics that can be accommodated with choice of terminology, but rather begin at the level of worldview. Differences in worldview between behavior analysis and mainstream contemporary psychology are discussed with emphasis on major distinctions in relation to language, causality, and science plans, and how these distinctions directly apply to psychological assessment. The paper concludes with a discussion about how the behavioral analyst can approach testing given some fundamental philosophical dissensions that cannot be modified or translated via semantic changes.
Gagnon, Lindsey, "Problems with Psychological Testing for the Behavior Analyst: Issues of Philosophical Dissensions Beyond Semantics" (2015). Doctoral Papers and Masters Projects. 6.