Actions have consequences--and being able to learn
from them revolutionized life on earth. It comes in quite
handy for everyday life too.
Some consequences get learned the hard way, while
others are taught, or come naturally. While it's easy
enough to see that consequences are important, few
have heard there's a science of consequences, with
principles that affect us every day and applications
Ten years in the making, THE SCIENCE OF
CONSEQUENCES tells a tale ranging from genetics to
neurotransmitters, from emotion to language, from
parenting to politics. Taking an inclusive "systems"
approach, author Susan Schneider draws together
research lines from many scientific fields to tell a tale
that's epic in scope.
© 2012 Susan M. Schneider
Order the Book
The Science of Consequences
How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain,
and Impact Our World
Selection of the
Scientific American Book Club
Discussed on National Public Radio
Publication date: November 20, 2012
Prometheus Books, 383 pages
Now in its second printing
"This engaging, thoroughly researched book
could not be more timely or useful. . .
Bringing the timeless contributions of B.F.
Skinner into the twenty-first century,
[Schneider] shows how the relationship
between the brain and behavior is a two-way
street, how change really happens, and why
a proper understanding of consequences can
improve our lives, relationships, and society."
-Carol Tavris, PhD, coauthor of Mistakes
Were Made (But Not by Me)
"A wide-ranging and highly entertaining guide
to the many ways that the behavior of
humans and other animals--from bugs to
bonobos--is shaped by consequences.
Schneider knows the science and loves her
subject, and the result is an enjoyable and
enlightening book for anyone who is curious
about behavior and what makes it tick."
-Mark S. Blumberg, PhD, F. Wendell Miller
Distinguished Professor, University of Iowa,
author of Freaks of Nature, Editor-in-Chief,
"Schneider thoroughly and beautifully
explains the elementary rule that governs all
living creatures--behavior is shaped by its
consequences. This book is a kind of love
letter to a simple, yet profound truism."
-Amy Sutherland, author of What Shamu
Taught Me about Life, Love, and Marriage
"A remarkable book. Skinner might have won
over far more people had he had The Science
of Consequences in his arsenal. It's
-Paul Chance, PhD, former editor of
Psychology Today, author of Learning and
"In this important and enjoyable book, Susan
Schneider shows how behavioral
consequences shape the molecular activities
of cells, the wiring of brains, the minds and
choices of individuals, and the intricate social
worlds of human beings. With humor and
compassion, using many wonderful examples
. . . she demonstrates the power and subtlety
of the science of consequences, showing
how its principles can be mobilized to
improve and enrich our lives."
-Eva Jablonka, PhD, coauthor of Evolution in
"Fascinating . . . A ten-year labor of stunning
scholarship across many disciplines."
-Karen Pryor, author of Reaching the Animal
"I truly enjoyed this book; it's an important
contribution . . ."
-Aubrey C. Daniels, PhD, author of Bringing
Out the Best in People
". . . such a carnival of well-attested cases
from the animal kingdom as we have not seen
since Konrad Lorenz's magical King
-George Ainslie, PhD, author of
"Every day our actions have consequences, large and small. A completed chore, a smile, a promotion.
Consequences motivate: Newborns work to hear their mothers' voices. Toddlers graduate to turning lights on and
off for that lovely, surprising feeling of control. A kaleidoscope of consequences awaits.
Despite their dazzling variety, consequences appear to follow a common set of scientific principles--a big
surprise to early researchers. Correspondingly, very different consequences appear to share some similar effects
in the brain. We've long known of so-called "pleasure centers," for example.
From simple rewards to far more complex relations, the science of consequences has expanded and flourished
over the past century, becoming an integral part of psychology, biology, medicine, education, economics, and
many other fields. Taking an 'interacting systems' approach, this book describes this science, its role in the
larger realm of nature-and-nurture, and its many applications.
Consequences shape our choices, and our choices shape us and our societies. (Even the ancient Greeks
understood that.) The Science of Consequences tells the story of how something so deceptively simple can help
make sense of so much."
Part One: Consequences and How Nature-Nurture Really Works
Chapter 1: Consequences Everywhere
Chapter 2: Consequences and Evolution: The Cause that Works Backward
Chapter 3: Genes and Consequences
Chapter 4: Neuroscience and Consequences
Part Two: There's a Science of Consequences?
Chapter 5: Consequences on Schedule
Chapter 6: The Dark Side of Consequences
Chapter 7: Choices and Signals
Chapter 8: Pavlov and Consequences: An Essential Partnership
Chapter 9: Observing and Attending
Chapter 10: Thinking and Communicating
Part Three: Shaping Destinies
Chapter 11: Everyday Consequences
Chapter 12: Fighting the Impulse: Self-Control, Anyone?
Chapter 13: Endangered Species, Undercover Crows, and the Family Dog:
Applications for Animals
Chapter 14: The Rewards of Education and Work
Chapter 15: Help for Addiction, Autism, and Other Conditions
Chapter 16: Consequences on a Grand Scale: Society, the Long Term, and the Planet
From the Preface/Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Consequences are everywhere.