Covert behavior may also be strong behavior which cannot be overtly emitted because the proper circumstances are lacking. When we are strongly inclined to go skiing, although there is no snow, we say I would like to go skiing. It is not very ...
The major contributions of operationism have been negative, largely because operationists failed to distinguish logical theories of reference from empirical accounts of language. Behaviorism never finished an adequate formulation of verbal reports and therefore could not convincingly embrace subjective terms. But verbal responses to private stimuli can arise as social products through the contingencies of reinforcement arranged by verbal communities.
Each of us is uniquely subject to certain kinds of stimulation from a small part of the universe within our skins. Mentalistic psychologies insist that other kinds of events, lacking the physical dimensions of stimuli, are accessible to the owner of the skin within which they occur. One solution often regarded as behavioristic, granting the distinction between public and private events and ruling the latter out of consideration, has not been successful. A science of behavior must face the problem of (...) privacy by dealing with events within the skin in their relation to behavior, without assuming they have a special nature or must be known in a special way. (shrink)
Behavior that solves a problem is distinguished by the fact that it changes another part of the solver's behavior and is strengthened when it does so. Problem solving typically involves the construction of discriminative stimuli. Verbal responses produce especially useful stimuli, because they affect other people. As a culture formulates maxims, laws, grammar, and science, its members behave more effectively without direct or prolonged contact with the contingencies thus formulated. The culture solves problems for its members, and does so by (...) transmitting the verbal discriminative stimuli called rules. Induction, deduction, and the construction of models are ways of producing rules. Behavior that solves a problem may result from direct shaping by contingencies or from rules constructed either by the problem solver or by others. Because different controlling variables are involved, contingency-shaped behavior is never exactly like rule-governed behavior. The distinction must take account of a system which establishes certain contingencies of reinforcement, such as some part of the natural environment, a piece of equipment, or a verbal community; the behavior shaped and maintained by these contingencies; rules, derived from the contingencies, which specify discriminative stimuli, responses, and consequences, and the behavior occasioned by the rules. (shrink)
Skinner insists on the suitability of his own interpretation of Yacorzynski's results and points out a number of differences in the conclusions reached by each of them in the study of these data. (See 17: 1566.) ((c) 1997 APA/PsycINFO, all rights reserved).