“The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World.”
Dr. Susan M. Schneider
Actions have consequences–and being able to learn from them revolutionized life on earth. Consequences are everywhere, influencing everything from the humblest flatworms to our most impressive human accomplishments. The science of consequences–operant learning, that is–has incorporated their important role in nature-and-nurture while producing applications across the board, from everyday life to our biggest societal challenges. Taking an inclusive interdisciplinary “systems approach,” this talk will summarize how something so deceptively simple can help make sense of so much. The potpourri of topics will include the generality of these operant principles, their evolution and biological context, their role in language development, and a representative sampling of their applications.
Behavior analyst and biopsychologist Susan Schneider recently published a book for the public: The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World (www.scienceofconsequences.com). Author in addition of numerous research and theoretical articles and book chapters, she was an Ivy League fellowship winner in engineering (Brown M.S.) who became a friend of B. F. Skinner, served in the Peace Corps, and then transitioned into psychology
(University of Kansas Ph.D.). A research pioneer, she was the first to apply the generalized matching law to sequences and to demonstrate operant generalization and matching in neonates. She’s proposed a mathematical model for sequence choice, and her publications also cover the history and philosophy of behavior analysis and the neglected method of sequential analysis. Schneider has championed the inclusive “systems” approach to nature nurture relations, culminating in reviews in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and The Behavior Analyst, and she has served on the editorial boards for both of those journals. Her book summarizes the field of operant behavior, its larger nature-nurture context, and its broad range of applications, and it was a selection of the Scientific American Book Club.