What behavior analysis has to say about discrimination and prejudice: Implications for ethics, culture, and society – 4/23/19

What behavior analysis has to say about discrimination and prejudice: Implications for ethics, culture, and society

Professor A. Charles Catania


Live Event Information:

  • Date: Tuesday, 4/23/19
  • Time: 10:00am-1:00pm eastern standard time

Recording Information

  • This webinar is presented LIVE and will be recorded. All registrants have the opportunity to attend LIVE and/or view the recording during the 5 day limited access period that begins the day after the live webinar.
  • Not sure how our recording program works? Read More

Scroll down to the product description for the complete description and related information about this event.


Behavior analysis cannot solve the pervasive problem of discrimination and prejudice within and across communities, but it can clarify how they arise and can point to some hopeful directions for change. During this 3- hour ethics event, Professor Catania will show how discrimination, which is based on actual contact with contingencies of stimulus-control, differs fundamentally from prejudice, which is based primarily on verbal history in combination with the formation of equivalence classes.

After reviewing some basic behavioral processes, including but not limited to: discrimination and generalization, attention, operant classes, higher-order classes and equivalence classes, verbal behavior, and the distinction between contingency-shaped and verbally governed behavior, Professor Catania will show how these categories relate to significant dimensions of human social behavior and whenever possible will juxtapose examples of real-world contingencies with parallels derived from the laboratory.

Learning Objectives:

After attending this event, participants should be able to:
(1) describe the relations among discrimination, generalization, and attention
(2) discuss the parallels between discrimination in its technical usage (as when a pigeon learns to peck green but not red) and discrimination in its social sense (as when members of different gangs learn what distinguishes members of their own gang from members of other gangs)
(3) distinguish between contingency-shaped behavior and verbally governed behavior, and to describe how discrimination based on actual contingencies differs from pre-judgment based on verbal antecedents (prejudice)
(4) discuss the properties of equivalence classes, and show how they are related to higher-order classes, operant classes, and the social contingencies that lead to often arbitrary distinctions among classes defined by race, gender, ethnic origins and other social dimensions  
(5) describe the ethical implications of the behavioral processes considered here and relate them to diversity as it arises through variation and selection

Continuing Education:

  • Behavior Analysts: 3 type II CEs Live or recording
  • Psychologists: N/A
  • Social Workers and Certified Counselors: N/A
  • Teachers: Acquire professional development hours for watching this event. Discuss the event with your supervisor to determine if it is eligible.

For ABAC’s continuing education approvals statements please view our Continuing Education page

10:00 am: Introduction
10:05 am: Presentation begins
11:30 am: 10 minute break
11:40 am: First Q&A Session- submit questions via chat
11:50 am: Presentation resumes
12:45 pm: Q&A submit questions for chat
1:00 pm: Posttest, Evaluation and submit attendance codes

Charles Catania is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), where he co-founded the MA track in Applied Behavior Analysis in the Human Services Psychology program.  He is Past-President of the Association for Behavior Analysis and of Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. He has been Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior​ and Associate Editor for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior for the journal, ​Behavioral and Brain Sciences​.  He is author of more than 200 journal articles and chapters, and his books include ​Learning​, now in its 5​th​ edition, Variations and Selections​ (co-edited with Philip N. Hineline), the Definitive Edition of B. F. Skinner’s ​Cumulative Record​ (co-edited with Victor G. Laties) and, most recently, ​The ABCs of Behavior Analysis​.He is presently working on a new book, The Evolution of a Science: A Brief History of Behavior Analysis in the Twentieth Century, with co-authors Nancy Neef and Victor G. Laties.

Presenter Disclosure Statement:

Dr. Catania receives speaker fees for presenting for ABAC. Dr. Catania receives royalties for the sale of his books, some of which may be mentioned during this event.

Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

Our webinars are available to anyone who is able to access the internet. For those who are vision impaired attendance codes are read aloud and graphs and videos are described verbally. For those who require it, our webinar platform allows for closed-captioning. For more information, contact us at info@abacnj.com.

Cancellation, missed webinar, and grievance policy information

Before continuing make please note:
  • Not all webinars offer continuing education credit hours to certain professionals. Check each webinar for more information.
  • No CE credit is provided for the Free ABACLive Cambridge Center Series webinars or for university/college class supplemental material.
For CE eligible webinars:

Attendance Codes:

Participants are required to attend the entire workshop.  ABAC presenters embed codes randomly within their workshops that participants need to send to us following the workshops to ensure attendance.


In addition, participants are required to pass a post-test with 80% accuracy.


The moderator will present a visual model of how to access the post-test, evaluation, and code-submission form at the end of the webinar.

Each of these are formatted as online forms and are available after the live event and for the duration of the recording access period.