Leonard Green

Professor of Psychology

Leonard Green received his undergraduate degree from the City College of New York (CCNY) and his PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  After completing post-doctoral research, Len ventured west of the Mississippi (although he thought he was still east of the river) where he is now Professor of Psychology at Washington University inSt. Louis and Professor of Economics. He also serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.

Dr. Green is one of the developers of ‘behavioral economics,’ a transdisciplinary field that combines the experimental methodology of psychology with the theoretical constructs of economics.  He has published over 150 articles and book chapters, is co-author of the book Economic Choice Theory: An Experimental Analysis of Animal Behavior (Cambridge University Press), and editor of Advances in Behavioral Economics, the third volume of which is subtitled Substance Use and Abuse.  He has been Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Associate Editor of the Pavlovian Journal of Biological Science, and is Consulting Editor for Behavior and Philosophy.  Green’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, and the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function.  He served on the Executive Board of the Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior (SQAB).  He was President of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and President of Division 25, Behavior Analysis, of the American Psychological Association.  Len also served for many years on the Board of MO-FEAT, Missouri Families for Effective Autism Treatment. He is a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

He received the Victor G. Laties Award for lifetime service from the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (2018), was the inaugural recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Behavioral Science from the Mid-American Association for Behavior Analysis (October 2019), received the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis Award for Scientific Translation (2020), and the American Psychological Association (Division 25) Distinguished Contributions to Basic Behavioral Research Award (2021).

Among awards received at Wash U:  Distinguished Faculty Award; Psi Chi Chapter Award for Excellence in Teaching; Psychology Teacher of the Year; certificate of recognition from the Phi Bata Kappa Society for “dedicated service to the Society and to the advancement of liberal learning;” Special Recognition for Excellence in Mentoring from the Graduate Student Senate at Washington University; ArtSci Council Faculty Award; Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Research.

Current Courses:

  • Psychology of Learning
    • The experimental analysis of behavior is presented with examination of Operant and Pavlovian conditioning, punishment, theories of reinforcement, choice behavior, behavioral economics, etc. Theoretical and experimental approaches to the study of behavior as developed in the laboratory are emphasized. Consideration is given to applications from the laboratory to everyday behaviors and comparisons to other conceptual approaches. The course focuses on basic, general principles of learning behavior. Lectures concentrate on theoretical and experimental analyses of behavior, with discussion of applications and implications of the work.
  • Psychology of Learning: Lab (361A)
    • This laboratory course is a supplement to The Psychology of Learning (Psy 361) class. Students will gain first-hand experience, via a virtual rat, of principles and procedures related to the acquisition and maintenance of behavior. Weekly lab meetings introduce Pavlovian and Operant principles that are then implemented as laboratory exercises with the virtual rat.
  • Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis (235)
    • An opportunity to be trained in applied behavior analytic techniques and to work with a child with autism/pervasive developmental disorder. Training and supervision will be arranged and coordinated by the family of the child and their consultant. To receive credit, students must undertake a year´s work with the child, complete the minimum number of hours of training and therapy, and attend regular therapy meetings. In addition, students must attend all seminar meetings for discussion of assigned readings and presentations on autism and therapy. Completion of a paper also is required.
  • Behavioral Psychology Readings Group (494)
    • This weekly, journal-style readings class provides the opportunity to read and discuss seminal as well as current papers on the conceptual aspects of behavioral psychology and relevant research.  Points of contact among behaviorism, cognitivism, and neuroscience, and the natural lines of fracture, will be examined.
  • Intro to Psychology (100B)
    • Survey and analysis of concepts, research, and theory covering the areas of learning, memory, motivation, personality, social, abnormal, clinical, and biological psychology. Introduces the diversity of questions, areas, approaches, research, and theories that compose the study of mind and behavior.

Past Courses (selected):

  • Advanced Analysis of Behavior (566)
  • Conceptual Issues in Psychology (4051)
  • Decision and Choice (473)