An Introduction to Verbal Behavior (Standard)

4.19 out of 5
920 reviews


Learn the key concepts, terms, and approach of B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior and language. Skinner’s analysis serves as the basis for many interventions in applied behavior analysis, and contributes to a functional understanding of human language.

Gift This Module

Do you feel this module is perfect for a colleague, friend, student, or employee? Buy them a gift card for it!

Gift This Module
SKU: vb-s Category: Tag:
Brand: FoxyLearning


B.F. Skinner’s book Verbal Behavior provided a conceptual framework for both researchers and clinicians interested in human language. That book had two major components. First, it introduced a set of new concepts for classifying and analyzing verbal behavior. Second, it then used these new concepts to develop an innovative and profound analysis and interpretation of factors that account for the behavior of an individual speaker. However, much of the power and intricacies of that analysis are lost if the introductory material is not mastered first. This tutorial—based on a programmed instructional text of the same name first published by Behavior Associates, Inc. in 1978—provides a way to quickly and thoroughly master those concepts with a fully interactive, multimedia introduction to verbal behavior.

About the Author

Norman Peterson, Ph.D.

Dr. Norm Peterson recently retired as the Director of Operations at the Foundation for Behavioral Resources. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Western Michigan University, where he was one of the first graduates of that department’s doctoral program in Behavior Analysis. Prior to his work at the Foundation, Dr. Peterson also served as a faculty member at Western Michigan University and as a senior HR Consultant at Consumers Energy.

Learning Objectives
Upon completing this tutorial, the learner should be able to:

  1. Identify definitions and examples of key theoretical concepts in Skinner’s analysis of human language (including verbal behavior, verbal stimulation, thematic and formal control, tact,
    mand, echoic, intraverbal, textual, taking dictation, audience control, types of extension, multiple causation, secondary verbal behavior, and autoclitic mands and tacts)
  2. Distinguish between formal and thematic control of verbal behavior
  3. Classify examples of the different ways verbal operants can be extended
  4. Specify the different ways we learn to respond to private stimulation
  5. Analyze samples of natural language using the terms and concepts of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior
Technical Requirements
The tutorial requires only an active internet connection and a relatively modern web browser with JavaScript enabled.
Accuracy, Utility, and Risks
The content of this tutorial should be considered quite accurate, as it was written by an expert in the field and reviewed for accuracy by a number of other experts, including Dr. Richard Malott, Dr. Jack Michael, Dr. Linda Parott Hayes, and Greg Stikeleather. This tutorial should benefit any psychologist, behavior analyst, student, or behavioral science professional who would like to have a conceptual framework for analyzing human language that is more functional than the structural analyses of traditional linguistics or cognitive psychology. It will be particularly beneficial to those working to establish verbal repertoires with children or adults who have language delays. This tutorial will not provide you with training in specific interventions or methods based on Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior, but it will provide you with a conceptual understanding of the theoretical basis of such interventions and methods. There is little to no risk associated with completing this tutorial, aside from the physical risks associated with any computer work (e.g., repetitive stress injuries and eyestrain) and possibly boredom.
This tutorial is based on a programmed textbook that was initially written as part of the author’s dissertation research at Western Michigan University and originally published in 1978. It was launched as an online tutorial on FoxyLearning in Adobe Flash format on May 28, 2010, with the first HTML5 version launching in May 2012. Significant updates were also released in June 2013 and January 2020.
Survey Results
Below are live results from the voluntary survey users are asked to complete at the end of this module.
You can launch the lessons of the open-access version of this module using the links below. The open-access version does not include the final quiz or our personal notes tool, but the rest of the content is the same. Please note that your completion of open-access lessons for this module will not transfer to or count toward the coursepack edition of the module. In addition, completion data for the open-access version may be purged on a regular basis without notice.

Module Content

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

920 reviews for An Introduction to Verbal Behavior (Standard)

4.19 out of 5
Based on 920 reviews
Showing 381 of 920 reviews (5 star). See all 920 reviews
  1. 5 out of 5

    Zahra (verified buyer)

    Purchased this course for my class, and ended up loving it. FoxyLearning is super user-friendly and a great study tool for ABA concepts

    (1) (0)
  2. 5 out of 5

    Iman Shahul (verified buyer)

    I think the best part of these tutorials were that they were perfectly right sized and not overwhelming. Structuring into short sections helped to revisit only the topics needed with ease as well.

    (1) (0)
  3. 5 out of 5

    Sienna Koppang (verified buyer)

    Best Online Learning Program I have ever seen!

    (1) (0)
  4. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Frye (verified buyer)

    I feel like this course breaks down verbal behavior into such understandable steps and honestly is really enjoyable to work through the modules!

    (1) (0)
  5. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Lutek (verified buyer)

    This really helped me better understand Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior.

    (0) (0)

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.


Q & A

There are no questions yet

Ask a question

Your question will be answered by a store representative or other customers.

Thank you for the question!

Your question has been received and will be answered soon. Please do not submit the same question again.



An error occurred when saving your question. Please report it to the website administrator. Additional information:

Add an answer

Thank you for the answer!

Your answer has been received and will be published soon. Please do not submit the same answer again.



An error occurred when saving your question. Please report it to the website administrator. Additional information:

help-solid Excellent customer support

Safe and secure online payment

Shopping cart
There are no products in your cart. Use the button below to view any products you saved for later.
Saved for Later