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ERIC Number: EJ861848
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-0738-6729
Listening Is Behaving Verbally
Schlinger, Henry D.
Behavior Analyst, v31 n2 p145-161 Fall 2008
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of B. F. Skinner's "Verbal Behavior", it may be important to reconsider the role of the listener in the verbal episode. Although by Skinner's own admission, "Verbal Behavior" was primarily about the behavior of the speaker, his definition of verbal behavior as "behavior reinforced through the mediation of other persons" (1957, p. 2) focused on the behavior of the listener. But because many of the behaviors of the listener are fundamentally no different than other discriminated operants, they may not appropriately be termed "listening". Even Skinner noted that the behavior of the listener often goes beyond simply mediating consequences for the speaker's behavior, implying that the listener engages in a repertoire of behaviors that is itself verbal. In the present article I suggest that listening involves subvocal verbal behavior. I then describe some of the forms and functions of the listener's verbal behavior (including echoic and intraverbal behavior) and conclude that there may be no functional distinction between speaking and listening. (Contains 8 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A