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Applied Behavior Analysis Blogs



Dead Man Test :Principles and Applications in the Science of Behavior

Patrick S. Williams, PhD

"The dead man test was devised by Ogden Lindsley in 1965 as a rule of thumb for deciding if something is a behavior. The need for such a test stems from the importance of focusing on what an organism actually does when attempting to understand or modify its behavior. My students and I probably remind each other of the dead man test more than any other concept we study. Malott and Suarez (2003, p. 9) characterize the dead man test as follows:


If a dead man can do it, it ain't behavior, and if a dead man can't do it, then it is behavior."






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