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

43.4 Main Thematic Source Example #2

The response may be in part controlled by more than one thematic source. One of the sources may also strengthen responses that would not have the same effect on a listener. In the line “What will the spider do, suspend its operations” from T. S. Elliot’s poem “Gerontion,” the response “suspend” is controlled by the same variable that would also control such responses as “stop,” “cease,” “bring to a halt,” etc. This is the main thematic source.

Main Thematic Source

A situation with the following features:

It controls a large group of responses

All of the responses would have about the same effect on a listener

Type of thematic elementary relationship (e.g., mand, tact, intraverbal)

Specific features of the stimulus and response

What will the spider do,

suspend its operations

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