11:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Sigrid Glenn: Concept of Metacontingency: What It Is, What It Is Not, and Who Needs It?

The concept of metacontingency extends the world view of selection-by-consequences to some of the phenomena characteristic of complex cultures. The concept is designed to help us understand the origin and evolution of organized entities (e.g. hospitals, factories, foundations, co-ops, professional societies) that exist over extended time periods. I will review the fundamental features of metacontingencies, drawing a parallel to operant contingency relations, and explain why I think the concept is useful in understanding the evolution of cultures. Because organizations are not the only phenomena that characterize cultures, I will point out cultural phenomena that metacontingencies do not address. Finally, I will suggest professional areas where the concept may be useful and others where it is probably not directly re