Situational Treatments of Behavior
Arthur F. Bentley
A PRECEDING paper I gave attention to the observability of sights-seen and of certain comparable perceivings, thinkings, and expressings belonging to the field commonly called "conscious." It permitted the tentative localization of such phenomena in regions broader than the anatomies of the organisms most manifestly active in them. It asserted that observation in this form, if once in common use, might lead to a reconstruction of the psychological and sociological sciences. Let us now consider certain recent advances towards this attitude as we find them in the works of Pavlov, Klüver, A. Meyer, Kantor, and Lewin. If comparably important developments go unmentioned through my lack of acquaintance, I can only express my regret.
The commonest and most broadly used name for the phenomena these men investigate is "behavior." Since "psyche" lost its last shreds of respectable status, "behavior" has become the word that stands as fact-indicator for psychology much as "social" stands for sociology. This "social," however, is itself a form of behavior, so that psychology and sociology alike now appear to be dealing with common fact under common basic name, and the outcome should be a final fusion of the two sciences much as physics and chemistry are now fused—unless, indeed, some wider and richer knowledge comes to yield new grounds of distinction.
The word "behavior" has, of course, applications running beyond those of psychology and sociology, as when physicists use it for electrons, or physiologists for genes and cells, but this is no disadvantage to its use. Rather we are stimulated to search for more precise differentiation. We find that if we talk of "psychological behaviors," we are merely using a form of double-talk which tells nothing. We may wisely look to the physicists and physiologists for aid or suggestion. If we do, we shall note that these scientists strive ceaselessly for precision in their localization of the special physical and physiological behaviors they study. They demand of themselves ever more definitely that they be able to put their fingers
(310) on the spot and on the instant of the event, even though thereby they are led to field and wave.
In appraising the five behavioral constructions above listed, we shall follow this hint from physics and physiology, and use as our test the type of localization which the work of each psychologist (though not necessarily his accompanying comment) gives to the behavioral facts he studies. However, we shall not push this test beyond the elementary range of a surveyor's space and an ordinary clock's time. Evidences of spatial and temporal definiteness are all that we seek : if any, then what ? Our assumptions will be: (1) that behaviors are facts; (2) that facts must be isolable in instances if scientific techniques are to be employed in their study; (3) that in consequence it makes sense in the psychological case if we venture to speak of a behavior—of a single behavior—as recognizable, describable, and in some form manipulatable; (4) that in this event we have the right, and are indeed obligated, to ask the simple questions, "Where is this behavior to be found ?" and "When is it to be found ?"; finally (5) that we have the right to expect a rationally-worded reply in a usable form. This is no more than to employ the simplest common sense in a simple situation, so that if "we keep the pig in the parlor," we at least know parlor from pig-pen. We may, if we wish, fortify ourselves by recalling William James's opinion that "the word "I' is primarily a noun of position, just like "this' and "here.' " 
One great step towards localization has been taken in the last generation, but it is only a preliminary. This is the bringing of behaviors down from Cloudcuckooville, and their establishment upon the common earth. "Soul" had enjoyed as its spectacular environments, God, Flesh, and Devil. "Mind"—attritus of Soul—stood closer, but not too close, to earth, performing neatly on a "parallel" trapeze. Both of these were viewed as "at," or "attached to" the body, though not "of" it, so that, when they finally came to earth, this body—the organism—provided a ready home for them. Overt movements, neural linkages, glands, and cerebrums—even cerebral arteries soon were claimed as the very liver and lights of behavior itself. But something went wrong. No matter how busily one talks about these organic items, not a single one of them in its own direct description has ever successfully set forth behaviors in recognizable forms of their own. The result is that we find, now behaviors in the guise of "personalities," and again behaviors in the guise of "whole-organisms," where "person" and "wholeness" are treated as something over and beyond
(311) the organism proper—simulant auras floating off from, or above, or around organic events. The preliminary step—the transfer from "psyche" to earth—has thus yielded no proper localization in the sense of our assumptions, but has resulted instead in psyche-substitutes, referable to the organism, but not describable in its terms.
All such theories of behavior as the above we may call "psychological." In contrast with them we may consider a group, or the beginnings of a group, of theories employing a different type of localization, and these we may call "situational." The differentiation lies in the fact that in this second group the locus of the behaviors no longer is placed in the organism alone. While the differentiation between the two groups is vital, the particular manner just suggested for their naming is merely a convenience of the present paper, and is not indicated or recommended for use beyond.
