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, 42 (3), 397-406

Melioration and Self-Experimentation

Melioration and Self-Experimentation

A Neuringer. J Exp Anal Behav.


Operant researchers rarely use the arena of applied psychology to motivate or to judge their research. Absence of tests by application weakens the field of basic operant research. Early in their development, the physical and biological sciences emphasized meliorative aspects of research. Improvement of human life was a major goal of these young sciences. This paper argues that if basic operant researchers analogously invoked a melioration criterion, the operant field might avoid its tendency toward ingrowth and instead generate a broadly influential science. Operant researchers could incorporate melioration by (a) creating animal models to study applied problems; (b) confronting questions raised by applied analysts and testing hypotheses in applied settings; or (c) performing self-experiments-that is, using experimental methods and behavioral techniques to study and change the experimenter's behavior.

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