Eric Carlson



Eric Carlson

Department Faculty

  • Roles:

  • Associate Professor

  • ABA Program

  • Campus:
  • Los Angeles, CA
Applied Behavior Analysis
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Address Map of 617 W 7th St Los Angeles CA 90017
Office 920B
617 W 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017

I am a California Central Coast native who lived in Massachusetts during most of my years of formal academic instruction. Accidental exposure in my teens to two schools of thought had lasting impacts on my life. I discovered and began religiously reading evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould's monthly articles in Natural History magazine about evolution and selectionist thinking. These articles gradually persuaded me that Darwin “got it right”. Concurrently, I accidentally swallowed a copy of B.F. Skinner's fictional novel of a utopian community, Walden Two, in which problems of human conduct and of sustainably “living the good life” were addressed through experimental application of effective education and contingency management. Subsequent exposure to Skinner's writings persuaded me that his behavior analytic and selectionist explanatory system was fundamentally sufficient to account for complex human behavior. This provided me with two exemplars, one in phylogeny and one in ontogeny, in which a selectionist approach appeared sufficient to explain the marvelous genetic and behavioral diversity that we have here on our planet today. This largely controlled my subsequent academic pursuits in higher education where I was quite fortunate to have outstanding behavior analysts guide my formal academic training in applied behavior analysis and behavioral biology. My undergraduate advisor was Dr. Beth Sulzer-Azaroff, at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, who supported and guided my conceptual focus on the applications of behavior analysis to the manned space program. The resulting senior honors thesis proposed a series of temporally extended behavioral experiments with human volunteers in a confined micro-society, specifically, in the multi-operant human laboratory, housed in the Phipps Clinic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Modified versions of these experiments were eventually conducted by Dr. Joe Brady, Director of the Division of Behavioral Biology at Johns Hopkins, under NASA funding auspices. My Master's work, begun with Dr. Don Hake at West Virginia University and completed with Dr. Andy Lattal after Dr. Hake's un-timely death, investigated factors affecting acquisition of discriminative control by response-dependent and response-independent events in pigeons. My doctoral work in behavioral economics analyzed some reinforcement contingencies controlling “savings” and “self-control-like” behavior of rats living in closed-economy, multi-operant environments, and was conducted under the guidance of Dr. John Donahoe, at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.

I taught experimental psychology at Mount Holyoke College and at Smith College, before returning to California to work as an experimental psychologist at Sonoma Developmental Center. I then directed a catch-up school for academically at-risk students in Southern California and subsequently worked with Kent Johnson and Joe Layng in Seattle and consulted to schools in the U.S. and Canada on the implementation of the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction. In 2001, I returned to the Central Coast where I provided behavior analysis consultation to schools and families. I have served two terms as Professional Standards Chair on the Board of Directors for CalABA.

My other interests include wilderness expedition kayaking , fresh- and salt-water fly fishing and fly tying, and contemplating the implications of the theory of island biogeography. I have completed numerous extended wilderness solo paddling expeditions and have also lead small groups of paddlers on extended wilderness kayaking trips through the Everglades and Florida Keys, along the coast of Maine, along the coral reefs of Belize, among the temperate rain forest islands of coastal British Columbia, and on both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez sides of Baja California. I am active supporter of various environmental conservation groups, including Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, NRDC, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited, Western Rivers Conservancy,,, and so on.

Education History
Degree Institution
B.A. University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
M.A. West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
Professional Memberships
Role Organization
Member Association for Behavior Analysis International
Member California Association for Behavior Analysis
Board Certified Behavior Analyst- Doctoral
Areas of Expertise
Area Expertise
Applied Behavior Analysis Academic Skills
Education/Special Education
Instructional Design
Verbal Behavior/Language Acquisition
Autism/Developmental Disorders Applied Behavior Analysis
Child & Adolescent Development Learning/Learning Disabilities
Clinical Psychology / Mental Health ADD/ADHD
Learning Disabilities
Psychology Subdisciplines - Applied Behavior Analysis
Subdisciplines - Educational Psychology
School Psychology Academic Interventions
Systems Change
Therapeutic/Theoretical Orientation Radical Behaviorism