Introductory Concepts
Elementary Relationships
Extensions of Verbal Behavior
Multiple Controlling Relationships
Building on the Elementary Relationships

17.3 The Tact’s Controlling Variable

All of the elementary verbal relationships we have studied up to this point have had some type of verbal stimulus as the controlling variable. But what about verbal behavior whose form is controlled by a prior non-verbal stimulus? Whenever we identify some feature of our physical environment the description we give is typically controlled by prior non-verbal stimuli in the form of objects or events or the properties of objects or events.


A form of verbal behavior with the following features:

A verbal response

The controlling variable is a non-verbal stimulus, which is an object or event or a property of an object or event

The musculature with which the response is executed (vocal, written, gestural, etc.)

The modality of the stimulus (auditory, visual, gustatory, olfactory, etc.)

Whether or not there is any reinforcement for the current response

The “correctness” of the response

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