Jesse Milby

Jesse Milby

University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

Title: Toward a quantifiable theory of behavior incorporating time, space, behavioral repertoire, and momentary state of well being


Jesse Milby is currently a Professor of Psychology at University of Alabama at Birmingham. He persued his B.A., English in 1962 from Eastern Baptist College, St. Davids, PA, completed his PhD in 1968 with the subjects of clinical Psychology from University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL and did Post-docs from three different institutes from University of London Institute of Psychiatry (Behavior Therapy), Temple University, Eastern PA Psychiatric Institute (Behavior Therapy) & Johns Hopkins University (Clinical Psychopharm) during the period from 1977-2005. He also gain the acknowledgement for many peer reviewed publications.


To organize, explain, and consolidate a progressively expanding knowledge of human behavior, a path to an over-arching theory of behavior is proposed. The path utilizes Staats’ concept of Basic Behavioral Repertoire (BBR), suggesting methods by which it can be quantified. It couples this with the construct of State of Well Being (SWB), which is conceived to be either positive or negative with a varying intensity. This SWB type and intensity is proposed for each behavior in a person’s BBR. The BBR along with current space and time becomes predictor variables which limit probabilities of alternative behaviors by quantifying all variables in an equation. The equation predicts most probable behaviors at the nexus of space, time and behaviors currently available in the BBR. Precision is enhanced by specifying a current nexus State of Well Being (SWB) of Positive (Po) or Negative (Ng) type and intensities from +1.0 to -1.0, which is matched with the SWB where usual behavior from the BBR is emitted. An artificial repertoire is utilized to show how the equation derives most probable behaviors. The theory proposes preliminary empirical work to demonstrate how it can predict probabilistically, behaviors from the BBR for a nexus of different Space and Times. It proposes a path to be able to articulate with Kahneman, & Tversky a. (1979) Prospect Theory. Strengths and advantages of the path are offered to provide an over-arching quantitative logical structure to bridge disparate domains of psychological phenomena. The theory could have practical application in predicting shopping choices for locations, products and price. It could be useful for predicting routine behavioral locations, temporal epochs, and probable behaviors at levels above random chance values. Lastly, the theory’s modest strengths and limitations are discussed and for some limitations possible remedial solutions are suggested.

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