Concepts and Theories

Relation to Scientific Categories
  • Emilio Ribes-Iñesta


The nature of scientific theory has been an exclusive domain of philosophy. Nevertheless, scientific concepts and theories may be conceived as conventional stimulus objects or entities with which individual scientists constantly interact. In the case of psychology, it seems especially necessary to examine the assumptions and characteristics of theories and concepts, because, as Wittgenstein (1953) pointed out:

The confusion and barrenness of psychology is not to be explained by calling it a “young science”; its state is not comparable with that of physics, for instance, in its beginnings. (Rather with that of certain branches of mathematics. Set theory.) For in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion. (As in the other case conceptual confusion and methods of proof.) (p. 232)


Operational Category Scientific Theory Technical Term Ordinary Language Measurement Category 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Austin, J. L. (1961). Philosophical papers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bentley, A. F. (1935). Behavior, knowledge, fact. Bloomington, IN: Principia Press.Google Scholar
  3. Blough, P. (1971). The visual acuity of the pigeon for distant targets. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 15, 57–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ferster, C. B. & Skinner, B. F. (1957). Schedules of reinforcement. New York: Appleton Century Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fleck, L. (1986). La génesis y el desarrollo de un hecho cienttfico. Madrid: Alianza Universidad.Google Scholar
  6. Goldiamond, I. (1996). Perception, language and conceptualization rules. In B. Kleinmuntz(Ed.), Problem solving: Research, method and theory (pp. 183–224 ). New York: J. Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Hanson, N. R. (1971). Observation and explanation: A guide to philosophy of science. New York: Harper & Row Publishers. (Spanish translation, 1977: Patrones de descubrimiento.Observaci6n y explicaci6n. Madrid: Alianza Universidad).Google Scholar
  8. Kuhn. T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  9. Pavlov, I. P. ( 1927, English translation). Conditioned reflexes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Premack, D. (1959). Toward empirical behavior laws. I. Positive reinforcement. Psychological Review, 66, 219–233.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Premack, D., Schaeffer, R. W., & Hundt, A. (1964). Reinforcement of drinking by running: Effect of fixed ratio and reinforcement time. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 7, 91–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ribes, E. (1992). Some thoughts on thinking and its motivation. In S. C. Hayes & L. J. Hayes (Eds.), Understanding verbal relations (pp. 211–224 ). Reno: Context Press.Google Scholar
  13. Ribes, E. (1993). La practica de la investigaci6n cientifica y la noci6n de juego de lenguaje. Acta Comportamentatia, 1, 63–82.Google Scholar
  14. Ribes, E. (1994a). The behavioral dimensions of scientific work.Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, 20, 169–194.Google Scholar
  15. Ribes, E. (1994b). Skinner y la psicologia: Lo que hizo, lo que no hizo y lo que nos corresponde hacer. In E. Ribes (Ed.), B. F. Skinner: In memoriam (pp. 139–174 ). Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara.Google Scholar
  16. Ribes, E. (1999). Teoria del condicionamiento y lenguaje: Un analisis histôrico y conceptual. México: Taurus.Google Scholar
  17. Ribes, E., Moreno, R., & Padilla, A. (1996). Un analisis funcional de la prâctica cientifica: extensiones de un modelo psicol6gico. Acta Comportamentalia, 4, 205–235.Google Scholar
  18. Ryle, G. (1949). The concept of mind. New York: Barnes & Noble.Google Scholar
  19. Ryle, G. (1962). Dilemmas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Ryle, G. (1964). Ordinary language. In V. C. Chappell (Ed.), Ordinary language. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  21. Schoenfeld, W. N. (1966). Some old work for modern conditioning theory. Conditional Reflex, 1, 219–233.Google Scholar
  22. Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms. New York: Appleton Century Crofts.Google Scholar
  23. Skinner, B. F. (1948). ‘Superstition’ in the pigeon. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 38, 168–172.Google Scholar
  24. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: MacMillan. Google Scholar
  25. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton Century Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Skinner, B. F. & Morse, W. H. (1958). Fixed-interval reinforcement of running in a wheel.Journal of the Experimental Analysis of BehaviorJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 1, 371–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Smith, L. (1992). On prediction and control. B. F. Skinner and the technological ideal of science.American Psychologist,American Psychologist, 47, 216–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Turbayne, C. M. (1962). The myth of metaphor. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Wilson, M. P. & Keller, F. S. (1953). On the selective reinforcement of spaced responses.Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology,Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 46, 190–193.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical investigations. Oxford: Basil & Blackwell. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilio Ribes-Iñesta
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GuadalajaraCentro de Estudios e Investigaciones en ComportamintoZapopanMexico

Personalised recommendations