The ABCs of Verbal Behavior: Everything you wanted to know about verbal behavior but were afraid to ask! – Tuesday 5/22/18 am

Presented by: Professor A. Charles Catania
Date: Tuesday,  May 22, 2018  Time: 10:00 am- 1:00 pm eastern
Recording Information: ABACAccess5
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Continuing Education:

  • Behavior Analysts: 3 Type II CEUs Live or recorded event
  • Psychologists: 3 Continuing Education Hours for BOTH Live and RECORDED WEBINAR ****
  • Social Workers/ Certified Counselors: no CEs available
  • Teachers: This event may qualify for professional development hours. Discuss with your supervisor before signing up.


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Psychologists will be able to get CEs for watching the live webinar or the recording beginning July 2018. We have home-study approval but we are making sure all processes are in place before we introduce the option.
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We will review the basic verbal classes (e.g., echoic behavior, manding, tacting, intraverbals, autoclitics) as introduced by Skinner, especially in his book, Verbal Behavior, and as they have since evolved. We will see how these classes are related to such basic behavioral phenomena as reinforcement and stimulus control. This background allows us to examine current research on verbal processes that enter into varied human settings and that are fundamental to varied applications.  The topics we will consider include: the distinction between physical and verbal units; naming and other higher order classes; abstraction; the role of verbal behavior in judging one’s own behavior; multiple causation in verbal behavior; the shaping of verbal behavior; correspondences between saying and doing; verbal governance; and the implications of these areas for treatment and for educational and other settings.

 This workshop may be useful to (1) those who have read Skinner’s book, “Verbal Behavior,” and who would like a contemporary updating of the issues treated there, and/or (2) those familiar with the concepts of verbal behavior mainly as used in applied settings who would like a more systematic overview, and/or (3) those with a general background in behavior analysis who would like to extend such basic concepts as reinforcement and stimulus control to important aspects of human behavior, and/or (4) those involved in the teaching of verbal behavior, especially at the undergraduate level.  A reading of Skinner’s book is recommended to participants but is not required. For those who would also like a review of the basic phenomena upon which the analysis of verbal behavior is built, a workshop on the ABCs of behavior analysis may be of interest, but it is not a prerequisite for this verbal behavior workshop.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to:

(1) interpret instances of verbal behavior by identifying the different verbal classes that have come together to produce them

(2) recognize higher-order verbal classes and their nesting (as when individual tacts are members of a higher-order class called naming) and identify problems that may arise when different contingencies operate on classes at different hierarchical levels

(3) distinguish accounts of verbal behavior that emphasize function (e.g., the stimulus control of verbal behavior, and the contingencies that shape and maintain it) from more common everyday accounts in terms of form (e.g., topographies, grammatical and linguistic categories)

(4) identify functional verbal processes (including verbal shaping and verbal governance) as they occur in natural settings and as they may be incorporated into behavior analytic applications.


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10:00 am: Introduction
10:05 am: Pretest

10:10 am: Presentation begins

11:30 am: 10 minute break

11:40 am: First Q&A Session- submit questions via chat

11:50 am: Presentation resumes

12:45 pm: Q&A submit questions for chat

1:00 pm: Posttest, Evaluation and submit attendance codes



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Charles Catania is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), where he co-founded the MA track in Applied Behavior Analysis in the Human Services Psychology program.  He is Past-President of the Association for Behavior Analysis and of Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. He has been Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior​ and Associate Editor for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior for the journal, ​Behavioral and Brain Sciences​.  He is author of more than 200 journal articles and chapters, and his books include ​Learning​, now in its 5​th​ edition, Variations and Selections​ (co-edited with Philip N. Hineline), the Definitive Edition of B. F. Skinner’s ​Cumulative Record​ (co-edited with Victor G. Laties) and, most recently, ​The ABCs of Behavior Analysis​.

Disclosure Statement

Dr. Catania receives speaker fees for presenting for ABAC. Dr. Catania receives royalties for the sale of his books, some of which may be mentioned during this event.




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