Mitchell Fryling

Mitch Fryling, Ph.D.
Charter College of Education
Department of Special Education & Counseling
Office Location: KH C1033
Phone: 323-343-4419 Email:


I received my B.S. and M.A. in Psychology from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, and my Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. My primary scholarly interests are in the area of behavioral theory and philosophy, especially interbehaviorism and interbehavioral psychology, and the implications of interbehaviorism for the science of behavior. I am also interested in social issues (e.g., lying, relationships) and am currently developing a line of research on perspective-taking with my graduate students. My graduate students and I have also conducted a number of studies on common childhood behavior problems over the years (e.g., food selectivity).

I have published my work in a variety of journals, and serve as an editorial board member, ad-hoc reviewer, and associate editor for several behavioral journals. Beginning in 2018 I will serve a term as Editor-in-Chief of The Psychological Record. I am currently an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair of the Division of Special Education & Counseling at California State University, Los Angeles.


My main goals as a teacher are to promote the behavioral perspective in general, especially its philosophical assumptions, and to then guide students to use those assumptions to develop conceptually coherent, ethically sound, and effective applications. Consistent with this, I strongly believe that training effective clinicians requires more than an orientation to the applications of behavior analysis. Effective practice requires problem solving, case conceptualization, and a variety of other skills that depend upon an orientation to the science of behavior more generally.


As I mentioned above, my primary scholarly interests lie in the area of behavioral theory and philosophy, especially interbehaviorism and interbehavioral psychology, and the implications of interbehaviorism and interbehavioral psychology for behavior analysis in particular. Along these lines I have worked on several conceptual papers related to fundamental issues in behavior analysis (e.g., feelings, motivation, thinking, cultural behavior), and I expect to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. If behavior analysis aspires to do more, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of all behavior, specific attention must be given to it's philosophical foundation.

An additional, related area of interest is social issues. For example, I am currently working on the broad topic of relationships and my graduate students and I are currently pursuing research in the area of perspective-taking. Also related to my conceptual interests, I remain a strong proponent for the need for specific training in behavioral theory and philosophy in training programs for clinicians. My passion for continued attention to theory and philosophy in behavior analysis is not grounded in my personal interests but in my experience that more effective practice is dependent upon it.

Finally, graduate students and I have conducted a number of studies on applied topics over the years. For example, a number of students have worked on the topic of food selectivity with children with Autism and related developmental disabilities with me over the years. Many of these treatment evaluations are presented a conferences and published in peer reviewed journals. 

POTENTIAL THESIS STUDENTS: There are many benefits to conducting a thesis project. In addition to the potential for contributing to the research literature and improving practice, it is my experience that students learn many skills while conducting research (e.g., how to follow very specific instructions, collect data, analyze data, graph data, describe results, etc.). A thesis is also a very good option for those who may be interested in a Ph.D. in the future. Students interested in doing research with me should contact me at   


Sample of recent publications Date

Hayes, L. J., & Fryling, M. J. (2017). Feelings in psychological perspective. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 18, 39-51.


Fryling, M. J. (2017). The functional independence of Skinner’s verbal operants: Applied and conceptual considerations. Behavioral Interventions, 32, 70-78. DOI: 10.1002/bin.1462


Fryling, M. J. (2016).  A developmental-behavioral analysis of lying. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 16, 13-22.


Fryling, M. J., & Baires, N. (2016). The practical importance of the distinction between open and closed-ended indirect assessments. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 9(2), 146-151. DOI: 10.1007/s40617-016-0115-2


Fryling, M. J., & Hayes, L. J. (2015). Similarities and differences among the alternatives to Skinner’s analysis of private events. The Psychological Record, 65, 579-587.DOI: 10.1007/s40732-015-0130-7





Ph.D. Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno

M.A. Psychology, Western Michigan University

B.S. Psychology, Western Michigan University