Dr. Hank Schlinger Presents: A Behavioral Perspective on Theory of Mind


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Hank Schlinger, Ph.D., BCBA-D

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm eastern (New York)

Recording Availability:

You must register prior to the LIVE event to have access to the video. Video closes 10 days after the LIVE webinar.

Video closes 3/27/21 at 11:59 pm eastern (New York)

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Event Information


This webinar will cover the topic of Theory of Mind (ToM), or perspective taking, from a behavioral point of view. We will begin by describing the initial experiment with a chimpanzee in which the phrase ToM was first used and defined and then provide some definitions of ToM. We then describe the standard tests psychologists use to assess perspective taking, including problems with such tests. Next, we discuss problems with the standard cognitive explanations of ToM in terms of circularity and parsimony. Finally, we talk about a behavior-analytic interpretation of what people speak of as “ToM” or “perspective taking,” with implications for teaching the relevant behaviors to individuals who are said to lack ToM or perspective taking.

Target Audience: Professionals for whom the topic is within their scope of practice. We welcome students and others who are also interested in the topic to join us.


By the end of this event participants should be able to:

1. Recognize who first coined the phrase ToM
2. Identify the standard definition of ToM.
3. Recognize the tests used to assess ToM.
4. Identify logical problems with cognitive explanations of ToM.
5. Identify the most parsimonious interpretation of behaviors said to reflect ToM.


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 80 scholarly articles, chapters, and commentaries in 35 different journals and books, including many on child development. 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 B.F. Skinner Foundation and The Venus Project (https://www.resourcebasedeconomy.org/advisory-board/). 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.


The presenter and/or presenter’s family members do not have financial arrangement or affiliation with any of the products, organizations, or programs mentioned during this talk. Dr. Schlinger receives speaker fees for this presentation.


    • Behavior Analysts earn 2 CEUs (Learning)  LIVE & RECORDING
    • Psychologists earn 2 CEs  LIVE & RECORDING
    • Social Workers earn 2 Clinical CEs LIVE only
    • Certified Counselors earn 2 CEs LIVE & RECORDING (Counseling Theory/Practice and the Counseling Relationship)
    • Not eligible for  AOTA credit hours. You may download a certificate of attendance if your profession is not represented.


Please read the following information carefully:

    • You must attend the entire event to receive credit
    • Must pass post-test with 80% or above and submit all attendance codes
    • For ABAC's continuing education approvals statements please view our Continuing Education page


6:00 pm: Introduction
6:05 pm: Webinar begins
7:45 pm: Q&A session
8:00 pm: Evaluation, post-test and code submission forms