Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Paul T. Mountjoy

Second Advisor

Dr. Norman Peterson

Third Advisor

Dr. Arthur Falk

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower


This paper provides a conceptual framework which clarifies the relationship between General Systems Theory and Behavior Analysis. This framework is supplied by a theoretical notion borrowed from Simon (1962), the notion of "dynamics of interaction." "Interaction" refers to interaction between the units of analysis of science, e.g., in the analysis of behavior, stimuli, responses, and consequences in economics, units of supply and demand. The paradigm of Behavior Analysis is seen to accommodate a "higher-frequency dynamics" found in subsystems; and General Systems Theory, along with disciplines like Economics and Organizational Analysis, accommodates a "lower-frequency dynamics" found in systems. Argument is based on the observation that the average duration of interaction, and interval between interactions, is greater at the level of organizations, for example, than that of the individual organism. The implication for the applied behavior analysts is that, in their efforts to design enduring behavior change programs, they must also attend to the low-frequency dynamics which form the context for these programs.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access