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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

Previous Page


Paper Session #285
Theoretical Advancements in Skinner's Analysis of Verbal Behavior
Sunday, May 28, 2017
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1E/F
Area: VRB
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Mark L. Sundberg (Sundberg and Associates)

Palmer's (2016) Concept of "Intraverbal Control" Extended to "Mand Control" and "Tact Control"

Domain: Theory
MARK L. SUNDBERG (Sundberg and Associates)

Palmer (2016) suggested that in situations where a verbal stimulus participates as a supplemental stimulus in evoking a verbal response (e.g., verbal problem solving), the terminal behavior (e.g., the correct answer to a complex math problem) may be the result of multiple variables. Palmer recommends In cases in which the verbal antecedent is, by itself, insufficient to evoke the relevant response, we should speak of intraverbal control, usually as one of a number of concurrent controlling variables. He recommends we distinguish this type of verbal relation from an intraverbal operant and restrict our usage of this term to a verbal response directly under control of a prior verbal stimulus as the result of a history of reinforcement for emitting that response in the presence of that stimulus (Palmer, 2016). The current presentation will propose a similar distinction be applied to the mand and tact relations. For example, the audience typically functions as a source of nonverbal stimulus control contributing to evoking the behavior of interest, but by itself it is insufficient to evoke the relevant response. Collectively, these three distinctions can provide clarity to our analyses and interpretations of complex behavioral relations.

Skinner's Verbal Behavior is the Foundation of Relational Frame Theory
Domain: Theory
SAM LEIGLAND (Gonzaga University)
Abstract: Relational frame theory is a behavioral account of complex human verbal processes. The development and introduction of relational frame theory to the behavior-analytic scientific community has been a source of continuing controversy and contentious debate. The controversy began with the publication of the first book on the topic which described the theory as "post-Skinnerian". The theory itself has been, and continues to be promoted as a new and distinctive direction from the historical progression and cumulative development of stimulus control in the field of behavior analysis, from Skinner's early work on the discriminative-stimulus function to Sidman's ground-breaking research on stimulus equivalence and derived stimulus relations. This paper makes the argument that Skinner's functional analysis of operant behavior in general, and his original work on discriminative stimulus control combined with Sidman's discoveries form a clear, continuous, and cumulative path to the research, concepts, and applications of relational frame theory. Further, Skinner made clear discriptions and examples of derived relational phenomena and tranformation of function, the hallmarks of relational frame theory, in his Verbal Behavior (1957). Promoting the unifying historical themes, concepts, processes, and research may facilitate a more unified perspective on these complex and important verbal processes.
Joint Control: An Experimental Review and Future Considerations
Domain: Theory
JASON LEWIS (Florida Institute of Technology), Joshua K. Pritchard (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Joint control is a conceptually systematic analysis of verbal behavior (Lowenkron, 1998) that may explain how humans acquire complex verbal operants. Researchers have utilized experimental paradigms that appear to provide a parsimonious explanation of the generative processes that occur in stimulus equivalence procedures. Additionally, research has demonstrated that joint control procedures are responsible for quicker acquisition of selection responses for non-vocal children (Tu, 2006) and sequencing responses of vocal adults (DeGraaf & Schlinger, 2012), when compared to other acquisition protocols. While these initial results demonstrate a promising and emerging technology to teach acquisition of verbal behavior, experiments should be designed to account for complex verbal operants, such as tact extensions. The current paper analyzes the joint control literature to assess how these procedures account for complex verbal behavior. Finally, research suggestions are offered to promote further critical analysis of the effectiveness of joint control procedures on acquiring all verbal operants.
Verbal Operants and Syntactic Constructions: English Noun Phrases
Domain: Theory
ROBERT DLOUHY (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Despite many advances in the theory and application of verbal behavior in recent years, very little attention has been given to syntax, the sequencing of responses in sentences and phrases. Different languages vary as to what responses are sequenced, what complexes of stimuli evoke them, and what their effects upon the listener are. In all cases, there is some degree of regularity in response sequences, which is traditionally explained as being due to rules. Alternatively, it is proposed that syntactic sequencing and regularity can be explained by extending Skinner’s treatment of autoclitics, and his relational autoclitic of order. Certain English response sequences called noun phrases are products of an operant contingency maintained by the English verbal community and are therefore a specific relational autoclitic of order. The paper will also argue that combinations of secondary autoclitics emitted within the noun phrase autoclitic, including those called articles, can account for effects on the listener such as the identifiability and abstractness of the controlling stimulus, number, possession, and location. The paper concludes that this analysis is a model for how the sequencing of verbal responses is organized, and that this analysis is compatible with a recent linguistic theory called Construction Grammar.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh