Changing Another Person LO20128

Fred Nickols (
Tue, 08 Dec 1998 05:56:19 -0500

Responding to Host's Note in LO20098 --

>[Host's Note: Fred, what if Jon is talking about future behaviors, saying
>that consequences of behavior either bring more of that behavior in the
>future (reinforcing) or less of it in the future (neg, balanceing)? Any
>reactions to that reading of Jon's post? ...Rick]

If in Situation A, where I desire Outcome B, patterned set of Actions C
produces Outcome B, then if I find myself again in a situation similar to
A with the aim of obtaining an outcome similar to B I might find a
patterned set of actions similar to C of use to me and I might engage in
roughly that same pattern of actions.

What I've written above might sound roughly the same as saying that
consequences shape behavior, however, it is not. What is stated above
includes intention or purpose, which is not a part of reinforcement

It is extremely unlikely that I will encounter exactly the same situation
but I will often have exactly the same aim in mind. Therefore my actions
will vary. Thus it is that over time we manage to achieve the same
results under different circumstances.

So, to answer your question, Rick, even given your reading of Jon's
statement, I'm not sure it is accurate to say that current consequences
shape future behavior. It is probably more accurate to say that the
consequences of our actions shape our repertoire, i.e., that stock or
store of patterned actions on which we draw and from which we configure
our response to any particular situation.

We do what we do to get what we want and we vary our actions accordingly.
The only "consequences" that matter are those that inform us as to how
we're doing with respect to getting what we want.


Fred Nickols Distance Consulting (609) 490-0095

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