Actions have consequences—and the ability to learn from them revolutionized life on earth. It comes in quite handy for everyday life too. While it’s easy enough to see that consequences are important, few have heard there’s a science of consequences, with principles that affect us every day and applications everywhere—at home, at work, at school. Despite their variety, consequences appear to follow a common set of scientific principles and share some similar effects in the brain (such as the so-called pleasure centers).
Further, scientists have demonstrated that learning from consequences predictably activates genes and restructures the neural configuration of the brain-in humans as well as in animals. Consequences are an integral part of the nature-and-nurture system. In The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World, Susan M. Schneider, an internationally recognized biopsychologist, draws together research lines from many scientific fields to tell the story of how something so deceptively simple can help make sense of so much.
Susan M. Schneider, PhD (Stockton, CA), a biopsychologist and naturalist, has an international reputation in nature-nurture relations, mathematical modeling of animal behavior, and the principles of learning from consequences. She was a longtime friend of B. F. Skinner, who mentored her through the start of her academic career. Schneider is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of the Pacific. She has been a professor at St. Olaf College, Auburn University, and Florida International University, and a visiting research fellow at the University of Auckland.
Author: Susan M. Schneider