Paul E. Meehl and B. F. Skinner: Autitaxia, Autitypy, and Autism

Behavior and Philosophy 33:101 - 131 (2005)
Paul E. Meehl and B. F. Skinner, two of the foremost psychological theorists of the 20th century, overlapped at the University of Minnesota in the early 1940s when Skinner was a faculty member and Meehl was a graduate student. Though Skinner was well aware of, and influenced by, early 20th century physiology, he eschewed reductionism, developing his analysis of behavior without reference to concepts at another level of analysis. Meehl's theoretical approach transcended levels of analysis, drawing upon data and concepts from genetics, neuroscience, and psychology. In this paper the functional components of Meehl's (1990) "Toward an Integrated Theory of Schizotaxia, Schizotypy, and Schizophrenia" paper are re-formulated substituting autism as the condition of interest. Skinner's and Meehl's theoretical frameworks are integrated with recent findings in genetics and neuroscience in an attempt to better understand the reasons why Intensive Early Behavior Therapy (IEBT) provided to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders produces enduring improvements in social, language, and cognitive functioning.
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