The principle of reinforcement (changes in the probability of responses as function of reinforcing consequences) has been used to explain simple and complex behavioral phenomena. Within Behavior Analysis, this principle has historically been applied to individual behaviors, that is, to explain recurrence of behavior in the repertoire of an individual organism. While B. F. Skinner argued for the possibility of functional relations between external consequences and social coordinated behaviors, he did not deeply develop this issue, neither experimentally nor theoretically (see, e.g., Skinner, 1953, 1962, 1981). Although others have used the Skinnerian framework to experimentally approach social coordination (e.g., Azrin & Lindsley, 1956), it was with the publication of a conceptual work by Glenn (1986) that further attention was given to the principle of reinforcement operating at a group level (e.g., Luke, Roose, Rakos, & Mattaini, 2017). The current project is an attempt to contribute and strengthen the idea that coordinated social behaviors can be considered a unit of behavior that are selected by external environmental consequences (i.e., functional relations in metacontingencies). In this proposal, I will first present a background on the definition of a unit of behavior within behavior analysis. In the second part, I will define metacontingencies and describe studies in this field. Then, I outline the articles that will be produced as part of this proposal.
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