The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 96–106 | Cite as

On Intraverbal Control and the Definition of the Intraverbal

Special Section: The Intraverbal Relation


Behavior analysts should distinguish between the intraverbal, as a class of verbal operants, and intraverbal control, the potentiating effect, however slight, of a verbal antecedent on a verbal response. If it is to serve an explanatory function, the term intraverbal, as a class of verbal operants, should be restricted to those cases in which a verbal antecedent, as the result of a history of contiguous or correlated usage, is sufficient to evoke the putative intraverbal response. Intraverbal control is pervasive in verbal behavior, but since it is typically just one of many concurrent variables that determine the form of a verbal response, such multiply controlled responses are not usefully called “intraverbals.” Because intraverbals and their controlling variables have invariant formal properties, they are conceptually simple, but they nevertheless play a central role in the interpretation of complex phenomena such as the structural regularities in verbal behavior (i.e., grammar).


Autoclitic frames Grammar Intraverbal Intraverbal control Skinner Verbal behavior Verbal operants 


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Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smith CollegeNorthamptonUSA

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