The Participatory Role of Verbal Behavior in an Elaborated Account of Metacontingency: From Conceptualization to Investigation

Gregory Scott Smith, Ramona Houmanfar, Sushil J. Louis


The concept of metacontingency has been developed in order to advance an analysis of group practices and, presumably, a science of cultural change and intervention. To date discussion surrounding the metacontingency has been largely theoretical in nature. The present study arranged conditions analog to an organizational setting, in which two participants engaged in interlocking behaviors on networked computers to generate products for their hypothetical organization. Varying instructions were presented to participants throughout the experiment to determine their effect on participants’ coordinated problem solving behavior. Data were collected on participants’ task performance and their vocal verbal interactions as they solved problems together. The experimental conditions and data are analyzed and discussed within the framework of the metacontingency concept and thus far, the empirical data support the conceptualization of metacontingency.


metacontingency, sociology, cultural analysis, cultural selection, organizational behavior management, group practices

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility