Relational Frame Theory and Skinner’s Verbal Behavior: A Possible Synthesis

Dermot Barnes-Holmes, Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, & Veronica Cullinan
4.67 out of 5
(9 customer reviews)


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Barnes-Holmes, D., Barnes-Holmes, Y., & Cullinan, V. (2000). Relational frame theory and Skinner’s Verbal Behavior: A possible synthesis. The Behavior Analyst, 23(1), 69-84.

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The current article suggests a possible synthesis of Skinner’s (1957) treatment of verbal behavior with the more recent behavioral interpretation of language known as relational frame theory. The rationale for attempting to combine these two approaches is first outlined. Subsequently, each of the verbal operants described by Skinner is examined and subjected to a relational frame analysis. In each case, two types of operants are identified: one based on direct contingencies of reinforcement and the other based on arbitrarily applicable relational responding. The latter operants are labeled verbal because they can be distinguished from other forms of social behavior, and they appear to possess the symbolic or referential qualities often ascribed to human language. By applying relational frame theory to Skinner’s verbal operants, we aim to contribute towards the development of a modern behavior-analytic research agenda in human language and cognition.
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9 reviews for Relational Frame Theory and Skinner’s Verbal Behavior: A Possible Synthesis

4.67 out of 5
Based on 9 reviews
  1. 5 out of 5

    Anonymous (verified buyer)

    Well Written Theory Article

    (0) (0)
  2. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Beaudoin (verified buyer)

    This was a great read!

    (0) (0)
  3. 4 out of 5

    Marc Fields (verified buyer)

    Long, but informative nonetheless

    (0) (0)
  4. 3 out of 5

    nickimwhite (verified buyer)

    took awhile to get through

    (0) (0)
  5. 5 out of 5

    Beth Sewell (verified buyer)

    Good info for the BCBA Test but as a CEU too long and too technical for only 1 CEU. If all courses are like this I will be elsewhere for CEU’s

    (0) (0)

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