The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 157–165 | Cite as

Constructs and Events in Verbal Behavior

Conceptual Article

Abstract

Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior has been the subject of much controversy in recent years. While criticism has historically come from outside the field of behavior analysis, there are now wellarticulated arguments against Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior from within the field as well. Recently, advocates of Skinner’s analysis have attempted to respond to the critiques, particularly to those regarding Skinner’s definition of verbal behavior articulated by proponents of relational frame theory. Specifically, it has been suggested that talk about definitions equates to making the essentialist error. This paper provides an overview of these issues in the context of understanding the role of constructs in science more generally. It will be argued that definitions are central to scientific progress, and are not only relevant to a functional analysis, but a central prerequisite to the pursuit of such an analysis.

Key words

B. F. Skinner interbehaviorism relational frame theory verbal behavior 

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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Special Education & Counseling, Charter College of EducationCalifornia State UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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