How to Fall in Love, Behaviorally.

By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

Founding Editor,

This Valentine’s Day bears witness to the first seasonal article by bSci21. For this special day, we searched high and low for articles relating applied behavior analysis to love.  Today, we focus on Dermer’s (2006) article in The Behavior Analyst Today on “Creating Romantic Loving.” Dermer gives advice on how to increase your chances of striking up a romantic relationship with that special someone who catches your eye.  

Dermer’s recommendations center on how to make yourself an enjoyable or reinforcing person to be around.  He first recommends using abundantly available reinforcers that aren’t particularly unique to the other person.  For example, if your are standing in line at a deli and your future companion’s order is met with a response of “we are sold out,” this creates the perfect opportunity for you to step in and offer your sandwich instead.  

After several such encouters, Dermer then recommends switching to idiosyncratic reinforcers specifically tailored to your crush. Dermer lists eight likely reinforcers here, only some of which are listed below:

1) Listening, or acting as a reinforcing audience to his/her talk.
2) Respecting, or sensitizing to the factors that motivate him/her.
3) Solving Personal Problems, or offering up helpful solutions or advice to his/her life.
4) Predicting Personal Outcomes, or offering assurances that a particular life choice will result in positive outcomes.
5) Changing the Topic, or helping to distract your future significant other when he/she has a bad day.

So much more was discussed in Dermer’s article that cannot be covered here.  If interested, follow the hyperlink at the beginning of the article to read more, and don’t forget to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles, and free monthly issues, directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is President of bSci21 Media, LLC, which owns and  Todd serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and as an editorial board member for Behavior and Social Issues.  He has worked as a behavior analyst in day centers, residential providers, homes, and schools, and served as the director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Todd’s areas of expertise include writing, entrepreneurship, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Instructional Design, Organizational Behavior Management, and ABA therapy. Todd can be reached at [email protected].

4 Comments on "How to Fall in Love, Behaviorally."

  1. I love this post! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love is an explanatory fiction, you dirty mentalist.

  3. be one with the reinforcer, become the reinforcer got it haha fun post!

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