The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 29–39 | Cite as

A descriptive analysis of family discussions about everyday problems and decisions

  • Dennis Mac Greene
  • Brenna Hafer Bry


Skinner’s Verbal Behavior (1957) and “An operant analysis of problem solving” (1966) were used to develop a coding system to analyze the relationships between verbal behaviors in family problem solving discussions. Taking solution statements as a target behavior, sequential relationships were examined with both subsequent and antecedent verbal behaviors, comparing families with higher and lower rates of solution statements. Results indicated that two categories of verbal behavior occurred both subsequent and antecedent to solution statements more frequently in families with higher frequencies of solution statements: Agreements and contingency statements. Results are discussed in terms of an operant theory of problem solving in which agreements may serve as reinforcers for solutions and contingency statements may serve as discriminative stimuli.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis Mac Greene
    • 1
  • Brenna Hafer Bry
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinEau ClaireUSA
  2. 2.Rutgers-The State University of New JerseyUSA

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