File - Justin Daigle, MA, BCBA, LBA

Report
A Deeper Understanding
of Verbal Behavior
Justin Daigle, MA, BCBA, LBA
Program Director
Overview



Currently, you are familiar with the
concept of verbal behavior
However, you have no way of
systematically assessing verbalizations
There are also other Verbal Operants
that you have not be introduced to.
Presentation Goals




Understand basic VB concepts
Learn formal definitions for Mand, Tact,
Echoic, and Intraverbal
Be introduced to Autoclitic, Dictation,
Transcription, and Textual
Learn how to assess Verbal Operants
Notes
It’s important to ask “dumb” questions in
this lecture. Don’t be afraid to ask me to
repeat or explain deeper. Don’t be afraid to
ask. No one is an expert on this, so your
questions may stump me.

Basic Concepts
History, Definitions, and
Concepts
Skinner vs Chomsky
1969 – both published language books
“No black scorpion is falling upon this table”
Last of Skinner’s books
He wanted people to have a understanding
of behaviorism prior to this book
Skinner vs Chomsky
He knew it would be difficult to comprehend
He learned not to use words that were
already in use – thus his original words.
Vocal vs Verbal
Verbal behavior is not vocal behavior.
Language is not speech.
Keep the concepts separated in your head.
ex: ASL, gestures, written, texting, email, etc.
Defining “Verbal Behavior”
“Behavior mediated by another person”
Very broad definition
Anything else will limit something somewhere
I often say “functional language”
Speaker vs Listener
Remember that in the “real world”
contingencies can overlap. It is important to
keep focus when analyzing verbal behavior.
Examples tend to be speaker’s behaviors.
Speaker and Listener
“Hi, Jim how are you?” (Mand, not intraverbal)
“I’m good” (Intraverbal… and maybe tact)
Speaker and Listener
“Hi, Jim how are you?” (Mand, not intraverbal)
“I’m good” (Intraverbal… and maybe tact)
Stimuli
MO for social interaction
Behavior
“…”
Postcedent
“I’m good” (Sr+)
Speaker and Listener
“Hi, Jim how are you?” (Mand, not intraverbal)
“I’m good” (Intraverbal… and maybe tact)
Stimuli
Behavior
Postcedent
MO for social interaction
“…”
“I’m good” (Sr+)
Previous statement
“…”
No fight (Sr-)
Speaker and Listener
“Hi, Jim how are you?” (Mand, not intraverbal)
“I’m good” (Intraverbal… and maybe tact)
Overlapping
Contingencies
Stimuli
Behavior
Postcedent
MO for social interaction
“…”
“I’m good” (Sr+)
Previous statement
“…”
No fight (Sr-)
Measuring Operants
Unlike in grammar, we measure by words. In
articulation, we measure by phonemes. In
poetry, we measure by meters. In verbal
behavior, we measure by functionality.
Measuring Operants
“Quickly, look a big, blue, flying bug!”
Tact
Mand
Intraverbal
Autoclitic
?
Page 534
UMO/CMO
Yes
Mand
Yes
Tact
No
Non-Verbal
SD
Verbal SD
No
Yes
Point-to-Point
Correspondence
No
Intraverbal
Yes
Echoic
Yes
Formal Similarity
No
Transcription
Textual
UMO and CMO
Unconditioned MO – A neutral event that functions as a
motivation operation. An example would be “being hungry” is an

unconditioned MO for food consumption.
 Conditioned MO – A neutral event that functions as a
motivation operation after it has been conditioned to do so.
An example would be “being poor” is a conditioned MO for
money.
Point-to-Point
Correspondence
Point-to-Point Correspondence – When the
beginning, middle, and end of a verbal stimulus
matches the beginning, middle, and end of a
verbal response.
“C a t”
Speaker: “C a t”

Formal Similarity

Formal Similarity – When a stimulus and a behavior share
the same medium (such as written to written) as well as physical
resemblance.
Example:
Speaker: “Write the word ‘cat’”. (spoken)
Listener writes the word ‘cat’. (written)
The word changed formal similarity.
Relearning the
Basics
Mand, Tact, Echoic &
Intraverbal
Page 534
UMO/CMO
Yes
Mand
Yes
Tact
No
Non-Verbal
SD
Verbal SD
No
Yes
Point-to-Point
Correspondence
No
Intraverbal
Yes
Echoic
Yes
Formal Similarity
No
Transcription
Textual
A Hint

The correct definitions of the verbal operants
will always begin with…
“A verbal operant that…”
Mand
Mand – A verbal operant that has a
UMO/CMO and specific reinforcement
Broken Down:
1) Only Verbal Operant with a MO
2) Has to have specific reinforcement

Question
If a child says “candy” and you give him
a candy, is it a mand?

Answer
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Before you might have said “yes”.
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Now you should hesitate.
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Did the child have an MO for the candy?
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Did the child eat the candy?

What if the child handed the candy back
to you?
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Manding requires an MO!
Question

A child has an MO for candy and says
“candy” and is praised for using his words.
Because you need more tasks in your
schedule of reinforcement, you ask the
child to perform three more task, then
Deliver candy. Was the child saying
“candy” a mand?
Answer

No one knows…

The immediate consequence of the word was
NOT the specific reinforcer

However, the specific reinforcer was
delivered at the end of the schedule
because it was manded for.

Going back, what’s a better way?
Tact

Tact – A verbal operant that does not have a
UMO/CMO but has a non-verbal
discriminative stimulus. (This is a pure tact)
Broken Down:
1) No MO
2) Non-Verbal SD
Intraverbal

Intraverbal – A verbal operant that does not have a
UMO/CMO, but does have a verbal discriminative stimulus
with no point-to-point correspondence.
Broken Down:
1) No MO
2) Verbal SD
3) No PTP Correspondence
A Note on Intraverbals
RFFC, EFFC, Fill-in-the-Blanks, etc are all
technically intraverbals.

Echoics

Echoics – A verbal operant that does not have a UMO/CMO,
but does have a verbal discriminative stimulus with
point-to-point correspondence and formal similarity
Broken Down:
1) No MO
2) Verbal SD
3) PTP Correspondence
4) Formal Similarity
Introduction to
Higher Level
Verbal Operants
Textual, Transcription,
Dictation, and Autoclitics
Textual

Textual – A verbal operant that does not have a
UMO/CMO, but does have a verbal discriminative
stimulus with point-to-point correspondence but does
not have formal similarity
Broken Down:
1) No MO
2) Verbal SD
3) PTP Correspondence 4) No Formal Similarity
Textual (What you

need to know)
Textual – When the listeners writes down
what the speaker says
Keep in mind that this really doesn’t have to be
written down. Textual only requires a change
in formal similarity from the verbal SD.
A Note on Textual

There are two types of textual
 Dictation (Speaker’s Behavior)
 Transcription (Listener’s Behavior)
Autoclitic (Skinner’s version)

Autoclitic – Verbal Behavior about Verbal
Behavior.
- Anyone want to take a guess what that
means in the real world?
Autoclitic (Justin’s version)

Autoclitic – Words that modify other words
- Fillers (ex: “Um”, “Like”)
- Structure needed for grammar and/or
syntax (ex: “But”, “The”)
- Modifiers such as adjectives and adverbs
(ex: “Big”, “Blue”)
Questions

Use your flow chart to attempt the given
exercise (worth 30 minutes if you complete).

Pay close attention to 29-35
Summary
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This stuff is complex and difficult for most

You still are required to know it 

The more you practice in situation – the
more clear it becomes.

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