Situational Behaviors in the Laboratory.—Let us begin by considering experimentation rather than attempts at formulation and construction. First to inspect is Pavlov. He is commonly spoken of as a psychologist, and as such is classified as mechanist and atomist. This was not his own view of the case at all. He regarded himself as physiologist—first, last, and all the time. He thought of his experiments as extending physiology directly into fresh fields of its own; these last three words set forth the essence of the matter. As a physiologist the work of his hands counted much more for him than his voice.
His great inquiry began with a study of stomach secretions
(312) which early won him the Nobel prize. He passed to buccal secretions, and from there—still steadily the physiologist—to the examination of cases in which a dog's stimulation to secretion comes by eye instead of by palate or tongue. Of this step, it is literal and precise to say that Pavlov, the physiologist, not for an instant departing from his physiological footing, crosses the borders of a dog's anatomically specified skin, and experiments with a physiological event which includes phases lying several feet "outside" of the thus specified skin. Our matter-of-fact program of localization requires us to make this direct report, no matter how erratic the statement may seem to those who ascribe behavioral events to the operations of psyche-powered--or psyche-simulant—brains. The anatomical skin now ceases to be the behavioral "skin" in that region of physiological inquiry commonly covered by the word "behavior." If there is a sense in which a physiological event can be given a locus running from "taste-organ" to "muscle-movement," just so surely a Pavlov conditioned reflex may be seen as having its continuously physiological localization in a region running all the way from "meat-powder" or "bell-peal" to "saliva-flow," rather than as being physiological part of the way and something else the rest.
The individual student is of course free to describe Pavlov's procedure as he wishes and to interpret it in his own way; among us all we may have a hundred forms of report. Two of these stand out most prominently : one in which a mentalist's view of a mechanist's space and causation is used as a framework, with Pavlov conventionalized to fit ; the other, in which Pavlov's experimentation is permitted to run its own free course, while the "space" distinctions are allowed to adapt themselves to the experimentally recorded facts. (I repeat: it is Pavlov's procedure, and not his views, or the views of others about him, which I here appraise.) Despite his obiter dicta—and these appeared in motley collection during his long busy career—he was not dogmatically a disbeliever in the "psychical," his language about it being often that of a true believer. The roots of his criticism run deeper than either dogma or dogmatic rejection of dogma. As a scientific seeker, his observation and his repeated report was that whenever he or his associates used psychical expressions for the description of their experiments—speaking, perhaps, of a dog's feelings, wishes, or intentions—they lost precision, and weakened the further course of observation. Hence the fines imposed in his laboratory through a large part of his career where lapses into slovenly expression occurred.
(313) Pavlov's familiar key-words, "conditioned" and "unconditioned," have acquired in translation, it is said, a measure of false coloration ; certainly many of their current applications yield a distortion of the phenomena of inquiry. He tried various other phrasings, such as permanent and temporary, constant and inconstant, inborn and acquired, species and individual, but none of these seemed satisfactory. More and more as the years went on he came to talk in terms of signalling, until finally in his lectures on cerebral activity he set down "signal-reflexes as the most fundamental physiological characteristic of the hemispheres." What is more, this signalization, however crude Pavlov was in his later attempts at its linguistic extension, is much closer as a technique to the outcome of the long line of factual inquiries in Great Britain from Reid to Romanes than it is to the gymnastics of our atomist mentalists on mechanist stilts.
