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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Paper Session #439
English Verb Constructions: A Behavior Analytic Reinterpretation
Monday, May 31, 2021
3:00 PM–3:25 PM
Area: VRB
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Robert Dlouhy (Western Michigan University)
English Verb Constructions: A Behavior Analytic Reinterpretation
Domain: Theory
ROBERT DLOUHY (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: English verbs, and the auxiliaries and inflections that often occur with them, have been studied in detail for many years, but a systematic behavior analytic interpretation of them has never been performed. This paper will present the beginning of such an interpretation. It will argue that the English verb, and the responses that are co-emitted with it, comprise a topographically complex response sequence under control of contextual variables and certain mandatory variables. The sequence is regular and patterned (i.e., ordered) and as such is a relational autoclitic of order that can have functional unity that allows it a role within a larger group of verbal responses. Contextual variables are stimuli that evoke emission of the verb. Mandatory variables control responses that broadly can be called inflections and auxiliaries. Examples would be tense, subject-verb agreement, aspect, voice, and person. In contrast to other linguistic accounts, this analysis provides a functional interpretation of the English verb construction that is based on behavior-analytic first causes.



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