2021 Fellow of ABAI: Alliston K. Reid

Alliston K. Reid is the Reeves Family Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Dr. Reid received his Ph.D. in 1981 from Duke University, where he studied under the mentorship of John Staddon. Dr. Reid served as chair of the Departments of Mathematics & Computer Science and later, Psychology, at Eastern Oregon University before joining the faculty of Wofford College in 1996. At Wofford, he served as chair of the Department of Psychology and was recognized for his outstanding teaching contributions, being named Carnegie/CASE South Carolina Professor of the Year, and receiving the Governor’s Distinguished Professor Award. Among his notable professional contributions, Dr. Reid served as president of the Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior. In addition to excellence in teaching and service, Dr. Reid is recognized for his influential and sustained contributions focusing on basic questions concerning the definition of operant response units and response chains; skills acquisition; variation and selection; stimulus control, especially response-generated stimuli; resurgence; and timing. His research on functional units, their demarcation by stimuli, and the role of knowledge of results is notable both for its scholarship and its sophisticated quantitative analysis. Moreover, in what has been referred to as a triumph of operant conditioning, Dr. Reid demonstrated the ability of a border collie, Chaser, to acquire receptive language skills. Specifically, it “learned and retained, over a three-year period of intensive training, the proper-noun names of 1022 objects,” and the findings indicate that “Chaser acquired referential understanding of nouns, an ability normally attributed to children.”

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