B.F Skinner`s Verbal Behavior Theory

Report
By Lyla Kolman
Skinner Himself

 Full name – Burrhus Frederic Skinner
 1904 – 1990
 Celebrated Psychologist from Pennsylvania
 Inventions for psychology experiments
 Theory of operant conditioning
 Verbal Behavior (1957)
Behaviorism

 All human behavior is a result of the human
response to environmental stimuli.
 Can be studied and predicted.
 Three central characteristics:
1. Observation – only observable behaviors are
important
2. Environmentalism – the stimulus of environment is
the main factor that determines behavior.
3. Learning – humans are taught and shaped by their
responses to environment.
Classical Conditioning

 Aspect of Behaviorism
 Associationism – humans
will feel a positive
response to things they
associate with good
experiences, and a
negative response to
things they associate with
bad experiences
 Pavlov’s Dog:
Verbal Behavior Theory

 Skinner believed language functioned the same as
any other trait – it was conditioned and learned
 A conversation is a “behavior chain”(1)
 Each sentence provides a conditional stimulus
which is responded to by the following sentence
 Four types of Verbal Behavior:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Echoic
Mands/Tact
Interverbals
Autoclitic
(1) http://www3.niu.edu/acad/psych/Millis/History/2003/cogrev_skinner.htm
Echoic Verbal Behavior

 Primary form of verbal behavior
 Includes repeated utterances Can you say
“mommy”?
Mommy!
Mands & Tact

 An abbreviation of
“Demands”
 Short directions, utterances
driven by need
 Not driven by need
 Disclose information
Wait
Stop
I need…
Go
Interverbals

 Used as interaction during dialogue
 No information disclosed
Thank you
Please
Autoclitic

 Internal speech/thought
 According to Skinner, follows the same rules as
verbal speech
 Influences verbal behavior
Thoughts are private. Jeeez. That’s why
they’re internal.i need to type more of this.
Tok is cooollll.
Skinner & Whorf

Can these two theories coexist?
Language is
a learned,
conditioned
behavior
Our thoughts
are fully
determined by
language
Things to consider: human development, culture and knowledge
Bibliography

http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/skinner.html
 http://www.skewsme.com/behavior/baby_tender_
b.jpg
 http://www3.niu.edu/acad/psych/Millis/History/200
3/cogrev_skinner.htm
 http://www.chomsky.info/articles/1967----.htm
 http://www3.niu.edu/acad/psych/Millis/History/200
3/cogrev_skinner.htm
 The Person
Images

 Clip art
 www.skewsme.com/behavior/baby_tender_b.jpg
 http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/stafford/rs_
skinner.htm
 http://www.xtimeline.com/evt/view.aspx?id=4105
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