The Verbal Behavior Stimulus Control Ratio Equation: a Quantification of Language

Article

Abstract

Language is a much sought-after yet elusive subject matter for scientific investigation. Entire fields of study have evolved to address the complexities of language, with most using a structural analysis as the framework for examination. Skinner (Verbal Behavior, 1957) proposed that language fell within the scope of a science of behavior and was therefore open to functional analysis and interpretation. Over the past 60 years, much has been done to further the scientific explanation, prediction, and control of verbal behavior as a function of environmental variables. However, we still need to more accurately describe the subject matter of investigation. The stimulus control ratio equation (SCoRE) is a metric to summarize a behavioral repertoire by comparing the relative frequency of its component parts. The verbal behavior SCoRE compares the observed proportions of responding against the null hypothesis to yield a statistic to describe the present level of functional performance. Such information may be useful for measuring change over time and comparing treatment effects within individuals and across groups. This article provides a conceptualization of the interdependence of the verbal operants identified by Skinner (1957), a model for analyzing the entirety of the verbal repertoire, and implications for research and practice.

Keywords

Stimulus control ratio Multiple control Verbal behavior Null hypothesis 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

In accordance with Springer’s ethical standards, the authors declare that “the research protocols described in this paper were reviewed and approved by the responsible committee on such research, or determined to be exempt from review by the committee.” There are no funding agencies to report for this article. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Interdisciplinary Learning & TeachingThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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