Using Skinner’s Model of Verbal Behavior Analysis to Study Aggression in Psychiatric Hospitals (Report)
Introduction Skinner’s (1957) conceptualization of verbal behavior has its roots in a series of lectures first presented at the University of Minnesota in the late 1930s, and subsequently at Harvard University, and the University of Chicago. In these lectures Skinner proposed a new theory of verbal behavior, which differed from existing explanations of verbal behaviour that tended to account for language in terms of its underlying meaning. For Skinner, existing explanations were scientifically inadequate because they failed to identify measureable and controllable variables that were causally linked to observable behavior (Skinner, 1957). Skinner, therefore, rejected the traditional formulation of verbal behavior in favor of a new, behaviorally derived formulation.