Noel Wilson Smith

NOEL WILSON SMITH received his AB degree from Indiana University, his MA from University of Colorado, and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

He was Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Courtesy Professor at the University of Florida, Fellow in the American Psychological Association, and has held offices in the American Association of University Professors. 

He co-authored with J. R. Kantor The Science of Psychology: An Interbehavioral Survey (1975). He authored Greek and Interbehavioral Psychology (1993, Rev. ed.), An Analysis of Ice Age Art: Its Psychology and Belief System (1992), and Current Systems in Psychology: History, Theory, Research, and Applications (2001). He was an editor and contributor to Reassessment in Psychology: The Interbehavioral Alternative (1983) and founded and edited “The Interbehavioral Newsletter.”

His professional interests included logic of science and history of psychology as a tool of analysis. He has served on the editorial board of professional journals and has organized professional conferences as well as presenting papers at such conference, published numerous papers in academic journals, and contributed chapters to academic books. 

In 1999 he founded the Humanists of Sarasota Bay, served as president from 1999 to 2008, and was designated President Emeritus in 2012. Recently he participated in the National Geographic Society “Genographic Project” using DNA data that traces human migrations back more than 70,000 years from northern Africa to global distribution. 

Noel passed away in 2022.

Noel has done some serious writing, as you will see below. We show just two of his book covers, but offer descriptions of the rest of his works a little further down.

The first chapter of THE MYTH OF MIND examines the characteristics of constructs and events and provides criteria for examining the four topics each of which has a chapter. These chapter topics are (a) mind-brain, (b) consciousness, (c) freewill-determinism, and (d) sensation. These four topics are a source of major contentions in psychology. The sixth and final chapter consists of a review and conclusions.

Throughout the book, interbehavioral field psychology is given prominence as a system that can obviate many of the problems of psychology. It treats psychological events as interrelations of organism and surroundings that comprise the causal factors in behavior rather than assuming that the organism or its brain is self-caused and carries the entire weight of explanation. It also remedies the failure of biological orientations to recognize that while brain is a necessary condition as is environment, neither is a sufficient condition.

The aim of THE MYTH OF MIND is to provide psychologists with an alternative to mainstream approaches and to show how an approach starting investigation first with observations of events in nature rather than with traditional constructs can lead to a more scientific and effective orientation to both research and application.

A collection of articles prepared in honor of J.R. Kantor and his systematic viewpoint of the science of psychology. The interbehavioral alternative represents a clear departure from the traditions of dualism and simple reductionism: it identifies with natural science and replaces the paradigm accepted by most versions of psychology. Unlike other schools of psychology, it begins with the observed events of an integrated field involving an organism in reciprocal or ecological relation with other factors in the field.

More From Noel Smith

Here is information on Noel’s other works.

The Science of Psychology:
An Interbehavioral Survey Hardcover

Published: July 16, 2009

Co-written with J.R. Kantor. This volume presents the data and interpretations of the psychological domain as the contents of a natural science. As a natural science, psychology departs radically from the traditional mind-body or dualistic doctrines, which hold that organisms are composed of psychic structures or functions that are manifested by or correspond to anatomical and physiological actions or behavior. Accordingly, the materials of this volume are derived exclusively from observations of organisms as they interact with objects, other organisms, and conditions encountered in their environments. Interbehavioral psychology regards psychological events as definite organized fields in which organisms and stimulus objects interbehave, and that what happens in detail is based upon previous confrontations of the organisms and stimulus objects under specific conditions prevailing at the time.

Greek and Interbehavioral Psychology
Selected and Revised Papers of Noel W. Smith

Published: 1993 

In this book, the author uses a selection of twenty-six of his papers in which he sets forth both interbehavioral psychology and Hellenic Greek psychology together with psychological concepts of hunter-gatherers, Egyptians, and Indo-Europeans. Contents: I. Introduction. II. Pre-Greek, Greek, and Indian Psychology. III. Interbehavioral Psychology: General Framework; Special Topics; Studies Concerning the Founder of Interbehavioral Psychology; Tribute; Selected Bibliography.

An Analysis of Ice Age Art:
Its Psychology and Belief System

(American University Studies : Series, XX 

Published in 1992. Review by Robert G. Bednarik

Rock art studies stand to gain considerably from the involvement by psychologists (and some recent efforts in this area, such as that of Australians J. Bradshaw and L. Rogers have been exceptionally successful). But this book delivers not a single one of the promises implied in its title: instead of addressing Ice Age art, it deals almost exclusively with just one component(parietal art) of the Ice Age art of one small region (the Franco-Cantabrian region, a term eschewed by the author who misconstrues it as implying a French part of Cantabria). The book is not an analysis in the usual sense of the word, nor is there any attempt at scientific rigour, and the only belief system about which the reader becomes well informed is the author’s own. 

The terminology pertaining to rock art research is atrocious, consisting mostly of various invented terms (such as pectoglyph), misused terms and misunderstood terms. The author is unfamiliar with recent developments, for instance in rock art dating, and scholars are badly misquoted. The book can serve as an example of what happens when a professor of psychology perceives four hypotheses about some rock art in a far-away country, having read about it in books, and then sets out to prove his hypothesis by selecting any confirming evidence and ignoring whatever might contradict his pet theories: that the cave art is the work of shamans, and that the anthropomorphs depicted in it are dead shamans.

Current Systems of Psychology:
History, Theory, Research, and Applications

Released 2001 

Noel Smith presents a comprehensive and engaging text that strives to tell students “what today’s systems of psychology are saying.” He offers in-depth coverage of more recent systems of psychology, beyond the traditional classical systems of psychology. Smith focuses on the core areas of psychological systems that have impact today, such as the cognitive system, the humanistic system, the psychoanalytic systems, the behavioral system, the ecological perspective, and the phenomenological approach.