The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 273–284 | Cite as

What Every Student of Behavior Analysis Ought to Learn: A System for Classifying the Multiple Effects of Behavioral Variables

  • Jack Michael


An accurate repertoire of tacts and intraverbals about behavior is essential for scientific and technical communication. All behavioral effects of the environment can be classified in an eight-cell arrangement created by three dichotomies: respondent versus operant, evocative versus function altering, and unlearned versus learned. By refining some old definitions and inventing a few new terms and symbols, it becomes possible to locate any functional relation in the eight cells of this set of categories. Much instruction about behavior analysis can then focus on helping students master a two-part repertoire consisting of (a) providing the term (or symbol) when given a description of a relevant situation and (b) describing the environmental and behavioral evidence for the relation when given the term (or symbol). This system of analysis is described and illustrated with sample questions and answers that teach about the system.

Key words

behavioral terminology 


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  1. Mazur, J. E. (1994). Learning and behavior (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Michael, J. (1993). Establishing operations. The Behavior Analyst, 16, 191–206.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

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