SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.8 número2Pesquisa histórica em análise do comportamento índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
Home Pagelista alfabética de revistas  

Temas em Psicologia

versión impresa ISSN 1413-389X


SOUZA, Deisy das Graças de. The concept of contingency: a historical analysis. Temas psicol. [online]. 2000, vol.8, n.2, pp. 125-136. ISSN 1413-389X.

In the analysis of behavior, the concept of contingency was originally used to indicate a temporal or spatial contiguity among events, but its evolution lent to the notion of relations of dependence among events (environmental or behavioral and environmental events). More relevant, however, is the increasing complexity of behavioral phenomena exposed to the scrutiny of an experimental analysis of behavior, which very often results in the refinement of the concept itself. Using this concept, one can identify the components of behavioral relations; the descriptions of the effects of contingencies constitute functional relationships. Despite the importance of the three-term contingency, the history of the operant reveals two trajectories in the search for functional relations, one primarily directed to response-reinforcer relations, the other studying antecedent-response relations. The first refers to the exhaustive studies of reinforcer parameters (the Law of Effect), the second to studies of stimulus control. The emphasis usually neglects the three-term contingency, with detrimental effects for advances in the area. Recent developments, however, call for an integrated analysis of reinforcement contingencies for a fuller comprehension of the behavioral processes engendered by those contingencies.

Palabras clave : contingency; three-terms contingency; the law of effect; stimulus control; behavioral momentum; conceptual evolution; evolution of behavioral analytic practices.

        · resumen en Portugués     · texto en Portugués     · Portugués ( pdf )


Creative Commons License