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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Paper Session #506
Complex Analyses in Verbal Behavior: Music, Grammar, the Critic, and Communication Devices
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Michigan ABC, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: VRB
Chair: Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)

Parallels and Incongruities Between Musical and Verbal Behaviors: The Case of Absolute Pitch

Domain: Theory
BENJAMIN REYNOLDS (University of Nevada, Reno), Linda J. Parrott Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)

The study of music in behavior analytic accounts constitutes a poorly addressed area of application due to conceptual incongruities in the field and a general lack of common ground between the disciplines of music and behavior analysis. This paper will review various, sometimes conflicting attempts to translate music in terms of Skinner's (1957) analysis of verbal behavior and propose clarifications of verbal behavior constructs to account for the conceptual similarities and differences between musical and verbal behavior. The musical concepts of mimicry, relative pitch, and absolute pitch are discussed from the perspective of verbal behavior and implications of this view form a basis for recommendations concerning further study.

Autoclitic Frames and Construction Grammar
Domain: Theory
ROBERT DLOUHY (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: In Verbal Behavior, Skinner reached the threshold of a functional analysis of syntax by introducing the autoclitic frame and the relational autoclitic of order. Skinner did not pursue a functional syntactic analysis, but in 2015 Dlouhy argued that such an analysis is possible and can account for the so-called structure of verbal responses as well as their regularity. One conclusion from this type of analysis is that a verbal community maintains a large number of contingencies that control the sequencing of responses into consistent types that form the constituents of sentences. This paper will argue that this functional syntactic analysis is in some ways compatible with the findings of the “Construction Grammar” movement in American linguistics. This movement, which has gained a large following in the U.S., holds that a language consists of a large set of phrasal patterns – constructions – each of which specifies relations between its constituents. Specifically, this paper will argue that these constructions can be viewed behavior-analytically as response products of the operant contingencies that sequence responses as autoclitic frames. Cross-disciplinary research may inform both constructionist linguistics and behavior-analysis, and lead to more advanced applications.

A Naturalistic Approach to the Behavior of the Critic: Review and Future Directions

Domain: Basic Research
MARIA ISABEL MUNOZ-BLANCO (Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones en Comportamiento), Maria Antonia Padilla Vargas (University of Guadalajara)

Several authors have stated the importance of the behavior of the critic with respect to the understanding of creativity, but had opposed the study of it given its elusive nature (Epstein, 1980; Marr, 2003; Carpio, 1999). From naturalistic psychology, Kantor (1982) argued that it is necessary to understand cultural behavior, including the behavior of the critic, in terms of the responses of the individual.. The purpose of this presentation is to show a naturalistic instrument developed to capture the behavior of the critic and how it can be used to understand the behavior of the critic in terms of the individual responses. To test this instrument, 30 participants from three different cultural groups (art, science and various trades) were asked to organize pictures according to how creative they considered them to be. Data was analyzed using the Q-method software showing individual differences as well as similarities within the participants. This instrument shows promise in furthering the understanding the behavior of the critic from a psychological perspective, complementing the promising research done with respect to the behavior of the creator.


Aided Language Stimulation:Behavioral Interpretation and Review of Literature

Domain: Theory
JENNIFER ALBIS (The Evergreen Center), Lise Gallo (The Evergreen Center)

Many non-vocal students communicate using voice output communication devices. However, there are few formal training procedures available for teaching students to engage in verbal behavior using these systems beyond basic mand training. Aided Language Stimulation is one often-recommended strategy from professionals in the fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Augmentative and Alternative Communication that has little evaluation within the behavior analytic literature. This strategy requires a communication partner to use visual symbols, paired with spoken words, to express his or her own verbal behavior in order to provide a symbol-based model to the student, just as vocal students receive incidental vocal models throughout the day. Proponents suggest that this procedure will promote increased comprehension and use of symbol vocabulary by device users. This paper will evaluate the available literature regarding this strategy and will provide a behavioral interpretation of the procedure. By interpreting this strategy through behavioral principles, we hope to show that experimental analysis of this strategy is warranted to determine its application to communication training for non-vocal students.




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