Behavioral-analytic research of cultural selection and the complexity of cultural Phenomena

Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho, Christian Vichi


Several conceptual and experimental studies on the behavioral-analytic literature have suggested that it is possible to address B.F. Skinner’s cultural selection phenomena through heuristic approaches. The concepts of metacontingency, interlocking behavioral contingencies (IBCs), cultural milieus, aggregate products, cultural consequences and receiving systems are useful tools for the cultural level of analysis. This paper reviews Glenn and Malott’s (2004) perspective on complexity in organizations and suggests complementing it with Norbert Elias’ sociological approach, in which increasing complexity in a social system results in (a) increasing conflicts between individual and cultural consequences, (b) greater concurrency of the contingencies that affect the behavior of each member of the group, and (c) the specialization of the functions performed by each participant in the system. We suggest that the more complex a social system is, the more social mediation is necessary to select the IBCs and the more differentiated the cultural consequences from the aggregate product.

Palabras clave

Cultural selection, Complexity, Metacontingencies, Interlocking behavioral contingencies.

Texto completo:



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.