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Rule-governed behavior and pedophilia

  • Joseph J. Plaud
  • Donald E. Newberry
Theoretical Article

Abstract

The experimental analysis of verbal and rule-governed behavior is one area that potentially has much relevance to applied clinical settings, including the assessment and treatment of pedophilia. Much of the interaction between therapists and clients takes place in a verbal context. Since the publication of Skinner'sVerbal Behavior in 1957, however, not much systematic clinical research concerning verbal behavior has been integrated into clinical practice, partly evidenced in the past several years by the many cognitive theories proclaiming to some extent that “mental way stations” explain the causes of behavior. This paper analyzes the fundamental aspects of rule-governed behavior, summarizes current research in this area, and explores some of the research methods and issues involved with rule-governed behavior. In addition, the potential of this area of behavioral psychology to provide important alternatives to explanations offered by cognitive psychology is also explored. Implications for the scientific use of rule-governed behavior in conducting psychological assessments with pedophiles is also examined.

Key Words

rule-governed behavior contingency-shaped behavior behavior analysis behavior therapy pedophilia sexual offending cognitive psychology 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph J. Plaud
    • 1
  • Donald E. Newberry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North DakotaGrand Forks

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