Empirical Applications of Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior with Humans
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In Verbal behavior, Skinner (1957) provided a conceptual framework and taxonomy for the controlling variables of language that defined independent verbal operants by their functional relations to antecedents and consequences (rather than by topography or meaning). Although professional interest in this area has recently increased within the behavior analytic community, Skinner’s conceptual framework may not yet have fully impacted the experimental literature. This quantitative review of the literature examined the studies on verbal behavior that were empirical in nature, concerned with human verbal behavior, and addressed at least one verbal operant (e.g., mand, tact, echoic, autoclitic, and/or intraverbal behavior) within the experiment. The results of this review suggest that a growing body of research exists to support many of the tenets of Skinner’s conceptualization and taxonomy but many areas of verbal behavior research have yet to be addressed. Continued research in this area is crucial for the development and implementation of effective verbal behavior interventions for people with disabilities.
Key wordsverbal behavior mand tact echoic autoclitic intraverbal Skinner
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