Behavior-analytic approaches to self-awareness

Abstract

The current paper provides an overview of behavior-analytic approaches to self-awareness. Skinner (1974) argued that the phenomenon of self-awareness is produced, in large part, by those social contingencies that reinforce discrimination of the organism’s own behavior. This view of self-awareness is supported by a range of empirical studies that successfully established self-discrimination performances in both nonhuman and human subjects. Recent developments in basic, applied, and conceptual analyses are currently extending Skinner’s behavior-analytic definition of self-awareness. The current paper focuses on a relational frame interpretation of human self-discrimination.

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Correspondence to Dermot Barnes.

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We thank Steve Hayes, and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. We also thank Pip and Niamh for transforming our verbal relations.

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Dymond, S., Barnes, D. Behavior-analytic approaches to self-awareness. Psychol Rec 47, 181–200 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03395219

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