Special Event

with Dr Susan Schneider

Date: 13 February 2017

BACB CEUs: 3.5  (Type 2; included in registration fee)

Venue: Skills for Care, Lynton House, WC1H 9LT

Timetable (please note that this is a change from the originally published timetable)

12:30 Coffee and arrivals

1:00 Talk 1: Operant Principles Everywhere

2:15 Coffee break

2:45 Talk 2: The Science of Consequences

4:30 Close

Registration for this event is now closed.

About Our Speaker

Dr. Susan M. Schneider’s involvement in behaviour analysis goes back to high school when she read Beyond Freedom and Dignity and wrote B. F. Skinner, never dreaming that he would reply. They corresponded through her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Brown University, her engineering career, and her stint in the Peace Corps. At that point, Schneider bowed to the inevitable and switched careers earning a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, holding faculty positions at St. Olaf College, Auburn University, and Florida International University. A research pioneer in the quantitative analysis of behaviour, her publications also cover the history and philosophy of behaviour analysis and its biological context. Building on this background, her book for the public, The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World, describes operant principles, their role in the nature-nurture system, and their full range of applications. It earned a mention in the journal Nature, was a selection of the Scientific American Book Club, and took Schneider on a book tour across the United States and Scandinavia. She also has appeared on national radio programs.

Talk 1: Operant Principles Everywhere: Interdisciplinary Behaviour Analysis and the Future of Our Field

Operant principles apply everywhere from simple invertebrates to Wall Street.  It’s reassuring to observe how scientists and practitioners in related fields are increasingly discovering “our” operant principles and applications‑‑with or without discovering our field of behavior analysis and its established terminology, methodology, and practices.  Like other sciences, ours has always been part of a larger interdisciplinary effort.  While the days of the generalist may be gone, interdisciplinary work is arguably more important than ever: We now know how fully operant principles interact with others in the large and complex nature‑and‑nurture system, for example.  This talk will take stock of our field’s current interdisciplinary extensions, with their boundless opportunities.  Our biological context includes significant advances in operant‑related genetics and epigenetics as well as sophisticated neuroscience.  When it comes to higher‑order skills, the functional linguists are among many fellow travelers. In application, ever more randomized controlled trials are expanding our reach in the mainstream, even as our small‑n designs are increasingly accepted (and even adopted).  I will summarize selected advances in all of these areas, and discuss what behavior analysts can learn and how we can contribute.  While interdisciplinary work entails some barriers to be surmounted, the benefits can be considerable, and they flow in both directions.

Talk 2: The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World

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.