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ERIC Number: EJ999111
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0738-6729
Neuroscientific Measures of Covert Behavior
Ortu, Daniele
Behavior Analyst, v35 n1 p75-87 Spr 2012
In radical behaviorism, the difference between overt and covert responses does not depend on properties of the behavior but on the sensitivity of the measurement tools employed by the experimenter. Current neuroscientific research utilizes technologies that allow measurement of variables that are undetected by the tools typically used by behavior analysts. Data from a specific neuroscientific technique, event-related potential (ERP), suggest that emission of otherwise covert responses can be indexed and that such covert responses are sensitive to stimulus control and selection by consequences. The P3 ERP effect is proposed as indicative of emission. Moreover, ERP results in semantic priming experiments suggest that operants are sensitive to changes in stimulus control even when they are not emitted (latent responses). Changes in response strength of latent responses as a function of stimulus control can in fact be measured by reaction time data and an ERP dependent variable called the N400 effect. If the interpretations provided in this paper are accurate, an index of covertly emitted operants (P3 effect) constitutes experimental evidence suggesting the validity of a Skinnerian radical behaviorist perspective on behavior. Moreover, in a Skinnerian paradigm, measured fluctuations in the response strength of latent operants as a function of environmental changes (N400 effect) would validate Palmer's (2009) concept of the repertoire. (Contains 2 figures and 2 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