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The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 31–41 | Cite as

Social Behavior as Discriminative Stimulus and Consequence in Social Anthropology

  • Bernard Guerin
Article

Abstract

A behavior analysis is provided for three topics in social anthropology. Food, social relations, and ritual behaviors can enter into contingencies both as functional consequences and as discriminative stimuli for the reinforcement of behaviors through generalized social consequences. Many “symbolic” behaviors, which some social anthropologists believe go beyond an individual material basis, are analyzed as the latter. It is shown how the development of self-regulation to bridge remote consequences can undermine a group’s generalized social control. It is also shown that rituals and taboos can be utilized to maintain generalized social compliance, which in turn can maintain both the community’s verbal behavior and other group behaviors that bridge indirect and remote consequences.

Key words

social behavior verbal behavior self-regulation symbolic behavior social anthropology generalized social consequences 

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Guerin
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PsychologyUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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