By the side of this development in terms of signalling, two other characteristics of Pavlov's procedure stand forth when we look at it realistically. One is the emergence and steady increase in significance of what he at first called the "investigatory reflex," a name which in mechanistic application lends itself to base ends, but which in Pavlov's hands marked a phenomenon of inquiry which came to annoy his assistants so badly that they labelled it "the enemy," and finally recognized it as neither a "conditioned" nor an "unconditioned" reflex, but as in a classification to itself, where its revolutionary possibilities now begin to appear. The other characteristic is the steady difficulty Pavlov and his followers have had in the use of the words "internal" and "external." The slippery use of such terms by systematizers always leads one to fear
(314) the worst ; but in Pavlov's case the difficulty is the honest laboratory record of phenomena to which the slide-rule of our ordinary language will not accurately apply, with important consequences for the old anatomical "skin" wherever behaviors are in question. Pavlov's scheme of signalizations may be readily brought into close correspondence with Woodbridge 's sights-seen. Both procedures are the type that insist on examining phenomena as they come. Each refuses to accept a shift in wording as an explanation. Pavlov's phenomena are no ganglionic reflexes in physical-chemical report, but processes involving percipient characteristics, cerebrally mediated. If we take sights-seen, etc., as basis for our generic term, then the Pavlov reflex enters association with it as specific process. If we take sights-seen as one process and Pavlov reflex as another (recognizing the terminology as inchoate), the term "signalization" will supply a clue to their further organization, and also to the introduction of still more complex processes arising from them. Interfering with recognition of this intimate correlation is merely the intrusion of the verbal opposition, "subjective-objective," which forces itself upwards from our lower language deeps, often against our best resistance. If sights-seen have suppressed this opposition in one way, and if the Pavlov signalization has suppressed it in another, a critic would seem to fall far short of the reasonable proprieties if he permits its resurgence to lead him to deny the right of broader alliance to the joint victors. For an additional exhibit of behaviors as situational we may examine the laboratory work of Heinrich Klüver. He approaches from the viewpoint of Gestalt psychology, and finds frequent occasion to differ from Pavlov. So much the more striking, therefore are the indications provided in his book, Behavior Mechanisms in Monkeys (1933). His word "mechanisms" stands for "general modes of functioning" (p. 1) which as processes or events can get adequate statement only in terms of a monkey and its situation jointly. Not in his formal pronouncement, but in the detail of experiment and description, he abandons monkey-itself as locus of behaviors. He shows us neither monkey-faculties nor outer-world controls upon specialized monkey-entities, but instead "con-
(315) ditions under which" (p. 328) events occur; "organisms which under certain conditions happen to function in such a way that" (p. 333) ; responses which "occur along certain lines and in certain directions" (p. 345) ; the "this and not that" of the event (p. 347) ; and "properties that become effective" in given situations (p. 355) . In grammatical structure and in direct assertion his sentences leave the behavioral organism with a status apart from environment, and make no further generalization. Factually, nevertheless, they report phenomena which in simple direct description cross the animal's skin, and are of the nature of sights-seen rather than of seeings, or things, or mechanical or other combinations of the two.
In reports made by specialists in animal behavior, even by some of those who employ the simplest of mentalist backgrounds in which to display their work, it is more and more common today to find phrases of "situational" intimation. Consider "behavior in situ,"  and "expressions as they occur in a given type of situation."  Professor K. S. Lashley in his introduction to Klüver's book just cited (p. vii) speaks of "the properties in complex sensory situations," and of "the relational properties of the situations," using phrasings of an older model, but approximating recognition of a situational status.
The Growth of an Attitude.—In his special field, psychiatry, Adolf Meyer holds foremost place in the United States. He is noted for his steady calmness in viewing facts and—what is much the same thing—for his freedom from the psychological clichés which become the reliance of many practitioners. To reënforce his psychiatry he required a psychology. Finding none to meet his factual demands, he proceeded slowly and cautiously, but steadily, over a period of twenty-five years, to develop not a system but rather a working attitude for the guidance of himself and his students. His original stress was upon the organism—whence the name he adopted, psychobiology; it was designed to gain freedom from the fictions of the subjective psychologies. This stress he
(316) still retains, but gradually he has overlaid it with an even heavier stress on the need of freedom from prevalent physiological dicta, as against which his psychobiology has come to yield the "biologic" antidote. Today he observes and investigates the "whole organism" as itself comprised within a wider whole, the very "situations" of its living. His "person" becomes a "functional inclusion of a varying scope of relations reaching far beyond the structural organism;  it is "body in action" in circumstances such that it is a "responding to varying situations" in ways that are "open to observation" as "states of function" which do not exist "without specific "content' " (p. 56). These assertions by Meyer are not the mere protective verbal discolorations which we so often find in works built loosely on scattering foundations. They are careful and positive expressions of his factual approach. "I should emphasize," he writes, "the definitely biological rather than physiological character of the problem. ... What interests us is the functioning in a situation with content of varying bearing upon the life-curve" (p. 68). His term "ergasia," covering "actions, and reactions, and attitudes" (p. 55) is a phenomenal naming of processes on the behavioral level under way in a situation, and as a working attitude goes far towards the suppression of the old pretense that the human epidermis is the most vital line of demarcation in the universe.
Expressions of Meyer's earlier "organismal" view, as he at times calls it, still occur in his writings along with "situational" stresses. Thus: "the reduction of man to singularity and unity" (p. 51), and "the individual organism as the entity" (p. 56) ; but these latter in their turn are offset by the emphatic assurance that "the person and the group" furnish the problem, that "units" are matters of choice, and that when "person" appears as a "unit," it is "personality function" that is meant (p. 70).
Precisely this emergence of the "situational" in the arms of the "organismal" is our great interest and concern. The issues which this emergence involves are now to appear more clearly in the specimens of formally "interactional" and "field" construction which we are next to survey.
