A science of culture: Conceptual and experimental analysis on cultural selection
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Behavior analysis offers a conceptual framework of the scientific model of selection, which explains selection on three different levels: phylogenetic, ontogenetic and cultural. Cultural practices can be considered the unit of analysis on cultural level, within groups (Skinner, 1988). To test the premise, a model of selection by consequences, cultural selection can be researched in a laboratory setting, as there has been a long tradition for on operant level. Article 1, discusses how knowledge from behavior analysis can contribute to the understanding of human social behavior and practices, and how it can enable the behavior analysis to deal with complex cultural issues. Article 2, presents two experiments conducted for this purpose, addressing the concept of cultural selection. In experiment 1, six groups of four participants worked together. Practices of choice making (dependent variable) were selected by feedback given by the experimenter (independent variable). The practices consisted of the interlocking behavior of the individuals in the group and their choice as aggregate product. In experiment 2, nine participants performed the experimental task individually. The experiments (groups and individuals) were conducted as a within subject, ABAB reversal design.
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