Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #407
CE Offered: BACB
Complex Verbal Processes
Monday, May 28, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
610 (Convention Center)
Area: TPC/VRB; Domain: Theory
Chair: Deric E. Toney (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Jonathan J. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
CE Instructor: Deric E. Toney, M.A.
Abstract: Verbal behavior is implicated in all forms of complex human behavior. Yet many of the most common types of these behaviors have met with little conceptual analyses. This, in turn has prevented a robust empirical investigation of these phenomena. This symposium is aimed at providing a detailed conceptual basis for subsequent research and practice.
Keyword(s): Interbehaviorism, Perspective-Taking, Self-Knowledge, Verbal Behavior

Say You're Sorry. . . a Behavioral Analysis of Apologies and Forgiveness

DERIC E. TONEY (University of Nevada, Reno)

Within in any relationship between humans, there exists a certain functional status quo concerning the partys interactions. This status quo is maintained by a mutual differential reinforcement of each partys responses. A disruption of this condition occurs when one of the parties engages in an offensive response that negatively affects the other party. As a result of this behavior, the responses of both parties contact altered consequences. The offended partys response to this behavior creates a socially aversive condition for the offending party. The termination of this aversive condition now has reinforcing properties and any behavior that has effectively terminated this condition is more likely to occur. This behavior is an apology. Upon further analysis, an apology can be conceptualized as a verbal response declaring pain. Commonly, the verbal stimulus of declaring pain terminates the aversive condition for the offended party. In essence, pain relieves pain. In this presentation, the author will discuss the conditions under which apologies occur and the maintaining consequences for such behavior. Additionally, the similarities between apologies and revenge will be discussed in attempts to shed light on one of the most common behaviors emitted in a relationship.

The Role of Verbal Behavior in Perspective-Taking
GENEVIEVE M. DEBERNARDIS (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Perspective-taking is essential for the development of appropriate communication skills and positive social interactions; therefore it is not surprising that this phenomenon has been studied extensively. This paper will provide a brief overview of the various approaches to perspective-taking, including Theory of Mind and Relational Frame Theory. Particular emphasis will be placed on the potential contribution of an interbehavioral approach to perspective-taking, in particular, the role of the shared history between individuals. An explanation of which variables are necessary for the development of perspective-taking in the interpersonal relationship will be provided. In this paper, perspective-taking is conceptualized on a continuum along greater degrees of complexity wherein categories of this skill can be organized. Discussion will involve the increased interest in the role of verbal behavior in perspective-taking, particularly where along the continuum verbal behavior is required. A better understanding of the conceptualization of perspective-taking and the role of verbal behavior in this phenomenon has important implications for basic and applied research, and practice.
Self-knowledge: Past and Future
LINDA J. PARROTT HAYES (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: What it means to know oneself, as this notion pertains to one’s current behavior, be it public or “private”, presents little difficulty from an analytical standpoint. To know is to act with respect to current stimulation, perhaps in multiple ways, and one’s own behavior is no less a source of stimulation than any other. What it means to know oneself as this notion applies to what one has done or will do is more problematic. The sources of stimulation for past and future events are, at least from an object standpoint, not available in the present, and anything not present cannot be held to be effective in that circumstance. The analyses of such events from a behavior analytic perspective reflect this problem: They are incomplete and inadequate. The aim of this paper is to examine with respect to what a person is responding when they speak of what they have done or will do. In making this analysis, it will be argued that both “past” and “future” events are aspects of the current situation by way of elaborated forms of substitute stimulation.



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