Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

Previous Page


Panel #356
CE Offered: BACB
Selection by Resonances
Sunday, May 27, 2018
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: SCI; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Marcus Jackson Marr, Ph.D.
Chair: Marcus Jackson Marr (Georgia Tech)
JACK J. MCDOWELL (Emory University)
PETER R. KILLEEN (Arizona State University)
J. A. SCOTT KELSO (Florida Atlantic University)

Dennett used the metaphor of “skyhooks vs cranes;” the wondrous living world can be easily explained by positing a Creator who organized the whole thing; one who lived in the sky and raised the structures of life with a sky-hook attached to the clouds. Alternatively, one could find a way for those structures to build from the ground up. Darwin did this with variation-selection-retention, along with the competition for survival. These were his cranes, solidly planted on the bedrock of observation and logic. Can we do the same for the development of individuals’ behavior, for complex social behavior, for the mind? Kelso shows us that we can: His cranes are self-organization, synergy selection, and coordination dynamics. These cranes have not risen very far from the bedrock yet, giving job opportunities on the construction site for everyone in this audience. The panelists will check in by relating these cranes to some of the construction tools and results that we as behaviorists have mastered; then to the machinery developed by Steve Grossberg and Roger Sperry. They will also comment on the plausibility and strength of the cranes, and relate the first crane to the work of Gerald Edelman and Stephen Wolfram.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Target Audience:

BCBAs, BCaBAs, and behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentaton, participants will be able to discuss the metaphor of "skyhooks vs cranes" and relate it to behavior analysis.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh