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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #112
Constructing an Interbehavioral Science of Cultural Studies
Saturday, May 28, 2022
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156C
Area: PCH/CSS; Domain: Theory
Chair: Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Mitch Fryling (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: The current trajectory of culturo-behavioral science (CBS) warrants a discussion on interbehavioral orientations toward understanding cultural events. While Skinnerian protopostulates of mainstream CBS—namely that there are different selection processes for behavior and behavioral contingencies—have led to increasingly productive scientific activity in the domains of theory and experimental research, they are not congruent with non-causal, interbehavioral orientations. Constructing a science of culture on non-causal premises allows for a more naturalistic, less dualistic approach to describing events, but it is not without its own limitations and problems to solve. The purpose of this symposium is to elaborate on contemporary interbehavioral perspectives and debates surrounding analyses of cultural functional relations, including those concerning units of analysis, methods of investigation, and interdisciplinary work. By doing so, we hope to extend the interbehavioral wing of CBS in a way that is useful for the enterprise at large as it continues to evolve into a science of its own.
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): cultural-reaction systems, culturo-behavioral science, interbehaviorism

On Seeing Cultural Reaction Systems and Related Constructs

JOSE ARDILA (University of Nevada), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)

Facts are not simply given to scientists while they stroll by the lake. Scientists construct facts that are coherent within a system of more facts. For example, researchers working under culturo-behavior science study cultural selection and culturants and the relations therein. In parallel to this endeavor, interbehavioral scientists propose to study a different sort of facts grounded on interbehavioral postulates regarding the nature of psychological events. This presentation will address the postulational system that should underlie any interbehavioral approach to cultural studies. Some discussion as to the difference between postulates and definitions, systems and metasystems of science, the development scientific facts, and progress in science will be included. The implications of a set of interbehavioral postulates for understanding human behavior, language, and social systems in behavior science are also addressed.


On Defining Cultural Reaction Systems and Related Constructs

WILL FLEMING (University of Nevada, Reno), Jose Ardila (University of Nevada), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)

While the culturant may be a unit of analysis well-suited for the selectionist, Skinnerian-based wing of the culturo-behavior science (CBS) enterprise, it is not compatible with interbehavioral proto- and metapostulates. The purpose of this presentation is to define an alternative unit of analysis amenable to an interbehavioral orientation to cultural events, namely cultural reaction systems, and constructs implied therein. As the logic of cultural reaction systems departs from that formalized by J. R. Kantor and contemporary interbehaviorists, this presentation will address (1) how reaction systems differ from integrated fields, (2) what characterizes cultural reaction systems as a distinct class of reaction systems, (3) processes related to the transformation and extension of cultural reaction systems, such as culturalization, diffusion, and reference substitution, (4) how power is conceptualized as a cultural reaction systems, and (5) how logic is defined by and within a cultural reaction system. In doing so, an evolving systematization of an interbehavioral orientation toward cultural studies will be offered that is both coherent with behavioral thinking and conducive to investigation of events that are difficult to describe using current behavior-analytic and culturo-behavioral science frameworks.




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