A. Charles Catania, Ph.D.






Ph.D. in Psychology, Harvard University, 1961

Research Interests

I am a Behavior Analyst and Experimental Psychologist with special interests in learning, schedules of reinforcement, and the analysis of verbal behavior. Much of my research has been rooted in biology where, for example, experiments on inhibitory interactions among operant classes were inspired by analogous interactions in sensory systems. Parallels between Darwinian natural selection and operant shaping have been relevant to several lines of work, including accounts of language evolution in terms of the functions of verbal behavior.  It has helped me throughout to regard behavior as primary. Organisms evolved based on what they could do; all of their physiological systems evolved in the service of behavior. Thus, any effective science of behavior will necessarily be part of the biological sciences.That science, behavior analysis, has generated a broad range of applications, some of which are represented by the Applied Behavior Analysis graduate track in this Department.

Selected Publications

Catania, A. C. (2023). Prolegomena to any future philosophy of behavior analysis as a science. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 119, 209-230.

Stahlman, W. D., & Catania, A. C. (2023). Faustian bargains: Short-term versus long-term contingencies in phylogeny, ontogeny and sociogeny. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 119, 192-202.

Chomsky, N., & Catania, A. C. (2022-2023) Dialogues on Language and Verbal Behavior, Parts I-IV. YouTube videos, Engrama, Spain.

Catania, A. C. (2017). The ABCs of behavior analysis: An introduction to behavior and learning. Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY: Sloan Publishing.

Catania, A. C. (2017). Antecedents: How behavior analysis selected me. In R. D. Holdsambeck & H. S. Pennypacker (Eds.), Behavioral Science: Tales of Inspiration, Discovery, and Service (Omnibus edition, pp. 541-574). Beverly, MA: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Catania, A. C., Reilly, M. P., Hand, D., Kehle, L. K., Valentine, L., & Shimoff, E. (2015). A quantitative analysis of the behavior maintained by delayed reinforcers. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 103, 288-331.

Catania, A. C. (2013). A natural science of behavior. Review of General Psychology, 17, 133-139.

Catania, A. C. (2011). Basic operant contingencies: Main effects and side effects. In Fisher, Piazza, & Roane (Eds.). Handbook of Applied Behavior Analysis. New York: Guilford.

Catania, A. C. (2005). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): One process or many? Behavioral and Brain Sciences28, 446-450.

Catania, A. C. (2005). The operant reserve: A computer simulation in (accelerated) real time. Behavioural Processes69, 257-278.

Catania, A. C., Ono, K., & de Souza, D. (2000). Sources of novel behavior: Stimulus control arranged for different response dimensions. European Journal of Behavior Analysis1, 23-32.

Catania, A. C., Lowe, C. F., & Horne, P. (1990). Nonverbal behavior correlated with the shaped verbal behavior of children. Analysis of Verbal Behavior8, 43-55.

Catania, A. C., & Sagvolden, T. (1980). Preference for free choice over forced choice in pigeons. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior34, 77-86.

Catania, A. C. (1973). The psychologies of structure, function, and development. American Psychologist28, 434-443.

Catania, A. C., & Reynolds, G. S. (1968). A quantitative analysis of the behavior maintained by interval schedules of reinforcement. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 11, 327‑383.

Catania, A. C., & Gill, C. A. (1964). Inhibition and behavioral contrast. Psychonomic Science1, 257-258

Awards and Honors

OsloMet Honorary Degree

*This article comes up in Norwegian, but if you open it in Chrome, there’s an icon on the right in the space where the URL gets entered that says “Translate this page.”  By clicking on it, those who don’t read Norwegian (that includes me!) can get an English translation.

Charles Catania Wikipedia