Transferring behavioral technology across applications

M. Christopher Newland, H. S. Pennypacker, W. Kent Anger, Paul Mele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Application flows naturally from good science, and behavioral toxicology is no exception. Phenomena discovered and procedures developed in behavioral laboratories are being applied on a wide scale in commercial, industrial, and governmental settings. In behavioral toxicology, this transfer of technology has occurred in an ad hoc manner, albeit with a degree of sophistication. The development of technology transfer in other disciplines is instructive. A symposium at the May 2001 meeting of the Behavioral Toxicology Society examined this issue, and some participants provide their contributions here. Henry Pennypacker examines the issue of whether behavioral procedures can meet the demanding standards required to transfer technology to commercial endeavors and concludes that, under some conditions, they can. He notes that the shortage of well-developed and transferred behavioral technologies results from a lack of understanding of the process of technology transfer on the part of behavior analysts. In the field of engineering, the results of basic research are transformed to candidate technologies that meet standardized criteria with respect to three properties: quantification, repetition, and verification. Kent Anger describes the challenging steps in the trail from the laboratory to wide-scale application - steps that are essential for the scaling up of any behavioral technique. Finally, Paul Mele describes the legal background to patenting and copyrighting ideas, a process that behaviorists have rarely used. Together, these topics identify the requirements and warn of the challenges and intricacies that await those who seek to transfer behavioral technology beyond the laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-542
Number of pages14
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


  • Applications
  • Behavioral technology
  • Transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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