How To Think Straight About Consciousness: An ABACGives Webinar Benefiting the World Wildlife Fund – 1/10/19

How To Think Straight About Consciousness: An ABACGives Webinar Benefiting the World Wildlife Fund

Henry D. Schlinger, Jr., Ph.D., BCBA-D

Live Recording Information

  • Date: Thursday, 1/10/19
  • Time: 12:00pm-2:00pm eastern standard time

Recording Information:

  • This webinar is presented LIVE and will be recorded. All registrants have the opportunity to attend LIVE and/or view the recording during the 5 day limited access period that begins the day after the live webinar.
  • Not sure how our recording program works? Read More

75% of the fees from this special ABACGives Webinar 

will be donated directly to World Wildlife Fund

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[pane title=”Abstract and Learning Objectives”]


Consciousness has bedeviled philosophers and psychologists for centuries. Recently, cognitive neuroscientists have been looking for the neural correlates of consciousness.  Some philosophers have even suggested that plants can have consciousness! The problem is, and has been, that there is no agreed-upon definition of consciousness, which is understandable because scholars interested in consciousness treat it as a hypothetical construct. Thus, after centuries of trying, consciousness scholars are no closer to understanding consciousness. The primary objectives of this webinar are to 1) briefly describe the historical and traditional approaches to and interpretations of consciousness; 2) critically analyze those conceptions according to certain errors of logic, including nominal fallacy, circular reasoning, and reification; 3) discuss the implications of those errors for explaining what we speak of as “consciousness” parsimoniously; and 4) offer a functional analysis of “consciousness” in terms of some of the behaviors that evoke the term as a verbal response. The result is a parsimonious approach to understanding what is often spoken of as “consciousness” that does not rely on inferring unobserved hypothetical constructs.

Learning Objectives:

1.  Describe some of the main historical antecedents to the traditional view of consciousness as well as the main components of that traditional view, and how modern consciousness scholars view consciousness.
2. Describe the problems inherent in discussing consciousness in terms of brain processes.
3.  Describe the logical errors of nominal fallacy, circular reasoning/explanations, and reification, and their implications for a parsimonious view of consciousness.
4.  Describe (a) a behavioral approach to consciousness in terms of the actual behaviors involved (i.e., be able to answer the question, What is someone doing when she is said to be “conscious or self-aware”?), (b) why there are quotation marks around “consciousness,” and (c) what we speak of as “consciousness,” in other words, a functional analysis in terms of what behaviors can be observed when we say someone is described as being “conscious.”
5.  Describe how we learn to become conscious of our environment and of ourselves.
6. Describe implications of a functional analysis of “consciousness,” as well as the behaviors that cause us to say that someone is conscious (or self-aware), for example, for artificial intelligence.


[pane title=”Credit Hours Information”]

Continuing Education and Professional Development:

  • Certified Behavior Analysts/Licensed Behavior Analysts: 2 type II CEs  LIVE or Recording
  • Psychologists: 2 CEs  LIVE or Recording
  • Social Workers/Certified Counselors:  N/A
  • Teachers/RBTs/Other professionals: This event may be eligible for continuing education or professional development hours. Speak with a representative at your organization or your supervisor for approval.

For ABAC’s continuing education approvals statements please view our Continuing Education page


[pane title=”Schedule”]

12:00 pm: Introduction
12:05 pm: Presentation begins
1:45 pm: Q&A submit questions for chat
2:00 pm: Posttest, Evaluation and submit attendance codes



[pane title=”Speaker Information”]

Henry D. (Hank) Schlinger Jr. received his Ph.D. in psychology (applied behavior analysis) from Western Michigan University (WMU) under the supervision of Jack Michael. He then completed a two-year National Institutes of Health-funded post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral pharmacology also at WMU with Alan Poling. Dr. Schlinger was a full tenured professor of psychology at Western New England University in Springfield, MA, before moving to Los Angeles in 1998. He is now professor of psychology and former director of the M. S. Program in Applied Behavior Analysis in the Department of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Schlinger has published more than 75 scholarly articles and commentaries in more than 30 different journals. He also has authored or co-authored three books, Psychology: A Behavioral Overview (1990), A Behavior-Analytic View of Child Development (1995) (which was translated into Japanese), and Introduction to Scientific Psychology (1998). He is past editor of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and The Behavior Analyst and sits on the editorial boards of several other journals. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and on the Advisory Board of The Venus Project ( He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University in 2012, and the Jack Michael Award for Outstanding Contributions in Verbal Behavior from the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International in 2015.


Presenter Disclosure Statement

The presenter(s) and/or presenters’ family members do not have financial arrangement or affiliation with any of the
products, organizations, or programs mentioned during this talk.    The presenter does not receive speaker fees for this webinar. All fees are donated.



Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

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Cancellation, missed webinar, and grievance policy information


Continuing Education Option, No CE/General Public option

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