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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Paper Session #6
Behavior Analysis, Evolution, and Evolutionary Psychology
Saturday, May 28, 2005
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
Astoria (3rd floor)
Area: TPC
Chair: Paul Thomas Andronis (Northern Michigan University)
Contingencies, Canalization, and Creativity
Domain: Theory
PAUL THOMAS ANDRONIS (Northern Michigan University)
Abstract: The biological concept of “canalization” has been invoked variously to explain the relative stability of phenotypic expression in the face of highly variable environments, the robustness of adaptive traits under changing selective conditions, the means by which innate behaviors come under control of relevant environmental challenges, and so on. It is generally considered to describe a form of constraint on the range of reactions for gene expression, as the metaphorical name implies. To some, the concept also implies a mechanism that directs selection along certain trajectories, in essence, formally rendering some selective outcomes as “preadaptations” for subsequent events. The present paper explores the relevance of this concept to the ontogenic selection of operant behavior by contingencies of reinforcement, and addresses the formal tension between, on the one hand, the putatively conservative forces of canalization and, on the other, the synthetic or creative outcomes of particular reinforcement histories. Canalization will be defined in relation to contingencies of reinforcement and programming variables. The paper will conclude with an examination of the concept’s potential for shedding light on certain problems specific to behavior, including the apparent uniformity of psychiatric “symptoms,” the reliable patterns of deficits observed in developmental disorders, as well as unidentified sources of creative behavior, whether problematic as psychotic symptoms, or desirable as outcomes of programmatic curriculi.
Evolutionary Psychology and Behavior Analysis
Domain: Theory
MASAYA SATO (Teikyo University)
Abstract: The author compared evolutionary psychology with behavior analysis, and found the following five differences. (1) Evolutionary psychologists only attend to one kind of selection by consequence; natural selection, while behavior analysts attend to three kinds of selection by consequence. (2) Evolutionary psychologists use deduction, while behavior analysts use induction. (3) Evolutionary psychologists concentrate on correlational analysis, while behavior analysts concentrate on causal analysis. (4) Evolutionary psychologists frequently use questionnaire, while behavior analysts seldom use it. (4) Theories in evolutionary psychology are not falsifiable, while theories in behavior analysis are falsifiable. (5) The goal of evolutionary psychology is mainly the interpretation of behavior, while the goal of behavior analysis is prediction, control, and interpretation of behavior.



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