Direct Situational Construction: Kantor's "Interactions."— Professor J. R. Kantor has produced what I take to be the earliest of such constructions. His Principles of Psychology, Vol. I, appeared in 1924. A characteristic assertion is : "You do not see or hear unless you see an object or hear some kind of sound" (S, p. 1). This is a type of statement in which, by a slight shift of emphasis from one key-word (such as "you," "see," "object," "kind," or "sound") to another, a startling difference in understanding may result; it gives a good illustration of the difficulties which beset any effort for thorough theoretical construction and expression in this field.
Kantor has variously named his psychology "organismic," "objective," "interactional," "operational," and "interbehavioral," his claim to the first of these names ante-dating that of most others who use it. The first name and the third have been his main reliance, the second and fourth having many rival claimants, and the fifth having but recently been put into use. "Organismic" primarily exhibits psychological phenomena as the ways an organism "acts as a whole" (P, p. 57), while "interactional" primarily specifies that the data are "concrete interactions of organisms and things" (P, p. xvi). Kantor 's construction consolidates these two positions, and he makes frequent use of phrasings of the one form in specification of namings of the other form (thus : S, p. vii).
Even though we may be doing a certain violence to his work, we may for our immediate analysis venture to hold the two apart, since the issue involved is plainly an explicit form of one which we have already seen rising indirectly into prominence in the course of Adolf Meyer's thought.
"Interactionally," Kantor starts with organism and thing (object), setting these over against each other naturalistically, and making the psychological event a correlation, or reciprocal activity, or "function" of the two (P, p. 47, p. 57; S, p. 21, p. 23, pp. 27-32). The participation of the object (in the form of stimulus) is held to be just as essential to the "psychological" as is the participation of the organism (in the form of response). Psychology then is "the study of the interactions of organisms and things, or more exactly the interactions of responses and stimuli" (S, p. 1). We can not undertake here to examine the complexities of interpretation which are possible as to "organisms," "things," "functions," and "interactions," but may only note the form that basic description takes in this presentation.
Suppose a student needs, or imagines that he needs, a sharp specification for the word "behavior," and suppose that as a step towards it he undertakes to establish a "location" for "a behavior" in the simple matter-of-fact manner we have adopted as guide to appraisal. Putting ourselves in the place of this student we shall find that Kantor sets up "interactionally" a "unit" of inquiry which he names the "segment of behavior," that he describes it as "an interactional event," and specifies that it "consists of a single stimulus and its correlated response" (S, p. 21). In Kantor's accompanying text, however, we shall find "organismic" assertions to the effect that this "segment" is "cut" from the "continuous activity of an organism," and also other statements to the effect that the activity, the "something that the organism does," is a response, although such a response is, as we have just seen, one of the two parts, or factors, or termini of a "segment" (S, pp. 21-22). With a fusion of the "organismic" and the "interactional," and with a specialization of attention on the "reactional biography," which was Kantor 's primary field of exploration, we may well believe that no friction is felt as between these two manners of statement. But we have been assuming for our suggested student a further specialization of interest, one which not unreasonably requires him to decide whether "a behavior" (so far as his own work goes) is a "response" or an "interaction," and which requires him further to hold precisely to the one or the other localization after he has once adopted it. Here internal friction may show heat.
We find evidence of this in Kantor's own latest development as he makes it in terms of the "interbehavioral"; he tells us that "the interbehavioral hypothesis signifies that all human phenomena . . . consist of the concrete interbehavior of specific individuals with things"; but also that "interbehavior must be distinguished from the objects interbehaved with."  Here the status of "a behavior" with respect to "an interbehavior," and that of the process "inter" with respect either to a "behavior" or to "an interbehavior'' presents difficulties.
The presence of issues such as this does not at all invalidate Kantor's initiative or procedure. It merely raises further questions as to the safest course to follow in future work. The problems are most annoying in certain regions of conceptual and logical construction where the tendency in inexpert hands may easily be for the "interactional" to lose its prominence and for the "organismic" to acquire some of the characteristics of earlier "psychological" construction. The form of phenomenal unification presented by the observation, "sights-seen," in this region of inquiry is worthy of the strongest consideration.
Direct Situational Construction: Lewin's "Field."—The problem which Kantor attacks naturalistically in terrestrial-geological space and time, Lewin proposes to deal with in a manner he calls "mathematical." He sets up a "field" as the formal frame of his psychological presentation, and for it he seeks "topological" and
(320) "dynamical" determinations. A characteristic form of his assertion is: "Any behavior is to be considered as resulting from one total field which includes as dependent parts the person and his psychological environment," to which he adds that science must use " `constructs,' the conceptual properties of which are well defined." Unfortunately, despite his repeated assurances that his method not only permits, but attains, mathematically rigorous treatment of psychological facts, it is clear here, as it was with Kantor, that the key-words employed are subject to many shifting interpretations, and that precision is among the less conspicuous of their qualities.
