Advertisement

The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 181–203 | Cite as

Rule-Governed Behavior and Behavioral Anthropology

  • Richard W. Malott
Article

Abstract

According to cultural materialism, cultural practices result from the materialistic outcomes of those practices, not from sociobiological, mentalistic, or mystical predispositions (e.g., Hindus worship cows because, in the long run, that worship results in more food, not less food). However, according to behavior analysis, such materialistic outcomes do not reinforce or punish the cultural practices, because such outcomes are too delayed, too improbable, or individually too small to directly reinforce or punish the cultural practices (e.g., the food increase is too delayed to reinforce the cow worship). Therefore, the molar, materialistic contingencies need the support of molecular, behavioral contingencies. And according to the present theory of rule-governed behavior, the statement of rules describing those molar, materialistic contingencies can establish the needed molecular contingencies. Given the proper behavioral history, such rule statements combine with noncompliance to produce a learned aversive condition (often labeled fear, anxiety, or guilt). The termination of this aversive condition reinforces compliance, just as its presentation punishes noncompliance (e.g., the termination of guilt reinforces the tending to a sick cow). In addition, supernatural rules often supplement these materialistic rules. Furthermore, the production of both materialistic and supernatural rules needs cultural designers who understand the molar, materialistic contingencies.

Key words

rule-governed behavior behavioral anthropology radical behaviorism cultural materialism 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. English, H. B., & English, A. C. (1958). A comprehensive dictionary of psychological and psychoanalytic terms. New York: David McKay.Google Scholar
  2. Glenn, S. S. (1986). Metacontingencies in Waiden Two. Behavior Analysis and Social Action, 5, 2–8.Google Scholar
  3. Glenn, S. S. (1987). Rules as environmental events. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 5, 29–32.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Goodenough, W. H. (1970). Description and comparison in cultural anthropology. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  5. Harris, M. (1974). Cows, pigs, wars and witches: The riddles of culture. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  6. Harris, M. (1980). Cultural materialism: The struggle for a science of culture. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  7. Harris, M. (1983). Cultural anthropology. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  8. Harris, M. (1985). Good to eat. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  9. Harris, M. (1986, May). Cultural materialism and behavior analysis: Common problems and radical solutions. Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, WI.Google Scholar
  10. Harris, M. (1987, May). Discussant. In H. S. Pennypacker (Chair), Behavior analysis and cultural materialism. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Nashville, TN.Google Scholar
  11. Hefferline, R. F., Keenan, B., & Hartford, R. A. (1956). Escape and avoidance conditioning in human subjects without their observation of the responses. Science, 130, 1338–1339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lewin, A. (Producer), & Franklin, S. (Director). (1937). The good earth (Film). Hollywood: MGM/UA.Google Scholar
  13. Lloyd, K. E. (1985). Behavioral anthropology: A review of Marvin Harris’ Cultural materialism. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 43, 279–287.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Lloyd, K. E. (1987). Emics and etics. In H. S. Pennypacker (Chair), Behavior analysis and cultural materialism. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Nashville, TN.Google Scholar
  15. Malagodi, E. F. (1986). On radicalizing behaviorism: A call for cultural analysis. The Behavior Analyst, 9, 1–17.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Malott, R. W. (1982, May). Skinner on issues relevant to rule-governed behavior. In M. E. Vaughan (Chair), On rule-governed behavior. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, WI.Google Scholar
  17. Malott, R. W. (1984). Rule-governed behavior, self-management, and the developmentally disabled: A theoretical analysis. Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities, 6, 53–58.Google Scholar
  18. Malott, R. W. (1986). Self-management, rule-governed behavior, and everyday life. In H. W. Reese & L. J. Parrott (Eds.), Behavioral science: Philosophical, methodological, and empirical advances (pp. 207–228). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  19. Malott, R. W. (in press). The achievement of evasive goals: Control by rules describing contingencies that are not direct-acting. In S. Hayes (Ed.), Cognition, contingencies, and rule-governed behavior. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  20. Malott, R. W., & Garcia, M. E. (in press). The role of private events in rule-governed behavior. In L. J. Hayes & P. N. Chase (Eds.), Dialogues on verbal behavior: Proceedings of the First International Institute on Verbal Relations. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Malott, R. W., General, D. A., & Snapper, V. B. (1973). Issues in the analysis of behavior. Kalamazoo, MI: Behaviordelia.Google Scholar
  22. Malott, R. W., & Kent, H. M. (1977). Developing moral control. In J. E. Krapfl & E. A. Vargas (Eds.), Behaviorism and ethics (pp. 49–62). Kalamazoo, MI: Behaviordelia.Google Scholar
  23. Malott, R. W., & Whaley, D. L. (1976). Psychology. Holmes Beach, FL: Learning Publications.Google Scholar
  24. Michael, J. (1982). Distinguishing between discriminative and motivational functions of stimuli. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 37, 149–155.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Michael, J. (1984). Behavior analysis: A radical perspective. In B. L. Hammonds & C. J. Scheirer (Eds.), Master lecture series, Volume 4: Psychology of learning (pp. 99–121). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  26. Michael, J. (1986). Repertoire-altering effects of remote contingencies. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 4, 10–18.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Skinner, B. F. (1945). The operational analysis of psychological terms. Psychological Review, 52, 270–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Skinner, B. F. (1948). Waiden Two. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  29. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Skinner, B. F. (1969). Contingencies of reinforcement. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  32. Skinner, B. F. (1974). About behaviorism. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  33. Stoutimore, M. (1986, May). Arranging for the analysis of cultural practices. Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, WI.Google Scholar
  34. Vargas, E. A. (1985). Cultural contingencies: A review of Marvin Harris’s Cannibals and kings. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 43, 419–428.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard W. Malott
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

Personalised recommendations