The Practice Paper is intended to give you a trial run through the paper-writing and
grading process, with some of the decision-making and work already done for you.
It will allow me to get a look at the mechanics of your writing (the easiest thing to
fix, yet often the biggest factor in bringing down a grade), as well as your
comprehension (of a topic that has given many students difficulty in past
semesters), ability to glean good information from sources and express it in your
You must use at least five of the sources from our first five folders of readings (there
are over a dozen sources in total there, so there is still quite a bit of choice
available), and you may feel free to add sources of your own (from other classes,
other reading you have done, or a quick search—there is no need to do a thorough
and lengthy search, because many good sources are already provided for you, and
besides, that is not the purpose of this paper).
As well as a selection of sources, your topic has already been chosen for you.
will examine Skinner’s (and Radical Behaviorism as a whole’s) views on what
the rest of psychology calls your “mind”. In these readings, and in class, you
will see that we (behaviorists) do not simply translate mentalistic concepts
into our own vocabulary, nor do we simply deny that people think, feel,
remember, and the like. We have a completely different analysis; your job is
to evaluate that different worldview.
You may agree or disagree with it, but you
must present it accurately, and not simply knock down a strawman version.
I’ve even chosen a nice, pithy title for you, so you won’t have to waste time agonizing
over that. Your paper (yes, for all of you) will be titled “Private Behavior,
Explanatory Fictions, and Mental Entities: Has B. F. Skinner Lost His Mind?”
Five pages (not including references, and no need for a title page), double spaced,
APA format citations and references. Due February 15th (Friday, by midnight, via
Blackboard). Blackboard only accepts Word format (.doc or .docx), so save your file
in that format, as <lastname>PP.doc. So, for me, HennPP.doc.
I will be looking at how well you choose and use your sources (even in these pre-
selected sources, some are better than others for this particular topic), at mechanics
(APA format, spelling, grammar, etc.), at demonstrated understanding (do you
misrepresent the authors you use? Do you appropriately use our behaviorist
vocabulary? Do you actually address the assigned topic, and not some unrelated
tangent? Do you properly support claims of fact with solid citations to source?), and
at quality of writing (do you present a flowing narrative, or a series of unrelated
claims, for instance. Do you write in an engaging manner, or a choppy collection of