With apologies to both of these psychologists for a comment to which, no doubt, each will strongly object, we may suggest that, just as in Kantor's case his mechanistic envisionment of the universe interferes with his attempt at "functional" description, so in Lewin's case an underlying Seele is present that stets verneint all that his "mathematics" attempts. We may here mention merely a few of the more prominent inconsistencies in his development.
If we appraise "behavior" as he describes it, we shall find the same uncertainty we have met in other cases as to whether it is an event of interaction, situation, or field, or whether alternatively it is the organism's share as "factor" or "actor" in such an event. Behavior (B) is specified as a function (f) of a life space (L) which itself is a function of person (P) and psychological environment (E). The formula is: B= f (L) = f (P, E). In one formal definition we find B to be any change in the L which is subject to psychological laws. In another we hear of the "B of an individual." In still another the L is influenced by facts "from outside,"
(321) which are specified as themselves not under "psychobiological" laws. Whether the B has a locus in an L, or in a P which is "part" of an L, is indeterminable; even the sense in which the L is psychological (or perhaps "psychobiological") is uncertain.
The L is firmly asserted to be that "of an individual" (cf. p. 68, p. 75) ; nevertheless it is made to cover "group" phenomena (cf. p. 95, p. 100, p. 126). Although it exists "at a certain moment," and its B "at a given time," it regularly covers "locomotions" and other "changes," and it may even represent "the totality of possible events." It is discussed in terms of "dimensions," though not always in terms of the same set of dimensions; and these dimensions sometimes appear to belong to the P, or to the E, rather than to the L (cf. the headlines, p. 193, p. 195, p. 200), and are curiously involved with the "outside" hull (cf. p. 203) ; different types of phenomena appear as dimensions (p. 73, p. 199), including "properties," despite strong and repeatedly urged objections against the confusion of "properties" and "dimensions" by other writers (cf. p. 76, p. 194).
The structural terms "dynamical," "vector," and "topological" are shiftingly used, appearing at times with meanings that flatly contradict earlier meanings assigned to them. Even the boasted term "field" presents itself in specialized (and contradictory) deviations, such as a collection of objects (which is what most writers assume Lewin to mean) (p. 115, p. 166), or as the power-range of the P (p. 129).
A growing concentration of force in the P is seen developing in a way which splits the P and the E widely apart, although both had been defined as alike "regions" of a "topological" L. In the end, it is found that three incarnations of the P have appeared in the work: an epistemological P, underlying the primary representation of an L; a regional P, having presumable status within an L; and a power-P, which dominates the stage after the prestidigita-
(322) -tions of the two other P's are completed, although this power-P itself is neither prime positer nor posited region.
Spatial precision is Lewin's claim. But he makes his bid for it prematurely and pretentiously, before he achieves that simple, practical matter-of-fact localization of observation which must be the beginning of constructive knowledge. Mathematics, whether topological or other, is not a form of magic; one may profitably bear in mind that it is the veritable practice of precision.
Summary.—We have now sufficient indications of a strong recent trend toward the localization of behaviors in organic-environmental situations rather than in organisms separately viewed. This trend has shown itself to be an extension of that earlier trend which brought behavioral phenomena down from the clouds to earth. When vitalism (and with it also the vitalistic treatment of the gene) is fully overcome—when physiology not only recognizes, but fully uses, its environmental frame—then a situational inquiry into behaviors, we conclude, may be differentiated from other situational physiological inquiries by the greater complexity of the processes of organism-environment it studies : processes that show them-
(323) -selves in their most characteristic forms above the level at which "externalizations" appear.
We likewise have sufficient indications of the undesirability of half-way steps in construction. Attempts which retain a leaning for "mind," along with those which place strong emphasis on "matter" in contrast with "mind," alike exhibit deficiencies in inner coherence. As our test of coherence we have used the type of localization which the word "behavior" is made to deliver. We know that coherence has never been attained by dualisms. We know that retention of a "mental" after abolishing the "material" gets nowhere; and we certainly ought to know that retention of a "material" after abolishing the "mental" is equally futile. If the needed coherence of expression is to be attained, we may anticipate as a necessary condition to it that the behavioral isolation of the organism must be overcome, and this without any remaining adhesion to either "mental" or "material" wordings.
ARTHUR F. BENTLEY.