Volume 8 Num. 3 - October 2008
On Skinner?s Definition of Verbal Behavior
Volume 8 Num. 3 - October 2008 - Pages 295-307
David C. Palmer
Descriptive definitions in science are useful insofar as they identify natural phenomena
that hang together in some distinctive way. In 1957, Skinner proposed an unusual definition
of verbal behavior that has subsequently been criticized even by fellow behavior analysts.
Although Skinner did not justify his definition at length in his published work, two
unpublished manuscripts show that he put considerable effort into identifying the implications
of his definition. Certain passages in these manuscripts identify Skinner?s view of the
features that covary to make verbal behavior a coherent topic of study. A consideration
of these passages does not imply that Skinner?s definition is better than alternatives, but
it does clarify that which Skinner thought was distinctive about the subject matter to
which he devoted so much of his career.
definition of verbal behavior, descriptive definitions, prescriptive definitions, Skinner, verbal behavior.
More articles in this volume
- [275-276] Presentation of the Series Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the book, Verbal Behavior, B.F. Skinner
- [277-285] Skinner?s Verbal Behavior In a New Century
- [279-285] An Orderly Arrangement of Well-Known Facts: Retrospective Review of B. F. Skinner?s Verbal Behavior
- [287-294] Skinner?s Verbal Behavior
- [309-322] Conditioning the Behavior of the Listener
- [323-334] Verbal Behavior of BF Skinner: a retrospective analysis
- [335-350] A Behavior Analytic Interpretation of Theory of Mind
- [351-362] Language Is Complex
- [363-386] The Ontogenetic Selection of Verbal Capabilities: Contributions of Skinner?s Verbal Behavior Theory to a More Comprehensive Understanding of Language
- [387-399] Cognitive distortions and treatment success in pathological gambling
- [401-412] Learning strategies and academic achievement of university students
- [413-430] A Proposal to Measure a Modulator of the Experience of Enjoyment: The Gaudiebility Scale
- [431-440] Aggressiveness and coping in adolescence. An intercultural perspective.
- [441-452] Effects of an intervention program for improving social competence among Primary Education students from Bolivia.