The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 65–74 | Cite as

The Trouble with Babies and the Value of Bathwater: Complexities in the Use of Verbal Reports as Data

Article

Abstract

Recent interest among behavior analysts in protocol analysis techniques prompts a consideration of some general measurement issues and some special issues relevant to protocol analysis. The development of behavior-analytic method and theory specific to verbal report research is a good thing, and Ericsson and Simon’s (1984) book, Protocol Analysis, provides a useful model of integrating psychological theory and the craft of research. But protocol analysis techniques do not provide a magic window to the “world within the skin,” and individual researchers should adopt these techniques only after confronting thorny issues such as how to determine the operating characteristics of verbal reports about private events, how to identify public performances to which protocol analysis can be applied productively, and how to maintain theoretical integrity in the empirical search for private events. We also caution against letting enthusiasm (and controversy) regarding protocol analysis distract behavior analysts from the benefits of using verbal report methods to study interesting events that are public in principle but difficult to measure in practice.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Austin, J., & Delaney, P. F. (1998). Protocol analysis as a tool for behavior analysis. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 15, 41–56.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Baars, B. J. (1986). The cognitive revolution in psychology. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  3. Babor, T. F., Stephens, R. S., & Marlatt, G. A. (1987). Verbal report methods in clinical research on alcoholism: Response bias and its minimization. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 45, 410–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bandini, L. G., Schoeller, D. A., Cyr, H. N., & Dietz, W. H. (1990). Validity of reported energy intake in obese and nonobese adolescents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 52, 421–425.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Barsalou, L. W. (1992). Cognitive psychology: An overview for cognitive scientists. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Bechara, A., Tranel, D., Damasio, H., Adolphs, R., Rockland, C., & Damasio, A. R. (1995). Double dissociation of conditioning and declarative knowledge relative to the amygdala and hippocampus in humans. Science, 269, 1115–1118.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Buskist, W. F., & DeGrandpre, R. J. (1989). The myth of rule-governed behavior. Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Bulletin, 7, 4–6.Google Scholar
  8. Cerutti, D. T. (1989). Discrimination theory of rule-governed behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 51, 259–276.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen, R. J., Swerdlik, M. E., & Smith, D. K. (1992). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.Google Scholar
  10. Critchfield, T. S., Tucker, J. A., & Vuchinich, R. E. (in press). Self-report methods. In K. A. Lattal & M. Perone (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in human operant behavior. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  11. Ericsson, K. A., & Simon, H. A. (1984). Protocol analysis: Verbal reports as data. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Fox, E. (1995). Negative priming from ignored distractors in visual selection: A review. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2, 145–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gladsjo, J. A., Tucker, J. A., Hawkins, J. L., & Vuchinich, R. E. (1992). Adequacy of recall of drinking patterns and event occurrences associated with natural recovery from alcohol problems. Addictive Behaviors, 17, 347–358.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Harzern, P., & Miles, T. R. (1978). Conceptual issues in operant psychology. Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Hayes, S. C. (1986). The case of the silent dog - Verbal reports and the analysis of rules: A review of Ericsson and Simon’s Protocol Analysis: Verbal Reports as Data. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 45, 351–363.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Hayes, S. C., Hayes, L. J., & Reese, H. W. (1988). Finding the philosophical core: A review of Stephen C. Pepper’s World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 50, 97–111.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Hayes, S. C., White, D., & Bissett, R. T. (1998). Protocol analysis and the “silent dog” method of analyzing the impact of self-generated rules. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 15, 57–63.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Hefferline, R. F., & Perera, T. B. (1963). Proprioceptive discrimination of a covert operant without its observation by the subject. Science, 139, 834–835.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Horne, P. J., & Lowe, C. F. (1993). Determinants of human performance on concurrent schedules. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 59, 29–60.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Horne, P. J., & Lowe, C. F. (1996). On the origins of naming and other symbolic behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 65, 185–241.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Hyten, C., & Reilly, M. P. (1992). The renaissance of the experimental analysis of human behavior. The Behavior Analyst, 15, 109–114.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Mace, F. C., Lalli, J. S., Shea, M. C., & Nevin, J. A. (1992). Behavioral momentum in college basketball. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25, 657–663.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Moerk, E. L. (1990). Three-term contingency patterns in mother-child verbal interactions during first-language interaction. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 54, 293–305.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Nelson, R. O. (1977). Assessment and therapeutic functions of self-monitoring. In M. Hersen, R. M. Eisler, & P. M. Miller (Eds.), Progress in behavior modification (Vol. 5, pp. 263–308). New York: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nelson, T. O. (1992). Metacognition: Core readings. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  26. Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pavlov, I. P. (1928). Lectures on conditioned reflexes (W. H. Gant, Trans.). New York: Liveright.Google Scholar
  28. Pepper, S. C. (1942). World hypotheses: A study in evidence. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  29. Perone, M. (1988). Laboratory lore and research practices in the experimental analysis of human behavior: Use and abuse of subjects’ verbal reports. The Behavior Analyst, 11, 71–75.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  30. Poling, A., Methot, L. L., & LeSage, M. G. (1995). Fundamentals of behavior analytic research. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roediger, H. L. (Ed.). (1997). Implicit learning: A symposium. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 4, 1–78.Google Scholar
  32. Samo, J. A., Tucker, J. A., & Vuchinich, R. E. (1989). Agreement between self-monitoring, recall, and collateral observation measures of alcohol consumption in older adults. Behavioral Assessment, 11, 391–409.Google Scholar
  33. Sidman, M. (1960). Tactics of scientific research. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  34. Skinner, B. F. (1934). Has Gertrude Stein a secret? Atlantic Monthly, 153, 50–57.Google Scholar
  35. Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  36. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  37. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Skinner, B. F. (1969). Contingencies of reinforcement: A theoretical analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  39. Sudman, S., & Bradburn, N. M. (1974). Response effects in surveys: A review and synthesis. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  40. Tucker, J. A., Vuchinich, R. E., & Pukish, M. M. (1995). Molar environmental contexts surrounding recovery from alcohol problems by treated and untreated problem drinkers. Experimental and Clinical Psychop-harmacology, 3, 195–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vuchinich, R. E., & Tucker, J. A. (1996). Alcohol relapse, life events, and behavioral theories of choice: A prospective analysis. Experimental and Clinical Psychop-harmacology, 4, 19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Watson, J. B. (1920). Is thinking merely the action of language mechanisms? British Journal of Psychology, 11, 87–104.Google Scholar
  43. Wentland, E. J., & Smith, K. W. (1993). Survey responses: An evaluation of their validity. San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  44. White, P. A. (1988). Knowing more than we can tell: “Introspective access” and causal report accuracy 10 years later. British Journal of Psychology, 79, 13–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wulfert, E., Dougher, M. J., & Greenway, D. E. (1991). Protocol analysis of the correspondence of verbal behavior and equivalence class formation. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 56, 489–504.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Wulfert, E., Greenway, D. E., & Dougher, M. (1994). Third-order equivalence classes. The Psychological Record, 44, 411–439.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

Personalised recommendations