Whither the Muse: What Influences Empirical Research on Verbal Behavior?
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To identify some of the published works that have helped to inspire empirical verbal behavior research, we searched for patterns in the sources cited in empirical studies published in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior between 1990 and 1999. Not unexpectedly, Skinner’s (1957) Verbal Behavior was the most cited source, although a variety of more recent sources explicating verbal relations as conceptualized by Skinner also were frequently cited. About one third of the most frequently cited sources were fairly recent primary empirical papers. These outcomes suggest that scholars who are interested in a behavior-analytic approach to studying verbal behavior are beginning to generate a critical mass of work that renders Verbal Behavior no longer monolithic in its influence. Nevertheless, some aspects of the citation data could be interpreted as evidence of insularity, and we argue for the importance of a broad-based analysis of verbal behavior that can have substantial impact outside of behavior analysis.
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