Teaching Verbal Behavior to Pigeons
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Pigeons were taught simple analogs of verbal behavior by replicating and extending the procedures presented by Michael, Whitley, and Hesse (1983). A student lab, connected to a course on the experimental analysis of behavior, was used to teach both the students and the pigeons new behavioral repertoires. Most of the 18 birds learned a simple stimulus-selection-based tact, as well as 2–3 topography-based tacts. Several pigeons learned to mand for reinforcers, and a few acquired some simple intraverbal responses. The student’s learned the basic features of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior, as well as several laboratory skills. Further work in this area is encouraged due to its potential contributions to the experimental analysis of verbal behavior, and to teaching language to the developmentally disabled, and other speech and language impaired individuals.
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