The Science of Consequences

How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World

Susan M. Schneider, Ph.D.

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A scientific generalist with a broad perspective, biopsychologist Susan Schneider obtained her graduate education from Brown University (mechanical engineering) and the University of Kansas, and her multifaceted career includes a stint in the Peace Corps. She taught the science of consequences to Ph.D. students at Auburn University, and at Florida International University, she was the Associate Director of the Developmental Psychobiology laboratory. She has published numerous research and theoretical articles and book chapters, including pioneering studies on generalization and choice. She's taught over a dozen different psychology courses, including cognitive psychology, social psychology, comparative psychology, statistics, research methods, and history of psychology. She began the extensive research for the book in 2001.

Schneider is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of the Pacific. The Science of Consequences is her first book.

* Over twenty-five years of research and scholarship in the science of consequences and nature-nurture relations.

* Has been a professor at St. Olaf College and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

* Has long championed the inclusive "systems theory" approach to nature-nurture relations, culminating in reviews in 2003 and 2007. Her 2003 review was one of the most viewed articles on the journal's website for several years.

* Published in journals as varied as American Psychologist, International Journal of Comparative Psychology, Developmental Psychobiology, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Behavioural Processes, European Journal of Developmental Science, Analysis of Verbal Behavior, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and The Behavior Analyst.

* Nearly 100 scientific presentations, including many recent keynote and invited addresses at conferences and universities across the United States and internationally.

* Has been a member of the American Psychological Association, Association for Behavior Analysis, Comparative Cognition Society, International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, and Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior.

* Has served as a reviewer for many scientific journals, including American Psychologist, Animal Cognition, Behavioural Brain Research, Developmental Science, Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and The Behavior Analyst.

* Schneider is an experienced naturalist who leads field trips and conducts scientific bird surveys, and she's volunteered at the local nature center's "Bugfest." She also loves gardening.


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Reflections on B. F. Skinner
Winner, National Medal of Science

B. F. Skinner was the Harvard psychologist whose pioneering work decades ago did the most to establish the science of consequences. I was very fortunate that Skinner and I became friends during the last 15 years of his life. Here's a link to an interview conducted by Dr. Sophia Yin on how this came about: Link to interview

In the interview, I also discuss Skinner as the sage of positive reinforcement, and I summarize his views on nature-nurture relations, based on our conversations and my reading of Skinner's many books and articles.

Skinner and I discussed psychology, philosophy, biology, science in general, literature, music, education, environmental and social justice issues, politics, and the future (which he worried about). He also took an interest in my career. Here are scans of two of the short, supportive letters he wrote me: Link to correspondence
I haven't always followed his advice!

The handwritten note from 1983 came after I had joined the Peace Corps and was about to head overseas. I've also included the inscription on the first volume of his autobiography, which he sent to me not long after it came out. Talk about positive reinforcement . . .

A brief anecdote: When I became an engineering graduate student at Brown, I was close enough to visit Skinner at Harvard. I had misunderstood his instructions about chatting over lunch, and brought a bag lunch, so we simply shared it!

© 2012 Susan M. Schneider