The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 5–18 | Cite as

A functional analysis of mentalistic terms in human observers

  • Sam Leigland


This paper, and the following paper by M.J. Dougher (1989), were originally given as part of a symposium presented at the 1984 meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis (R. Schnaitter, Chair). The symposium included two other papers on the same theme by Diane Spooner and Diane Mercier, and the discussant was Willard Day. The concept of the symposium was to use the following paper (Leigland) as a basis for a demonstration of what has been termed the “Reno methodology,” a method for the interpretation of verbal behavior developed by Willard Day and his students at the University of Nevada, Reno. Essentially, the project may be described in the following way: the controlled environment-behavior interactions of a pigeon in an operant chamber gave rise to explanatory verbal behavior on the part of observing human subjects, and the controlling relations with respect to the latter gave rise to the verbal behavior contained in Leigland’s report. The controlling relations to be discriminated with respect to Leigland’s verbal behavior were then the subject of Dougher’s analysis in the report that follows. Dougher’s report, then, uses Leigland’s report as a source of verbal behavior to be interpreted, using the practices developed by the Reno group as a method.


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  1. Dougher, M.J. (1989). A functional analysis of a behavior analyst’s functional analysis. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. 7, 19–23.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Laren, B. L. (1978). An exploratory functional analysis of stimulus control in descriptive verbal behavior. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Nevada, Reno.Google Scholar
  3. Skinner, B. F. (1945). The operational analysis of psychological terms. Psychological Review, 52, 270–277, 291–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam Leigland
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGonzaga UniversitySpokaneUSA

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