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 (Behavior Analysis) from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, and my Ph.D. in Psychology (Behavior Analysis) from the University of Nevada, Reno. My primary scholarly interests are in the area of behavioral theory and philosophy, especially interbehaviorism and interbehavioral psychology. I am also passionate about the relationship between the various areas of behavior analysis and effective clinical practice. Finally, I also conduct applied research with my graduate students, most often with children with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities (e.g., food selectivity, non-compliance). 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. I am currently an Assistant Professor and Associate Chair in 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 firmly 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., motivation, thinking, private events, 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 the relationship between theory, philosophy, and the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis. Too often, theory and philosophy are areas of science that are assumed to be distant from, and irrelevant to practice. However, the exact opposite seems to be the case in behavior analysis -- theory and philosophy are fundamental to effective practice. I have published some papers and given a few invited presentations on these issues, and expect to continue to address this important topic in the years to come. 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, I am interested in applied research and topics in ABA more generally. While my interests in ABA are broad some themes have emerged over the years. For example, my graduate students and I have been examining less-intrusive, antecedent interventions in the treatment of food selectivity with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related developmental disabilities. Our work in this area has resulted in several conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed journals. I have also published papers on functional assessment and parent training in recent years (Fryling, 2014; Fryling & Baires, 2016). The benefits of conducting applied research are many. 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., data collection, analysis, graphing, describing results, etc.). Students interested in doing research with me should contact me at   


Sample of recent publications Date

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


Hayes, L. J., & Fryling, M. J. (2015) A historical perspective on the future of behavior science. The Behavior Analyst, 38(2), 149-161. DOI: 10.1007/s40614-015-0030-9


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


Hayes, L. J., & Fryling, M. J. (in press). Feelings in psychological perspective. European Journal of Behavior Analysis.

in press




Ph.D. Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno

M.A. Psychology, Western Michigan University

B.S. Psychology, Western Michigan University