International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 16 Num. 2 - June 2016


Verbal Reports in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Volume 16 Num. 2 - June 2016 - Pages 157-178


Francisco Cabello Luque , Denis O’Hora


This paper provides a review of the role of verbal reports for the study of human verbal behavior from a behavior-analytic perspective. Though typically associated with cognitive research, verbal reports have long been considered an important dependent variable within behavior analysis. Behavior analysts are particularly wary of being lured into equating an individual’s report of the controlling variables in a context with the actual variables at work. Indeed, the complexity of verbal reports requires complex tools and procedures and, in the current manuscript, we describe two such tools (protocol analysis and the silent dog method), and review the current literature of studies using them. In general, these tools have demonstrable utility as tools for the analysis of verbal behavior and results obtained thus far are interesting, but there is a lack of standardization across procedures that hinders cumulative progress. The current review highlights the strengths of these tools in permitting a functional analysis of self-generated rule following and suggests future research to enable the development of standardized approaches to self reports in behavior analysis.

Key words:

verbal reports, protocol analysis, silent dog method, verbal behavior

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