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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Paper Session #58
Selection by Consequences at Three Levels
Saturday, May 23, 2015
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
007C (CC)
Area: TPC
Chair: Jay Moore (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Selection by Consequences as a Causal Mode

Domain: Theory
JAY MOORE (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Selection by consequences as a causal mode The principle of selection is an important principle in all the biological sciences, a science of behavior included. Selection as a process consists in cycles of (a) variation in the characteristics of members of a population, (b) differential interaction of these members with the environment as a consequence of the variation, and (c) differential replication of the members as a consequence of the differential interaction. Behavior analysts suggest selection applies to the analysis of an organism's behavior just as much as to an analysis of its morphology. The three levels at which behavior analysts apply the principle of selection to the analysis of behavior are (a) phylogenic, (b) ontogenic, and (c) cultural. Much of traditional psychology is committed to postulating antecedent causes of behavior, particularly where those causes are assumed to be mental. This presentation argues that a science of behavior is well-served by setting aside concerns with antecedent causation as a causal mode in favor of selection by consequences.


Advantages of and Challenges to Establishing a Behavior Analytic Alternative to Cognitivist Evolutionary Psychology

Domain: Theory
OYSTEIN VOGT (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

An interdisciplinary behavioral science that places behavior analysis as the seamlessly interconnecting discipline between evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology, is very much preferable to the currrent paradigm of cognitivist evolutionary psychology. Behavior analysis uniquely complements evolutionary evolutionary biology in terms of its focus on historical behavior-environment interaction, its empirically grounded selectionism and its centering around learning and adaptation. The two disciplines basically address ontogenetic and phylogenetic adaptation, and behavior as a function of historical reproductive and reinforcing consequences, respectively. It is argued that interdisciplinary behavior analysis potentially provides a better account of the adaptive and maladaptive nature of culture, refines and transforms the "mismatch" hypothesis that is prevalent in evolutionary psychology, and accounts for cultural novel adaptive complexity in a way that evolutionary psychology cannot and does not. But not without challenges: Behavior analysis must no longer be an island of some intellectual isolation, and rather let itself be informed more by modern evolutionary biology and the implications it has for human behavior. Among others, a multi-adaptation perspective on human beahavior, where operant learning is viewed as a crucial, yet not monolithic, phylogenetic behavioral adaptation is proposed. Furthermore, the importance of accounting for private events for interdisciplinary purposes is emphasized. It is also argued that behavior analysis, in relation to neurophysiology, may benefit from a distinction between replicators and interactors of behavior, borrowed from gene selectionist evolutionary biology.


BDSM: Aversive Ideas and the Cultural Contingencies That Shape our World

Domain: Theory
DANIEL F HORAN (The Teaching & Learning Collaboration)

The capacity of humans to utilise written and spoken verbal behaviour is intriguing. Beyond requests for food and water, even for sex, drugs or rock and roll- this species-specific ability is one that allows theories and ideas to be shared and transmitted across time, cultures and experience. As Skinner identified, this repertoire, currently only available to the risen apes, is one significant way we differ from our cousins elsewhere in the animal kingdom. This paper will argue that the most important yet dangerous ideas inevitably present the greatest challenges to cherished notions of privilege, perspective and place in the world. It will explore four differently aversive ideas; selected from the written works of the Bible, Charles Darwin, B.F Skinner and Karl Marx. The process of ridicule, opposition, acceptance and revolution accompanying these ideas will be discussed. An analysis of the behavioural and meta-contingencies that impact on our the world, attributable to these aversive ideas, will be offered. There may not be fifty shades of grey- but beyond the black and white truths of a dangerous idea; beyond good and evil or freedom and dignity- there is a value in aversive ideas to deliver contingencies that improve our world.




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