Human Behavior in Today's World

Human Behavior in Today's World

Human Behavior in Today's World

Human Behavior in Today's World

Synopsis

In this volume a distinguished group of scholars examines the contributions that behavior analysis can make in meeting the crucial challenges that threaten the survival of individuals, families, societies and nations, as well as the planet itself. Beginning with the premise that human behavior is the primary cause of our problems, the authors look at methods that allow us to change it and at how these methods may be applied in specific areas--ranging from international violence and environmental degradation to substance abuse and training of the handicapped.

Excerpt

My participation in this book -- recruiting the authors, putting together the chapters, editing them, conferring with authors, writing my own pieces, condensing Sidman Coercion and Its Fallout (1989) -- is the product of having put myself in a "Skinner box" -- an environment rich with reinforcers and under the rigid control of contingency management procedures. For example, if the graph on which I recorded my output of work did not say so, I could not press the "lever" to obtain my cup of coffee; I could not take my television world news break. If I exceeded my work-target, Pellici"s restaurant -- where I practice my Italian, and also exchange views with the younger Pellici, a graduate student -- is just around the corner. Ergo, my behavior was "determined" by events in the environment -- a major theme of this book.

The final putting together of this book was done in the home of Murray and Rita Sidman in Boston, Massachusetts, where I was a guest for several days in 1990. I did much of my editing and writing work sitting in their balcony overlooking the Charles River. I could see Cambridge across the river, with Harvard over to the left -- and I felt the presence, too, of B. F. Skinner, to whom this book is dedicated.

In Boston, being among the gods, as it were, became a reinforcer for my work on this book. The finished product, emerging from my work in the Sidman home, contains many refinements suggested by Murray and by his wife, Rita. She has been living with the science of behavior analysis for many years, and is actively involved in their publishing venture.

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