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BEHP1135: Emotions and Emotional Behavior

Time limit: 60 days
3 credits

$39 Enroll

Full course description

Time: 2 hours, 47 minutes 
Credit: 3 Learning BACB CEs

Presenter: T.V. Joe Layng, Ph.D.

Course Description: Emotions and emotional behaviors appear to be elusive topics. When addressed, they are often categorized as Pavlovian or respondent reactions, the result of physiological changes, as a by-product of social labeling, a by-product of operant behavior or as private stimuli that are the result of derived relations of various types. An alternative approach treats private emotions, including anxiety, as indicators or descriptors—nonspoken tacts—of consequential contingencies. Emotions are treated in a broader context as either basic or social, with the defining differences being the types of contingencies described. Once made public, however, emotions may become “emotional behavior,” maintained by their consequences. Patients are taught to be more sensitive to their emotions and that they are the normal outcomes of consequential contingencies; they are not maladaptive. The approach is consistent with laboratory, ethological, and evolutionary observations and has uniquely provided a successful approach to treating emotional behavior in animals other than human.

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize the four main categories of “feelings” as described by P. S. M. Hacker.
  • Distinguish between the James-Lange and the Canon-Bard theories of emotion.
  • Describe Wittgenstein’s definitional challenge to the study of private experience.
  • Distinguish between methodological and radical behaviorist approaches to emotion and emotional behavior.
  • Define contingency, contingency packages and nonlinear contingencies.
  • Distinguish between James-Lange, Cannon-Bard and Goldiamond’s (-Layng’s) approach to emotions and emotional behavior.
  • Describe the contingencies described by fear and anger.
  • List at least four emotions that describe nearing contingencies.
  • Describe how Panksepp’s research on basic emotions supports Goldiamond’s account of emotions.
  • Describe how changes in contingencies change the outcomes of neuroscience investigations.
  • Explain the implications of Delgado’s work for understanding emotional behavior.
  • Describe how C.A.T. procedures support a contingency analysis of emotions.
  • Explain why the work with reptiles suggests that the basic emotions and the contingencies they describe may be quite ancient.
  • Describe the challenge posed by emotional behavior.
  • Using the Andronis, Layng and Goldiamond study, describe how basic emotional behavior can be the basis for more complex emotional responding.
  • Describe the relation between intersecting contingencies and emotion.
  • Describe the role of comparative degrees of freedom in assessing feelings of isolation or happiness.
  • Distinguish between within-group and between-group degrees of freedom.
  • Describe how contingency matrices can shape dangerous behavior.
  • Describe how to prevent dangerous behavior from occurring.

Keywords: Emotions, private, anxiety, emotional behavior, respondent, Goldiamond, feelings, isolation, bullying, happiness, private events, contingencies, neuroscience, brain

Rating: This course is recommended for BCBAs and BCaBAs with background knowledge of the concepts and principles of behavior analysis.

Access: 60 days from the date and time of registration

Important notes:  Your access begins at the time of purchase, not the time of log in.  Effective July 1, 2022, Florida Tech no longer offers extensions for CE courses; if you do not finish your course and need to repurchase, please contact us.  If you are taking this course to maintain your BACB certification, you will need to write your certification number on your certificate of completion, as the BACB requires that your certificate of completion includes your certification number.


For more information, if you experience problems when registering, or if you need to repurchase a CE please email us at



Refund Policy

No refunds are provided once the course is accessed.

These workshops are presented in partnership between the Florida Tech ABA Online program and ABA Technologies, Inc. ABA Technologies, Inc., is a BACB-approved provider of type-2 continuing education hours (provider number: OP-02-0023)