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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Paper Session #320
Verbal Operants of Corruption
Monday, May 25, 2015
10:00 AM–10:20 AM
204B (CC)
Area: CSE
Keyword(s): Corruption
Chair: Tete Kobla Agbota (Oslo and Akershus University College)
Corruption Language: A Study of Avoidance in Corruption Behaviour
Domain: Basic Research
TETE KOBLA AGBOTA (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sc), Ingunn Sandaker (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sc), Gunnar Ree (Akershus University College, Norway)
Abstract: This paper offers an analysis of metaphors in corruption language based on positive and avoidance contingencies of reinforcement. Corruption is illegal and universally shameful; participants in corrupt transactions conduct their business in secrecy. What do beans for the kids in Kinshasa, a glass of wine in Paris and little carps in Prague have in common? The phrases say something about local cuisines, but they are also euphemisms for bribes. The public officer-citizen relationship is characterized by what behaviour analysts describe as, a give and take of stimuli and consequences. The use of corruption language, a common phenomenon associated with the demand and supply sides of corruption behavior demonstrates aspects of this public officer-relationship. Our data show that parties to corrupt transactions in Ghana would use expressions that accentuate this secrecy, whether demanding or giving bribe. The study demonstrates that corruption language (metaphor or euphemism) as a verbal stimulus can be topographically similar to another verbal utterance, but functionally different. Public officials and citizens use metaphors to avoid prosecution and social embarrassment, whiles positive reinforcement contingencies apply when demanding or offering bribes as regards the processing of applications or delivery of service.
Keyword(s): Corruption



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