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

38.4 Definition of Distorted or Impure Tact

A common example of this latter type of multiply controlled tact often occurs when someone who would be reinforced by another person hurrying is asked what time it is by that other person. It may actually be twenty minutes to two, but the speaker may say, “It’s almost two o’clock.” The response is partially controlled by the position of the hands on a clock or watch, but it is also partially controlled by the effect it has had in the past in inducing listeners to get ready to leave more quickly. If the form of the response is completely controlled by the prior non-verbal stimulus, then the response is just an ordinary tact. Only when some aspect of special measures of either generalized or non-generalized reinforcement enters into the controlling relation for a response is the response called “distorted” or “impure.”

A cartoon of a man and a woman with a distorted clock.
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