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Public defense for Carsta Simon

Carsta Simon will defend her thesis "Selection of Verbal Behavior during Ontogeny - The Challenge of Harnessing Behavior Patterns for Scientific Investigation" for the Ph.D in Behavior Analysis

Carsta Simon is employed at the Department of Behavioral Science.

Sted: Pilestredet 46, PA113 Dato og tid: fredag 22. juni 2018 kl. 10.00 - 17.00

Trial Lecture

22th June 2018 at 10.00

Title : "Multiple Scales and Levels of Behavioral Process:  Selection, Contingency vs. Contiguity, Emergence, and Implications for Reductionistic Explanation"

Public Defence

The candidate will defend her thesis 22th June 2018 at 12.15


  • First opponent: Professor Philip Hineline Department of Psychology, College of Education, Philadephia, USA
  • Second opponent: Professor Leonard Green Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • Committee coordinator: Associate professor Hanna Steinunn Steingrímsdóttir, Department of Behavioral Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University


  • William M. Baum, Dept. of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis
  • Per Holth, Dept. of Behavioral Science, OsloMet

Leader of the Public Defense

Dean Gro Jamtvedt, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University.


The behavior of organisms results from environmental events that have partly occurred during the history of their species, and partly during the lifetime of the organism. Natural selection explains how physiological and behavioral characteristics of organisms are across generations tailored to the environment. It has produced ontogenetic selection processes that, within each generation, tailor the behavior of organisms to their environment. This thesis investigates how these ontogenetic processes of selection by environmental events affect behavior, and how they relate to natural selection. The former is primarily investigated in two empirical studies of a particular kind of behavior, that is, verbal interactions between conversational partners. The latter is primarily endeavored in two conceptual papers. A fifth paper, ties together the conceptual selectionist framework with empirical observations on verbal interactions. The empirical papers demonstrate experimental procedures investigating variables that select word choice, duration of talk, and allocation of talk and gaze to two conversational partners. Together with the conceptual papers, a study on matching in conversations expands on the (molar) multi-scale approach to an analysis of behavior by suggesting that allocation of conversational partners’ talk and gaze is more likely an example of induction than of strengthening by reinforcement.