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.


Seventh International Conference; Merida, Mexico; 2013

Event Details

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Paper Session #82
Boring, Skinner and Kantor
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Izamal (Fiesta Americana)
Area: VRB
Chair: Mitch Fryling (California State University, LA)

A Unifying Taxonomy of Verbal Behavior

Domain: Theory
AIKATERINI DOUNAVI (Queen's University of Belfast)

Skinner's (1957) classification of verbal operants has had a profound effect on the philosophical, experimental as well as the applied analysis of verbal behavior. In this paper, Skinner's functional classification as well as Michael's (1982) and Vargas' (1982) additional analyses are reviewed and extended to include functional categories that take into account the topography of responses and stimuli (Baker, LeBlanc, & Raetz, 2008), and identity or non-identity relations between them (Sidman, 1971). On the basis of this extended analysis of verbal behavior, a detailed disambiguation tree is proposed, in order to facilitate the development of a taxonomy that allows practitioners to assess individuals' existing verbal repertoire prior to designing an intervention. The disambiguation tree is also aimed to serve as a useful tool for whoever instructs students in the area of verbal behavior, for including a comprehensive, consistent, and straightforward method of classifying any given verbal response according to all its characteristics (i.e., function, topography, and relation to antecedents and consequences).


CANCELED: B. F. Skinner and E. G. Boring: A Love - Hate Relationship

Domain: Theory
KRISTJAN GUDMUNDSSON (Reykjavik College of Women)

B. F. Skinner had difficulties in graduating from the Harvard psychology department and his Ph. D. thesis was in fact originally rejected, due to the major figure in Harvard psychology, E. G. Boring. But Boring was also the person that instigated Skinner's move back to Harvard as a professor 20 years later. In this paper I analyze the complex relationship between the two, Skinner and Boring, beginning with Boring's criticism of Skinner's thesis and relate it to Chomsky's infamous similar criticism. This can only be done through unpublished material touched upon in Skinner's autobiographies and better revealed in the Harvard Archives. An evaluation is made of the changing relationship between the two and of Boring's original criticism, that let him to reject Skinner's original thesis.


J. R. Kantor's Psychological Linguistics

Domain: Theory
MITCH FRYLING (California State University, LA)

J. R. Kantor developed a philosophy of science, interbehaviorism (Kantor, 1953), and a scientific system of psychology, interbehavioral psychology (Kantor, 1958). Perhaps somewhat less well known or understood is Kantor's approach to language, or what many behavior analysts call verbal behavior. This presentation will provide an overview of Kantor's approach to verbal behavior, as outlined in his texts An Objective Psychology of Grammar (Kantor, 1952), and Psychological Linguistics (Kantor, 1977). In particular, emphasis will be placed on understanding Kantor's distinction between referential and non-referential behavior segments. Then, a selective overview of research and scholarship derived from Kantor's approach to language will be provided. In addition, the value of Kantor's approach will be considered in light of several existing alternatives, including joint control, naming, relational frame theory, and Skinner's (1957) analysis of verbal behavior. Finally, implications for integration in the field of behavior analysis, including related practice issues will be discussed. It will be argued that Kantor's perspective, while relatively less well known or understood than others, has much to offer behavior analysis.




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