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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

Previous Page


Paper Session #415
Conceptual and Empirical Approaches to Complex Verbal Behavior
Monday, May 27, 2019
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom CD South
Area: VRB
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Robert Dlouhy (Western Michigan University)
Relational Autoclitics of Order and Relative Clauses
Domain: Theory
ROBERT DLOUHY (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: When Skinner introduced the relation autoclitic of order (RAO) in Verbal Behavior, he was describing operants that sequence responses in such a way that the positions of these responses evoke autoclitic effects (Dlouhy, 2018). Arguably, RAOs are useful for interpreting syntactic phenomena. They have been shown to account for verbal response constructions such as simple clauses and phrases, but an interpretation of more complex responses has not been attempted (Dlouhy, 2016; 2017). This paper will present such an analysis with examples of relative clauses from English and other languages. In conventional linguistic terms, a clause is essentially a sentence, and a relative clause is a sentence embedded within a sentence. Behavior-analytically, this can be broadly interpreted as an RAO of a certain type embedded in another RAO of a similar type. The behavior-analytic interpretation of this will show that an RAO as a relative clause evokes autoclitic effects between its constituent responses and responses in the RAO that contains it. This study further strengthens the notion that behavior-analytic principles can provide interpretations of verbal response topographies.
Analyzing Covert Behavior by Disrupting Mediation: Looking for What Isn't There
Domain: Basic Research
THOM RATKOS (Berry College), Mikayla Camacho (Berry College)
Abstract: Explanations of delayed stimulus control often rely on 'mediation', or behavior occurring throughout the delay, to explain how stimuli no longer present can evoke behavior. When mediation is overt, as it was with pigeons in Blough, 1959 and in several articles since, this relationship is easier to analyze. However, with adult humans similar behavior is sometimes attributed to covert mediation, where participants are assumed to be talking to themselves during delays between discriminative stimuli and performance. While the covert mediation itself cannot be observed, several researchers have looked at different procedures that enable or disrupt performance to tell us more about the nature of this putative mediation. This talk will look at several avenues of research that have and continue to examine verbal mediation, including new data on the disruption of delayed matching to sample tasks with young children and what the patterns of errors can tell us about their covert behavior.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh