The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 107–119 | Cite as

The relationship between stimulus equivalence and verbal behavior

  • Genae A. Hall
  • Philip N. Chase


Despite the apparent similarity between stimulus equivalence and verbal behavior, these phenomena have been described in different terms. With different terminologies for each phenomenon, the precise nature of their relationship is difficult to determine. To explore this relationship, this paper first defines stimulus equivalence using a synthesis of the mathematical definition of the equivalence relation and Sidman and Tailby’s (1982) definition. Selected examples of stimulus equivalence are then described as verbal behavior using Skinner’s (1957) terminology. The paper then cites instances of verbal behavior that cannot be described as stimulus equivalence and considers whether there are instances of stimulus equivalence that cannot be described as verbal behavior.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alessi, G. (1987). Generative strategies and teaching for generalization. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 5, 15–27.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Boe, R., & Winoker, S. (1978). A procedure for studying echoic control in verbal behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 30, 213–217.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Braam, S., & Poling, A. (1983). Development of intraverbal behavior in mentally retarded individuals through transfer of stimulus control procedures: Classification of verbal responses. Applied Research in Mental Retardation, 4, 279–302.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Carroll, R., & Hesse, B. (1987). The effects of alternating mand and tact training on the acquisition of tacts. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 5, 55–65.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Chase, P., Johnson, K., & Sulzer-Azaroff, B. (1985). Are there subclasses of the intraverbal? Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 43, 301–313.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. DeVaney, J., Hayes, S., & Nelson, R. (1986). Equivalence class formation in language-able and language-disabled children. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 46, 243–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Engelmann, S., & Carnine, D. (1982). Theory of instruction: Principles and applications. New York: Irvington Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  8. Hall, G., & Sundberg, M.L. (1987). Teaching mands by manipulating conditioned establishing operations. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 5, 41–53.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Hall, G., & Chase, P.N. (1989, May). Stimulus equivalence as abstraction: Implications for research with naive subjects. Paper presented at the 15th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee.Google Scholar
  10. Hayes, S., & Hayes, L. (1989). The verbal action of the listener as a basis for rule-governance. In S. Hayes (Ed.), Rule-governed behavior: Cognition, contingencies, and instructional control, (pp. 153–190). New York & London: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Keller, F., & Schoenfeld, W. (1950). Principles of psychology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  12. Lamarre, J., & Holland, J.G. (1985). The functional independence of mands and tacts. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 43, 5–20.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Lee, V.L., (1981). Prepositional phrases spoken and heard. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 35, 227–242.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee, V.L., & Pegler, A. (1982). Effects on spelling of training children to read. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 37, 311–322.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Meserve, B., Pettofrezzo, A., & Meserve, D. (1964). Principles of advanced mathematics. Syracuse: Random House, Inc.Google Scholar
  16. Michael, J. (1985). Two kinds of verbal behavior plus a possible third. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 3, 2–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Peterson, N. (1978). An introduction to verbal behavior. Grand Rapids, MI: Behavior Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  18. Sidman, M. (1971). Reading and auditory-visual equivalences. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 14, 5–13.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Sidman, M. (1986). Functional analysis of emergent verbal classes. In T. Thompson & M. D. Zeiler (Eds.), Analysis and Integration of behavioral units (pp. 213–245). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Sidman, M., & Cresson, O. (1973). Reading and cross-modal transfer of stimulus equivalences in severe retardation. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 77, 5, 515–523.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Sidman, M., Cresson, O., & Wilson-Morris, M. (1974). Acquisition of matching to sample via mediated transfer. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 22, 261–273.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Sidman, M., & Tailby, W. (1982). Conditional discrimination versus matching to sample: An expansion of the testing paradigm. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 37, 23–44.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior, New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sundberg, M.L., San Juan, B., Dawdy, M., & Argüelles, M. (1990). The acquisition of tacts, mands, and intraverbals by individuals with traumatic brain injury. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 8, 83–99.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Genae A. Hall
    • 1
  • Philip N. Chase
    • 2
  1. 1.Regional Center of the East BayOaklandUSA
  2. 2.West Virginia UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations