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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Symposium #319
Int'l Symposium - Advancing the Analysis of Cultural Change: Metacontingencies, Interlocking Practices, and Research Agendas
Monday, May 30, 2005
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Lake Huron (8th floor)
Area: CSE; Domain: Theory
Chair: Mark A. Mattaini (Jane Addams College of Social Work-UIC)
Abstract: Interest in work at Skinner’s third level of selection, cultural change, is currently increasing internationally, with the recognition of the potential importance of this work for addressing critical human and ecological issues worldwide. The need for rigorous strategies for cultural change is increasingly evident, but scholarship in this area remains limited. In this symposium, the participants will present emerging work clarifying current conceptual and methodological challenges, and will describe current work in this emerging sub-discipline. The authors will also elaborate options for research agendas that can advance the field beyond its current heavy emphasis on interpretation toward increased empirically-grounded work. The presentations in this symposium will set the stage for an August “think tank” around these issues in Brasilia.
Targets of Intervention in Cultural Change
MARIA E. MALOTT (Malott and Associates), Sigrid S. Glenn (University of North Texas)
Abstract: In order to bring about cultural change, it is first necessary to identify the targets of intervention – what to measure. In this paper, we compare and contrast behavioral level interventions and cultural level interventions and identify a variety of targets for intervention at either or both of these levels. We classify the targets along several dimensions, including the number of organisms involved, the variables of which occurrences of the target are a function, the effect or product of the target, and the locus of any changes that are brought about by intervening. We discuss the importance of choosing the appropriate target for achieving a particular outcome.
Laws and the Complex Control of Behavior
JOAO CLAUDIO TODOROV (Pontifical Catholic University of Goias, Brazil)
Abstract: Laws are written to control behavior. Sometimes the control occurs right after its approval by Congress and the sanction of the Presidency. Sometimes the actual control is partial: only a part of the country obeys the law, or only a class of citizens, or the enforcement is slow in being established. The analysis of laws as metacontingencies, as sets of interlocked individual contingencies, helps in the study of how, when, and why laws control behavior. Data from individual cases of adolescents in Brasilia who were penalized according to the Statute of Children and Adolescents, Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente (ECA), were analyzed to show how the concept of metacontingency helps to understand flaws the in law and flaws in the application of the law.
Some Variables Involved in the Selection and Maintenance of Metacontingencies
MARIA AMALIA ANDERY (Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil), Tereza Maria Serio (Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil), Nilza Micheletto (Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Abstract: In a metacontingency the interactions among the interlocking contingencies and the interactions among this set of contingencies and the outcome generated by such contingencies may be described in terms of at least a few patterns and such a description may lead to a further understanding of the variables involved in the selection of metacontingencies. Furthermore, such an analysis may reveal some of the distinctions among the variables responsible for the selection of a group of metacontingencies and the variables responsible for their maintenance. The focus of interest in this paper are: (a) the characteristic relationships among the interlocking contingencies and the outcomes that comprise some metacontingencies, and (b) the distinct variables involved in the selection and in the maintenance of such metacontingencies.
Toward a Research Agenda for a Natural Science of Cultural Change
MARK A. MATTAINI (Jane Addams College of Social Work-UIC)
Abstract: The development of a natural science of cultural change has slowed to some extent in recent years, due in part to conceptual issues with how the sub-discipline has been defined, and the lack of a critical mass of researchers working in this area. In this paper, the author will argue that the 4-part research strategy employed in ecological research can and probably must guide this emerging science. The ecological model recursively interweaves systematic observations, experimentation in ongoing processes, improved measurement strategies, and refinement of conceptual frameworks. Widely accepted current conceptual frameworks, however, are not adequately operationalized to guide this work, but more functionally useful frameworks are available. Analyses of interlocking practices associated with some forms of collective violence will be used to exemplify this strategic direction, and the kind of research agendas that are likely to be required to advance the field beyond interpretation alone.



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