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.


46th Annual Convention; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Paper Session #250
Selection Sciences: A Five-Level Undergraduate Course in Selection by Consequences
Sunday, May 24, 2020
4:00 PM–4:20 PM
Area: PCH
Chair: Criss Wilhite (California State University Fresno )

Selection Sciences: A Five-Level Undergraduate Course in Selection by Consequences

Domain: Theory
CRISS WILHITE (California State University Fresno )

Skinner formally introduced selection by consequences to behavior analysis in 1981. Since then, behavior analysts and researchers from other disciplines have expanded our understanding of selection to include units of selection, variation of those units, unit-environment interaction, selection, and maintenance of the units. Many researchers now recognize five levels at which selection occurs: evolution, epigenetics, immunology, behavior, and cultural practices. The Department of Psychology at Fresno State has offered a topics course called “Selection Sciences” for four years. The main content is how these systems work in general, with detailed analyses at each level. Additional topics include the history of selectionist approaches, dynamical systems, complexity, emergence, and chaos theory. The course is open to all undergraduates, fulfills a Psychology major requirement, and has been well received. Classes such as this may help bridge gaps between behavior analysis and other sub-disciplines within psychology along with related sciences, as selection processes are inherently multidisciplinary.




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