15.55 Rampant Rule Following

The Dark Side of Language

The third factor related to the dark side of language is rule following. Rules are extremely useful. They allow us to respond effectively when learning directly by consequences would be ineffective or even dangerous. With rules we can learn to behave effectively even when the consequences of our behavior are small, subtle, cumulative, probabilistic, or greatly delayed (e.g., getting a college degree). Rules also allow us to avoid dangerous or lethal consequences (e.g., getting burned from touching a hot stove).

A cartoon of a girl with a cup of coffee serving as an RFT1536 Rule-Governed Behavior Example.

The dominance of verbal relations

Bidirectional transformation of stimulus functions

Rampant rule following

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