Functional relations and cognitive psychology: Lessons from human performance and animal research

Authors:
Robert W. Proctor, Peter J. Urcuioli
Published Online:
24 Jun 2015
DOI:
10.1002/ijop.12182
Pages:
58–63
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 51 Issue 1

Additional Options

We consider requirements for effective interdisciplinary communication and explore alternative interpretations of “building bridges between functional and cognitive psychology.” If the bridges are intended to connect radical behaviourism and cognitive psychology, or functional contextualism and cognitive psychology, the efforts are unlikely to be successful. But if the bridges are intended to connect functional relationships and cognitive theory, no construction is needed because the bridges already exist within cognitive psychology. We use human performance and animal research to illustrate the latter point and to counter the claim that the functional approach is unique in offering a close relationship between science and practice. Effective communication will be enhanced and, indeed, may only occur if the goal of functional contextualism extends beyond just “the advancement of functional contextual cognitive and behavioral science and practice” to “the advancement of cognitive and behavioral science and practice” without restriction.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science