Palmer, colloquium, 2010

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Palmer, colloquium, 2010

  1. 1. Psychology Department Colloquium On the Interpretation of Generalized Operants Dr. David Palmer Smith College 3:30 PM Friday, November 19, 2010 1718 Wood Hall Informal Discussion (with pizza), noon, 3715 Wood With bachelor’s degrees in geology and English, Dave Palmer was devoting his post-graduate years to avoiding the draft when he chanced to pick up a copy of Walden Two from a friend’s bookshelf. It changed the direction of his life. He promptly read the rest of the Skinner canon and spent the next decade trying to start an experimental community and preaching radical behaviorism to anyone who would listen. Eventually he took some classes with Beth Sulzer- Azaroff, who urged him to apply to graduate school. Thanks to a dyslexic secretary who entered his undergraduate GPA backwards, he was admitted, and began working with John Donahoe. He was happy in grad school and would be there still if the University of Massachusetts had not threatened to change the locks. He has spent the last 21 years as the token behaviorist at Smith College. During that time he co-authored, with Donahoe, Learning and Complex Behavior. He
  2. 2. continues to puzzle over the interpretation of memory, problem-solving, and, particularly, verbal behavior. He still thinks Skinner was right about nearly everything.

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