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Jacob Robert Kantor

KANTOR, JACOB ROBERT (1888–1984), U.S. psychologist. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Kantor spent most of his teaching and research years at Indiana University. His major fields were behavior theory, language and logic, physiological psychology, and the history of psychology and related sciences. In 1937 he founded, and for decades contributed to, the journal The Psychological Record. Kantor was an important early spokesman in the U.S. for the view that the proper goal of psychology in its every aspect is to become an objective natural science of behavior, rather than a subjective or mentalistic discipline. In his writings, Kantor used the term "interbehavior" to emphasize certain theses: (1) that the variables which control behavior are physical, continuous, and instant; (2) that the physical consequences of behavior themselves become part of the complex of determiners of ensuing behavior; and (3) that behavior is an ever-changing stream, so that concepts of "stimulus" and "response" as static events do not provide analytic categories that are suitable starting points for behavior theory.

Following his retirement from Indiana University in 1959, Kantor served as visiting professor at New York University (1952–63) and at the University of Maryland (1963–64). He lectured often at universities and professional societies in the U.S. and, beginning in 1974, often lectured and gave seminars at universities in Mexico.

Among Kantor's major works are Principles of Psychology, 2 vols. (1924, 1926), An Objective Psychology of Grammar (1935), Psychology and Logic, 2 vols. (1945–50), Problems of Physiological Psychology (1947), The Logic of Modern Science (1953), Interbehavioral Psychology (1958, 19592), The Scientific Evolution of Psychology, 2 vols. (1963, 1969), Psychological Linguistics (1977), Cultural Psychology (1982), Tragedy and the Event Continuum (1983), and Psychological Comments and Queries (1984).


N. Smith, Greek and Interbehavioral Psychology: Selected and Revised Papers of Noel Smith (1993); N. Smith, et al., Reassessment in Psychology: The Interbehavioral Alternative (1983).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.