Linguistic Sources of Skinner's Verbal BehaviorSkip to search form Skip to main content. Skinner considered to be his most important work, namely Verbal Behavior in terms of its content and effect on the field. He considers such elements as the paucity of experiments, the host of allusions to literature and the masterful behavior analysis directed at elucidating verbal behavior, the latter constituting an admirable example of how behavior analysis can be applied to other forms of behavior as well. View via Publisher. Open Access. Save to Library.
Verbal Behavior Basics- Sample Skills Segment
Verbal Behavior (PDF)
Formal and functional analyses of verbal behavior have been often considered to be divergent and incompatible. Formal analyses have been carried out since the invention of writing and fall within the scope of traditional grammar and structural linguistics, particularly in analyses made by the linguist Leonard Bloomfield. The relevance of analytical instruments originated from linguistic studies which examine and describe the practices of verbal communities to the analysis of verbal behavior, as proposed by Skinner, relates to the conception of a verbal community as a prerequisite for the acquisition of verbal behavior. A deliberately interdisciplinary approach is advocated in this paper, with the systematic adoption of linguistic analyses and descriptions adding relevant knowledge to the design of experimental research in verbal behavior. The thing to do with the book is largely to simply try to understand it well, as an entity in itself.
Verbal Behavior is a book by psychologist B. Skinner , in which he inspects human behavior , describing what is traditionally called linguistics. In addition, a growing body of research has developed on structural topics in verbal behavior such as grammar. This is now sometimes called the four-term contingency model with setting conditions added as a fourth term. This analysis extends Ernst Mach 's pragmatic inductive position in physics, and extends even further a disinclination towards hypothesis-making and testing. Skinner presents verbal behavior as a function of controlling consequences and stimuli, not as the product of a special inherent capacity.
Skinner's definition of verbal behavior, with its brief and refined versions, has recently become a point of controversy among behavior analysts. Some of the arguments presented in this controversy might be based on a misreading of Skinner's a writings. An examination of Skinner's correspondence with editors of scientific journals shows his sophisticated mastery of English and his knowledge of contemporary approaches of linguistics, and might help to settle the meaning of the passages involved in the controversy.
Rereading this review after eight years, I find little of substance that I would change if I were to write it today. I am not aware of any theoretical or experimental work that challenges its conclusions; nor, so far as I know, has there been any attempt to meet the criticisms that are raised in the review or to show that they are erroneous or ill-founded. I do not see how his proposals can be improved upon, aside from occasional details and oversights, within the framework of the general assumptions that he accepts. I do not, in other words, see any way in which his proposals can be substantially improved within the general framework of behaviorist or neobehaviorist, or, more generally, empiricist ideas that has dominated much of modern linguistics, psychology, and philosophy. The conclusion that I hoped to establish in the review, by discussing these speculations in their most explicit and detailed form, was that the general point of view was largely mythology, and that its widespread acceptance is not the result of empirical support, persuasive reasoning, or the absence of a plausible alternative. I would also be somewhat less apologetic and hesitant about proposing the alternative view sketched in Sections 5 and 11 — and also less ahistorical in proposing this alternative, since in fact it embodies assumptions that are not only plausible and relatively well-confirmed, so it appears to me, but also deeply rooted in a rich and largely forgotten tradition of rationalist psychology and linguistics. I have tried to correct this imbalance in later publications Chomsky, , , ; see also Miller et al.
Beyond Freedom and Dignity Available in paperback. Science and Human Behavior Available in paperback. Principles of Psychology Available in paperback. Remember Me. Every dollar you add on top of the minimum price is a charitable donation that will be used to keep B. In , at the age of 30, B. Skinner found himself at a dinner sitting next to Professor Alfred North Whitehead.