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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Paper Session #408
Theoretical Approaches to Complex Verbal Behavior
Monday, May 28, 2018
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall B
Area: VRB
Instruction Level: Advanced
Chair: Robert Dlouhy (Western Michigan University)
English Clauses as Relational Autoclitics of Order
Domain: Theory
ROBERT DLOUHY (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The relational autoclitic of order, introduced by Skinner in Chapter 13 of Verbal Behavior (1957), has received little attention from behavior analysts. This may be due to Skinner’s brief and rather opaque treatment of it, and his introduction of the autoclitic frame later in the chapter. The lack of attention has caused our field to miss an opportunity to explain syntactic regularity and complexity in behavior analytic terms. An interpretation of English clause types as relational autoclitics of order shows, first of all, that a behavior analytic definition of what linguists call a clause is possible. Furthermore, it shows that apparent “syntactic structure” emerges without the need to posit rules. In addition, it shows that appropriate listener responses to the verbal stimuli in a clause are evoked by the positions’ autoclitic effect on those verbal stimuli. This analysis supports treatment of autoclitic frames as partially specified relational autoclitics of order.

Producing and Responding to Ambiguous Verbal Stimuli: From Cold Reading to Tarot Cards

Domain: Theory
THOM RATKOS (Berry College)

A competent verbal speaker is constantly bombarded with stimuli that have the potential to evoke hundreds if not thousands of discrete verbal responses, yet we can only form one sound at a time, and often we remain silent. Similarly, any sufficiently complex or abstract verbal stimulus could evoke innumerable verbal and nonverbal responses in a listener. Anything a speaker "wants to say" could conceivably be said dozens of different ways, yet only one is emitted. This talk will explore the subtle ways in which all our verbal behavior is determined and multiply controlled. Additionally, we will examine specific practices where ambiguous stimuli, both verbal and nonverbal, are used to generate interesting verbal responses. Astrology, palm reading, tarot cards, cold reading, and crystal balls, all work in similar ways to produce verbal stimuli that customers value and will pay for. Projective psychological tests operate in much the same way, combining ambiguous stimuli with the patient's present stimulus conditions and learning history. Audience members should already be familiar with Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior.


Private Events, Self-Knowledge and Rule-Governed Behavior: Skinner's Legacy and Interacting With the Own Behavior

Domain: Applied Research
CARMEN LUCIANO SORIANO (University Almería, Spain)

The formation of private events, self-knowledge, and rule-governed behavior have been radical points in Skinner`s legacy. This presentation is focused in such radical points and the development of relational responding to make explicit the basic learning processes responsible of effective interaction with the own behavior. The radical conceptualization on self-knowledge and the recent contextual approach on language conjoint to advance in the analysis of such complex behaviors and, consequently, in the procedures to influence in the learning process of rule-governed behavior or interacting with the own behavior.




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