parsimony Assignment

parsimony Assignment

Details: For this week’s Discussion, you examined a common set of assumptions characterizing the behavior of behavior analysts. One of those assumptions is the Law of Parsimony. The history and etymology of the word parsimony is from the Latin pars-, meaning “to act sparingly, be thrifty (with), refrain from” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). By extension, the Law of Parsimony posits that given two explanations for a given phenomenon, you should choose the simplest scientific explanation that fits the evidence.

Ultimately, an important purpose for using parsimonious interpretations is to enable a principle of economy when determining where new findings might incorporate into the existing knowledge base of a given field. By way of illustration, consider the following review regarding negative symptoms in schizophrenia. In the review, the authors identify a lengthy list of nearly 20 negative schizophrenia symptoms ranging from different forms of affect issues to poor grooming to asociality. Applying the law of parsimony (referred to as Occam’s Razor in the review) the authors simplified their evidence by stating, “…we propose that while negative symptoms are varied and broad in both their clinical presentation and longitudinal course, they can all be subsumed under the concept of avolition. As the primary construct, avolition translates to decreased functional performance, a hallmark of schizophrenia’s longer-term outcome but identifiable in its earliest stages” (Foussias, & Remington, 2010).

For this Assignment, you will consider why parsimony is an important construct a behavior analyst might use when communicating interventions to a parent or teacher.
Foussias, G., & Remington, G. (2010). Negative symptoms in schizophrenia: Avolition and Occam’s razor. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 36(2), 359–369.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Parsimony. Retrieved February 6, 2021, from
Consider practical ways parsimony might be used by a behavior analyst.
Assignment (1 page)

Write an explanation addressing why parsimony is important for a behavior analyst when communicating a prospective intervention to a parent or teacher. Be parsimonious in your response.
Be sure to support your Assignment with specific references to behavior-analytic theory and research. In addition to the Learning Resources, search the Walden Library and/or the internet for peer-reviewed articles to support your Assignment. Use proper APA format and citations, including those in the Learning Resources.

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