Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Paper Session #223
Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavor
Sunday, May 25, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W175b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: TPC
Chair: Naftally Israeli (Bar-Ilan University)

CANCELLED: The Philosophical Roots of Equivalence

Domain: Theory
NAFTALLY ISRAELI (Bar-Ilan University)

Murray Sidman's landmark 1971 paper identified stimulus equivalence as a basic class of language functioning, and provided for the first time evidence of a substantial behavioral difference between verbal humans and other groups. Since then, hundred of research studies exemplified these findings and integrated them to a theory of arbitrarily applicable relational responding. Nevertheless, the philosophical roots of the idea of equivalence has not been thoroughly studied. Herein, I identify two of these philosophical roots. The first is Bertrand Russell's resemblance argument, which he advanced while defending a theory of universals against empiricism and nominalism. The second of these philosophical roots lies in a 40-year old debate in the area of philosophy of language - the debate between literal and metaphorical understanding of human language and thought. I claim that a common assumption of the two sides of the debate is the assumption of equivalence. These two philosophical arguments will provide two strong theoretical arguments for the idea of equivalence, and will suggest new directions for research of this phenomena.

A Science of Verbal Behavior: Visions, Divisions, and Possible Integrations
Domain: Theory
SAM LEIGLAND (Gonzaga University)
Abstract: The future development and impact of the field of behavior analysis depends upon the analysis of complex human behavior in general and verbal behavior in particular. It is only through such analyses that behavior analysis can provide effective and influential alternatives to contemporary treatments provided by cognitive psychology and related fields. The purpose of this paper is to (a) review the development and diversity of the functional analysis of verbal behavior, (b) address controversies and conflicts in that development, (c) promote empirical/theoretical integration and methodological development, and (d) examine the role of the functional analysis of verbal behavior in both behavior analysis and psychology. Examples of possible integration include Skinner's original analysis of verbal behavior with recent findings of derived relational phenomena and transformation of function, as well as possible integration of the several theoretical accounts of these phenomena. Methodological development is needed in the functional analysis of complex verbal behavior, and in the experimental analysis of human behavior more generally. Such integrations and developments might provide a larger and more coherent vision of what Skinner had termed, "a science of verbal behavior," with its unique scientific characteristics and contributions.



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