The impact of Verbal Behavior on the scholarly literature from 2005 to 2016
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B. F. Skinner’s (1957) Verbal Behavior had a limited influence on empirical research in the first few decades following its publication, but an increase in empirical activity has been evident in recent years. The purpose of this article is to update previous analyses that have quantified the influence of Verbal Behavior on the scholarly literature, with an emphasis on its impact on empirical research. Study 1 was a citation analysis that showed an increase in citations to Verbal Behavior from 2005 to 2016 relative to earlier time periods. In particular, there was a large increase in citations from empirical articles. Study 2 identified empirical studies in which a verbal operant was manipulated or measured, regardless of whether or not Verbal Behavior was cited, and demonstrated a large increase in publication rate, with an increasing trend in the publication of both basic and applied experimental analyses throughout the review period. A majority of the studies were concerned with teaching verbal behavior to children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities, but a variety of other basic and applied research topics were also represented. The results suggest a clearly increasing impact of Verbal Behavior on the experimental analysis of behavior on the 60th anniversary of the book’s publication.
KeywordsB. F. Skinner Citation analysis Scientometrics Verbal behavior
The authors wish to thank James R. Mellor for providing assistance with the development of inclusion criteria and definitions in the initial stages of this project.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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