Facilitator control as automatic behavior: A verbal behavior analysis
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Several studies of facilitated communication have demonstrated that the facilitators were controlling and directing the typing, although they appeared to be unaware of doing so. Such results shift the focus of analysis to the facilitator’s behavior and raise questions regarding the controlling variables for that behavior. This paper analyzes facilitator behavior as an instance of automatic verbal behavior, from the perspective of Skinner’s (1957) book Verbal Behavior. Verbal behavior is automatic when the speaker or writer is not stimulated by the behavior at the time of emission, the behavior is not edited, the products of behavior differ from what the person would produce normally, and the behavior is attributed to an outside source. All of these characteristics appear to be present in facilitator behavior. Other variables seem to account for the thematic content of the typed messages. These variables also are discussed.
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