International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 8 Num. 3 - October 2008


Verbal Behavior of BF Skinner: a retrospective analysis

Volume 8 Num. 3 - October 2008 - Pages 323-334


Emilio Ribes I?esta


Verbal Behavior by B.F. Skinner, represents a systematic extrapolation of the conceptsand principles of operant conditioning to account for language as behavior. I examine thelogic and conceptual deficiencies of Skinner?s formulation, based upon the analysis of alimited number of problems: a) the definition of verbal behavior, b) the selection of the?word? as the dominant unit of analysis, c) the morphological nature of the taxonomy ofverbal behavior, d) the lack of systematicness of such classification, e) the establishmentof discriminated verbal operants, and f) the logical and functional distinction between themand, the tact, and the intraverbal. It is stressed the importance of theoretical and con-ceptual analyses for scientific progress.

Key words:

Verbal behavior, taxonomy, discriminated verbal operant, listener, mediatedreinforcement.

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