Conservation and transformation of cultural practices through contingencies and metacontingencies

Joáo Claudio Todorov


Cultural practices are maintained by social contingencies that prevail in a given society, group or organization. Behavior analysis have dealt mostly with cultural practices while individual behavior through the experimental analysis of operant behavior. Metacontingency is a generic concept encompassing the behavior of persons in groups leading to aggregate products, some effect on the environment that is possible through the result of interlocked behavioral contingencies. The concept has generated a large amount of empirical research, in large part experimental. So far metacontingencies have been classified as ceremonial or technological. The present work advances the classification of conservative, when the aggregate product is strictly specified by the social contingency, and transformative, when the metacontingency requires variability and originality in the aggregate product.


cultural practices, social contingency, conservative metacontingency, transformative metacontingency, schedules of cultural selection

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility