The Barrett Initiative works to disseminate information within the behavior analysis community, the neuroscience community, and the scientific community at large that to advance the understanding of the connections between operant behavior and neural activity. In addition to publications, the Barrett Institute hosts a range of virtual and live events featuring researchers from both neuroscience, behavior analysis, and other complimentary disciplines. You can also find us annually at the annual conference of the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), Texas Association of Behavior Anaysis (TxABA), and many other regional, national, and international conferences.

Beatrice H. Barrett Lectures on Brain and Behavior: Paradigm Fusion 

General Information

Dr. John Donahoe

Two Virtual Events:

Talk 1: Behavior analysis and biology: Searching for a principle of behavioral selection

Friday, June 10th, 2:00 pm CDT | Register      

Talk 2: Neural basis of the unified principle of reinforcement and its implications

Friday, June 17th, 2:00 pm CDT | Registration Coming Soon! 

We'll offer free BACB continuing education credits to those attending this event (UNT Department of Behavior Analysis, ACE Provider Number OP-19-3090).


Dr. Donahoe is a Professor Emeritus from the Behavioral Neuroscience Division of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He was an undergraduate chemistry major at Rutgers University and received a doctorate in experimental psychology with a minor in neurophysiology from the Thomas Hunt Morgan School of Biological Sciences at the University of Kentucky. He came to psychology after taking an undergraduate course in physiological psychology taught by Daniel Lehrman, then a new assistant professor but ultimately a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and editor of the Journal of Physiological and Comparative Psychology. Upon hearing that Donahoe intended to pursue a doctorate in psychology, Lehrman’s only advice was to avoid programs influenced by Clark Hull at Yale, then a major figure in the field of learning. Because of financial considerations, Donahoe accepted admission to the program at the University of Kentucky whereupon he discovered that the department was chaired and heavily influenced by one of Hull’s former students. So much for Lehrman’s advice! During his fourth year of graduate study, Donahoe was appointed a Lecturer and subsequently an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department and the Computing Center at the University of Kentucky. Following postdoctoral study at the Center for Brain Research at the University of Rochester, he moved to the University of Massachusetts where he remains until the present time. His primary research interests are the reinforcement process, the acquisition of stimulus control, and the interpretation of complex behavior using neural networks. His research has been supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Mental Health.


Darwin’s work on evolution through natural selection is routinely cited as providing a model for the search for a principle of behavioral selection. However, researchers soon departed from the Darwinian approach of basing the principle on a careful analysis of the observed environmental events and their corresponding observable behavioral characteristics. Instead, for these researchers, the purpose of observing behavior was not to refine the selection principle but to provide a basis for inferences about the underlying processes and structures thought to produce the behavior. This departure from the Darwinian model led ultimately to what is commonly known as the “cognitive revolution” in psychology. Two talks will describe work seeking a principle of behavioral selection and its neural mechanisms. In the first talk, research is described that refines our understanding of behavioral selection and explores some of its implications for the development of complex behavior. In the second talk, the neural mechanisms that implement behavioral selection are described. A synthesis of behavioral and neural research on the principle of behavioral selection makes possible an understanding of the important phenomena of memory and language that are the objects of the cognitive revolution.

Upcoming for Fall 2022:


General Information

Dr. Edward Taub

Talk 1: The relationship between behavior analysis and neuroscience: The great feedback loop
Talk 2:
Behavior analytic methodology and origins of constraint-induced movement: A family of rehabilitative therapies

Times, date, and registration information will be released soon. Sign up for our mailing list above to get updates about these events.


Dr. Edward Taub is a University Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Drs. Neal E. Miller, Fred Keller and Joseph V. Brady were his main mentors. He received his masters degree from Columbia University where he was introduced to the behavior analysis methods he later incorporated into CI Therapy, the family of rehabilitation treatments he developed. He received his doctoral degree from New York University in psychology under the supervision of Dr. Edgar E. Coons. His research has been primarily in the fields of motor control, behavioral neuroscience, behavioral medicine, and neurorehabilitation. Among his major accomplishments is the development of the aforementioned family of techniques — Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (or CIMT) — that have been shown to be effective in improving the rehabilitation of movement in stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy in young children, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological injuries. In recent years the application of the basic methodology has been extended to the cognitive domain: CI Aphasia Therapy (CIAT) and CI Cognitive Therapy (CICT). His body of CI therapy research was named by the Society of Neuroscience as one of the top 10 Translational Neuroscience Accomplishments of the 20th century and one of the 10 “most exciting lines of neuroscience”. Dr. Taub has been President of Section J (Psychology) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), President of the Biofeedback Society of America, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Humboldt Foundation Fellow, and Co-President of the Claude Bernard Club, a research honorary society in the field of applied psychophysiology. He has been on the Board of Directors of four national scientific societies and is a Fellow of four societies. He has received the top awards for his research from three national professional organizations and from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 2003, the research from his laboratory was named by the Society for Neuroscience as being one of the 10 leading examples of translational research in the field of neuroscience in the twentieth century.


Coming soon!

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