Advertisement

The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 163–174 | Cite as

Meaning and Verbal Behavior in Skinner’s Work from 1934 to 1957

  • Maria Amalia Andery
  • Nilza Micheletto
  • Tereza Maria Sério
Article

Abstract

This paper explores the historical development of Skinner’s treatment of meaning from 1930 to 1957. Twelve papers published between 1934 and 1957, and parts of The Behavior of Organisms and Science and Human Behavior related to verbal behavior, were analyzed. Before 1945 meaning was taken as a property of the verbal response, and from 1945 on, meaning was supposed to be found among the determiners of a verbal response. We argue that these different conceptions of meaning were related to distinct aspects of Skinner’s explanatory system. Finally, the notion of meaning presented by Skinner in 1945 is related to the theoretical breakthrough represented by Skinner’s assertion of the three-term contingency. This idea permitted verbal behavior to be analyzed in terms of its functions.

Key words

verbal behavior meaning Skinner radical behaviorism explanatory system 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. A reference marked with an asterisk was one of the fourteen publications selected for analysis because they either 1) referred explicitly to meaning, or 2) were interpreted as related to meaning.)Google Scholar
  2. *Cook, S. W., & Skinner, B. F. (1939). Some factors influencing the distribution of associated words. The Psychological Record, 3, 178–184.Google Scholar
  3. Critchfield, T. S., Buskist, W. F., & Saville, B. (2000). Whither the muse: What influences empirical research on verbal behavior? The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 17, 179–190.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Critchfield, T. S., Buskist, W. F., Saville, B., Crockett, J., Sherburne, T, & Keel, K. (2000). Sources cited most frequently in the experimental analysis of behavior. The Behavior Analyst, 23, 255–266.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Knapp, T. J. (1980). Beyond verbal behavior. Behaviorism, 8, 187–194.Google Scholar
  6. Knapp, T. J. (1998). Current status and future directions of operant research on verbal behavior: baselines. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 15, 121–123.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Lee, V L. (1984). Some notes on the subject matter of Skinner’s Verbal behavior. Behaviorism, 12, 29–40.Google Scholar
  8. Leigland, S. (1996). The functional analysis of psychological terms: in defense of a research program. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 13, 105–122.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Leigland, S. (1997). Is anew definition of verbal behavior necessary in light of derived relational responding? The Behavior Analyst, 20, 3–9.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Leigland, S. (2002). The functional analysis of psychological terms: the symmetry problem. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 18, 93–99.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Michael, J. (1984). Verbal behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 42, 363–376.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Richelle, M. (1981). Skinner o el peligro behaviorista. Barcelona: Editorial Herder.Google Scholar
  13. Skinner, B. F. (1931). The concept of the reflex in the description of behavior. Journal of General Psychology, 5, 427–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Skinner, B. F. (1932). On the rate of formation of a conditioned reflex. Journal of General Psychology, 7, 274–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Skinner, B. F. (1933). The rate of establishment of a discrimination. Journal of General Psychology, 9, 302–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. *Skinner, B. F. (1934/1972). Has Gertrude Stein a secret? In B. F Skinner, Cumulative Record. (3rd ed.), (pp. 359–369). New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  17. Skinner, B. F. (1935a). The generic nature of the concepts of stimulus and response. Journal of General Psychology, 12, 40–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Skinner, B. F (1935b). Two types of conditioned reflex and a pseudo type. Journal of General Psychology, 12, 66–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Skinner, B. F. (1936a). The effect on the amount of conditioning of an interval of time before reinforcement. Journal of General Psychology, 14, 279–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. *Skinner, B. F. (1936b). The verbal summator and a method for the study of latent speech. Journal of General Psychology, 2, 71–107.Google Scholar
  21. *Skinner, B. F. (1937a). The distribution of associated words. The Psychological Record, 1, 71–76.Google Scholar
  22. Skinner, B. F (1937b). Two types of conditioned reflex: A reply to Konorski and Miller. Journal of General Psychology, 16, 272–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. *Skinner, B. F. (1937c). Is sense necessary? The Saturday Review of Literature, 16, 5–6.Google Scholar
  24. *Skinner, B. F. (1938a). The frequencies of occurrence of associated words. Psychological Bulletin, 35, 67Google Scholar
  25. *Skinner, B. F. (1938b). The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-CroftsGoogle Scholar
  26. *Skinner, B. F. (1939/1972). The alliteration in Shakespeare’s sonnets: A study in literary behavior. In B. F. Skinner, Cumulative Record (3rd ed.), (pp. 385–390). New York, NY: Appleton-Century-CroftsGoogle Scholar
  27. Skinner, B. F (1940). The nature of the operant reserve. Psychological Bulletin, 37, 423.Google Scholar
  28. *Skinner, B. F. (1941). Aquantitative estimate of certain types of sound-patterning in poetry. American Journal of Psychology, 54, 64–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. *Skinner, B. F (1942). The processes involved in the repeated guessing of alternatives. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 30, 495–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. *Skinner, B. F. (1943). Reply to Dr. Yacorzynski. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 32, 93–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. *Skinner, B. F. (1945). The operational analysis of psychological terms. The Psychological Review, 52, 270–277, 291–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Skinner, B. F. (1947). Experimental psychology. In W. Dennis, B. F Skinner, R. R. Sears, E. L. Kelly, C. Rogers, J. C. Flanagan, C. T Morgan, R. Likert, Current trends in psychology (pp. 16–49). Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. *Skinner, B. F. (1948). Card-guessing experiments. American Scientist, 36, 456, 458.Google Scholar
  34. Skinner, B. F. (1950). Are theories of learning necessary? The Psychological Review, 57, 193–216.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. *Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York, NY: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  36. Skinner, B. F (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Skinner, B. F. (1972). A lecture on having a poem. In B. F. Skinner, Cumulative Record. (3rd ed.), (pp. 345–355). New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  38. Skinner, B. F. (1979a). The shaping of a behavior ist. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  39. Skinner, B. F. (1979b). BFS A interviews B. F Skinner. Behaviorists for Social Action Journal, 2, 47–52Google Scholar
  40. Skinner, B. F. (1983). A matter of consequences. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  41. Sundberg, M. L. (1998). Realizing the potential of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 15, 143–147.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of English Language, unabridged (1993). Springfield, NJ: Merriam-Webster, Inc.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Amalia Andery
    • 1
  • Nilza Micheletto
    • 1
  • Tereza Maria Sério
    • 1
  1. 1.Pontifícia Universidade Católica De São PauloSão PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations