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The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 267–282 | Cite as

The personal life of the behavior analyst

  • Darrel E. BostowEmail author
Article

Abstract

The human species faces crises of critical proportions. Excessive population, global warming, and the anticipated descent from peak fossil-fuel extraction promise to change our future in far-reaching ways. Operant conditioning prepares the individual for a world similar to the selecting past, but our world is changing more rapidly than our adaptation. As individuals, we cannot make substantial changes in the world at large because we do not control enough reinforcers, but we can turn to the sources of our personal behavior and manipulate them. We will need help. Better organized social networks and the self-management techniques they support can promote immediate changes in consumption at home, work, and moving about in our personal worlds. Surprisingly, consuming less can lead to more satisfying and happier lives, but a better understanding of reinforcement contingencies is necessary. We can recover the strengthening effects of personal daily accomplishments that are eroded when conditioned generalized reinforcers intervene. When we get our own personal lives in order we can reduce our carbon footprints, restore the connections between our behavior and its strengthening effects, and become models worthy of imitation.

Key words

energy descent global warming climate change personal behavior stimulus control self-management behavior analysis 

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South FloridaDade CityUSA

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