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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Paper Session #527
Pushing the Conceptual and Practical Understanding of Autoclitics Forward
Monday, May 25, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon I
Area: VRB
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Thom Ratkos (Berry College)
Relational Autoclitics of Order and the Analysis of Language
Domain: Theory
ROBERT DLOUHY (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: In Chapter 13 of Verbal Behavior, Skinner (1957) introduced and discussed at length autoclitic and intraverbal frames. These also have been discussed in the behavior analytic literature for their accounts of syntax, but have not attracted much, if any, interest by linguists outside the field. Julie Andresen (1992) argued that this lack of attention was due to Skinner’s focus on the pragmatics of verbal behavior, not its topography. However, Skinner mentioned another autoclitic earlier in Chapter 13, the relational autoclitic of order (RAO), which has been mostly unnoticed. The RAO addresses the sequencing of verbal responses and the relations between them. Skinner provided only a brief example of this autoclitic, but linguistically informed readers will notice correspondences between what he implies in this passage and present-day linguistic views on syntactic constructions. This paper will interpret the RAO to provide behavior analytic accounts of such linguistic phenomena as word classes, construction classes, and semantic relations between constituents of constructions. The hope is that behavior analysts working in the area of verbal behavior will have a better-informed basis for designing applications and planning research.

I Think This is the Title: Evoking Descriptive Autoclitics in Adult Subjects

Domain: Basic Research
THOM RATKOS (Berry College), Aubrey McFayden (Berry College), Annie Small (Berry College)

The text Verbal Behavior was an extension of basic principles to largely untested areas. While there is a rapidly growing body of research and effective practice based on Skinner's approach, there remains large portions of the text that describe functional relationships which have not been demonstrated. The least studied verbal operant, the autoclitic, describes a great variety of responses which serve to modify some other primary verbal response. In a pair of experiments, participants were exposed to either visual stimuli of varied salience (i.e. more or less distorted) or consistent visual stimuli presented by an audience established as neutral or negative. During both experiments, participants emitted autoclitics (e.g. "I think it's a ___") to modify their tacts of the visual stimuli under control of the salience of the stimuli and the quality of the audience. These empirical results will be examined in comparison with Skinner's interpretation of the functional control of autoclitics described in Ch 12 of Verbal Behavior.




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