The Science of Consequences

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


"The study of consequences has given us incredible insights into human behavior. . . . This excellent, excellent book is a wonderfully entertaining and enlightening survey."
-Five-star online editorial review, Science and Nature category, San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review magazine, posted April 16, 2013
"Engaging and fast-paced . . . Schneider moves agilely from the worlds of genetics and neuroscience to animal behavior, education, and ethics. She layers insights from decades of research with personal anecdotes to ask increasingly provocative questions. . . From one chapter to the next, she deftly weaves a narrative that keeps the reader turning the page. This title is provocative, compelling, and rewarding."
-ForeWord Reviews, Winter 2013
"Citing a diverse collection of behavioral, biological, and mathematical modeling studies . . . this big-picture analysis is a good reminder that rewards are powerful and no behavior is without consequences and the ability to change us."
-Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2012
"Biopsychologist Susan Schneider, a protégé of twentieth-century behaviourist B. F. Skinner, reveals the effects of actions' consequences on evolution, the genome and the brain. . . such insights can inform real-life applications, from the treatment of depression to solving global issues such as overfishing."
-Nature, November 8, 2012
". . . casts a wider net than most readers will have considered, bringing together such diverse phenomena as light avoidance by the planarian worms to the world of politics. . . . Brain chemistry, epigenetics, education theory, behavioral psychology, brain imaging, and therapy techniques are just some of the topics . . . The Science Of Consequences will be a fine jumping-off point for anyone interested in modern developments in learning theory and behavioral science."
-National Science Teachers Association Recommends, March 11, 2013
"[Schneider] strives to present the full depth and range of a science that is now far more mature than the one Skinner first described. . . . A work of optimism and inclusion. . . . The sheer scope is dazzling."
-The Behavior Analyst, Spring 2014
"Examines consequences as a system with many interconnected parts from neuroscience, genetics, evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, psychiatry, addiction medicine, habits management, education and economics. . . . The Science of Consequences is a tightly wrapped marathon-sized intellectual bomb of a book full of lofty multidisciplinary insights and powerful life hacks."
-Book review, "Canis bonus" blog (Europe), January 2, 2015
"Hits the mark for accessibility, information, and entertainment. . . . unbridled enthusiasm for the topic and the science."
-International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 2014 (#2)

Listed in the Science News "Bookshelf," March 9, 2013


Popular Press Article

Essay and book excerpt in The Scientist magazine,
November 2012:
--- Link to essay "Truth and Consequences"
--- Link to book excerpt
From Chapter 2, "Consequences and Evolution:
The Cause That Works Backwards."

Additional Events

Something You Should Know national program
Marilu Henner Show
Kari Moran's BookRadio Hour (southern CA)
George DiGianni's show (Dallas)
"Let's Talk" with Dr. Stan Frager (Louisville)
Free Fire Radio (Redding, CA)
Miami Book Fair's BookMarc with Marc Bernier
Michael Dresser's show
Skeptical Connections
SunCoast Live - and more!

Interview "Nature and Nurture" in the Stockton Record, January 27, 2013.

Interviews & Other Media Coverage

The Science of Consequences has been featured in national radio programs, NPR, & national magazines.
I've now added coverage on the climate crisis, my focus for the last few years.  It does get discussed in my book - and it is a crisis . . .


Highlights (see below for links)

Union of Concerned Scientists podcast
- on learning principles for climate action 
Released September 2022

National Public Radio interviews:  "Insight" - Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, 2016
"Speakers Forum" - Seattle NPR, a broadcast of my 2013 presentation in the Seattle Science Lectures series
"Central Standard" - Kansas City NPR, 2013

Sirius national program, "Doctor Radio" - 2013

"Science Fantastic" with Michio Kaku - 2013


Recent Interviews (with links)

New podcast! - out in February 2024
The Spanish translation of my book, The Science of Consequences, came out last year. Here's an interview I did recently with the two translators, in both English and Espanol.
It’s a little over an hour long.
Interviewer: Juanjo Macias.  Translator: Javier Virues-Ortega.

Link to podcast

"Got Science?" Podcast
Union of Concerned Scientists
September 2022

Covers the behavioral side of climate change - particularly bringing about community-level change for greater impact.  Some of the learning principles in my book are included.  Enjoy; it's about half an hour or there's a transcript.

Resource links are under "Related Content" on the webpage - and include my book and the invaluable Tools of Change website.

Link to podcast
Learning to Fight the Climate Crisis
(not about the book, although those principles are emphasized)
One-hour presentation

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that humanity has only about ten years to cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half, and the consequences of failure are dire. The technology to solve the climate crisis has been available for years: This is a behavioral challenge. The PowerPoint talk focuses on learning principles like positive reinforcement - more complex than it might seem. From the feedback in smart dashboards to gamification of all sorts of sustainable behaviors, we can learn to make wiser choices. Successful programs include Seattle’s for green transport, an internationally successful approach getting kids to eat their veggies, and energy efficiency campaigns with surprising incentives. Ample resources offer support for anyone trying to make a difference - at home, at work, in the community, or more broadly. But can we learn to change quickly enough?

Hosted by Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition, Fridays for Future program
April 8, 2022

Link to see the webinar

Hosted by 350-Sacramento on May 5.
Posted May 2020.

Link to see the webinar

Horses for Future - Learning Principles for Sustainability

My host, Alexandra Kurland, has been bringing evidence-based positive reinforcement methods to horse training for years - so much better all around than traditional aversive techniques. Lately she's been focused on promoting sustainable pasturing methods, and generally fighting the climate crisis.  One-hour interview.
Posted April 2020.
Website:  Horses for Future - The Clicker Center

Link to listen to podcast

Two youtube interviews about climate change (NOT about the book).   The San Joaquin County Climate Action Coalition that I co-founded is featured.  From our local progressive radio station, run by the Peace and Justice Network.  Each is 1 hour long.
Posted February 2020.
Posted June 2019.

An interview about the book and about climate change and sustainability, in conjunction with the Convergence conference in Seattle.  35 minutes long.
Posted April 2019.

An interview about behavior and sustainability, in the "Under the Dome" blog from the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the main organization for experts in the science of consequences.
Posted August 7, 2018.

"The Science of Consequences"
Animal Training Academy, hosted by Ryan Cartlidge, May 29, 2018. 1 hour.
Over 2000 downloads, and take a look at the accompanying comments about my book, which include "awesome" and "brilliant."  (Thanks!)
Link to listen

"Insight" live interview, Sacramento's NPR affiliate,
Capital Public Radio, April 6, 2016. 10 min.  
Link to listen

Speakers Forum, NPR's KUOW, August 8, 2013.
A broadcast of my July 11 presentation in Seattle's
Science Lectures series.
Original podcast available on request.

"Central Standard" live interview, Kansas City's
NPR affiliate KCUR, February 7, 2013. 30 min.

Sirius/XM's Doctor Radio with NYU psychiatrist Dr. Dolores Malaspina, May 7, 2013.

National radio program Science Fantastic
with theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.
Broadcast the week of January 26-31, 2013.

Interview by veterinarian and animal behavior expert
Dr. Sophia Yin for her blog, Nov/Dec 2012, 3 parts

Podcast of 2013 presentation at Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Central Library

© 2012-2023 Susan M. Schneider