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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Paper Session #245
Systems, Complexity, and Voting Behavior
Sunday, May 27, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
605 (Convention Center)
Area: TPC
Chair: Ingunn Sandaker (Oslo and Akershus University College)

Ontogenic Evolution of Behavioral Systems

Domain: Theory
SIGRID S. GLENN (University of North Texas)

This paper applies a systems analysis to the concept of operant units. Going in the opposite direction from Sidman's (1986) building up of operant relations from 2-term to 3-term, 4-term, 5-term relations and beyond, this analysis deconstructs the 2-term R-S relationship as a hierarchy of systems in relation to their external environments. It is suggested that this hierarchy begins with a biological system comprising effector activity and proprioceptive feedback. From this foundation, reinforcement builds an operant system in which the reinforcing consequence is automatic and thus not independently manipulable. This relation is essentially a closed system. The next step in the evolution of behavioral system is reinforcement via independent and contingent external environments. These contingencies open operant systems to an almost infinite range of possible relations, giving rise to the hierarchy of operant systems characteristic of human repertoires.


The Relevance of a Generic Conceptual Framework Adressing Different Levels of Complexity

Domain: Theory
INGUNN SANDAKER (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

Whithout an organism, no behavior. Whithout behavior no culture. This paper will approach the relevance of a generic conceptual framework adressing different levels of complexity. The generic approaches represented by the selectionist perspective and the systems perspective may contribute to understanding as different levels of complexity as biological, behavioral, and cultural events.


Voting Behavior: What Drives the Public and Legislators to Vote the Way That They Do?

Domain: Applied Research
JOHN SCIBAK (Massachusetts House of Representatives)

Whether dealing with individual citizens or elected officials, the most interesting questions about voting behavior are not concerned with who won the election or which side prevailed in a legislative debate, but with why people voted the way that they did or what the implications of their respective votes mean. On what basis do individuals decide how they will vote on a particular issue? Do voters rely more on the characteristics of a particular candidate or the general mood of the electorate and are they more likely to vote if their decision has direct financial implications for them? Similarly, are legislators more likely to vote according to party lines, or are their votes tied to whether they are back benchers or supporters of leadership? This presentation will review how social and attitudinal factors relate to individual voting behavior and provide concrete examples from recent elections and legislative roll calls to illustrate how behavioral factors affect individual election outcomes and electoral dynamics. The presentation will also address how behavior analysts can become more effective advocates by understanding some of the underlying strategies influencing electoral behavior and applying them with their own elected officials.




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