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

38.2 Fishing Example

Those responses that have received the most reinforcement in the past are most likely to occur again, even if the stimulus conditions are not quite appropriate. For example, a fisherman who has gotten more reinforcement when he described catching large fish than when he described catching smaller fish may have a greater tendency to talk about large fish. This may be the case even when one just caught was not so large and, therefore, the verbal description of the size is somewhat fishy. If the history of reinforcement is sufficient, the response may occur in the presence of totally inappropriate stimulus conditions. The person may not have caught any fish at all, but fantastic descriptions are still forthcoming in the presence of an appropriate audience.

A cartoon fisherman demonstrating 38.2 fishing with a fishing pole.
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