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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 6

“We may simplify the analysis by considering examples of self-control and thinking in which the individual manipulates external variables, but we shall need to complete the picture by discussing the status of private events in a science of behavior.” (p. 229)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 5

“When a man controls himself, chooses a course of action, thinks out the solution to a problem, or strives toward an increase in self-knowledge, he is behaving. He controls himself precisely as he would control the behavior of anyone else—through the manipulation of variables of which behavior is a function. His behavior in so […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 4

“A common objection to a picture of the behaving organism such as we have so far presented runs somewhat as follows. In emphasizing the controlling power of external variables, we have left the organism itself in a peculiarly helpless position . . . Yet to a considerable extent an individual does appear to shape […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 3

“An analysis of the techniques through which behavior may be manipulated shows the kind of technology which is emerging as the science advances, and it points up the considerable degree of control which is currently exerted. The problems raised by the control of human behavior obviously can no longer be avoided by refusing to […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 2

“Proving the validity of a functional relation by an actual demonstration of the effect of one variable upon another is the heart of experimental science. The practice enables us to dispense with many troublesome statistical techniques in testing the importance of variables.” (p. 227)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 1

“Implicit in a functional analysis is the notion of control. When we discover an independent variable which can be controlled, we discover a means of controlling the behavior which is a function of it. This fact is important for theoretical purposes.” (p. 227)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 11

“A special kind of chaining is represented by behavior which alters the strength of other behavior and is reinforced because it does so. Such behavior could almost be said to distinguish the human organism from all others.” (p. 224)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 10

“A response may produce or alter some of the variables which control another response. The result is a “chain.” . . . Some chains have a functional unity. The links have occurred in more or less the same order, and the whole chain has been affected by a single consequence. We often deal with […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 9

“Supplementary variables are often used in controlling behavior. A familiar case is “suggestion,” which may be defined as the use of a stimulus to raise the probability of a response already assumed to exist at some low value.” (p. 213)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 8

“All sustained verbal behavior is multiply determined. When a man begins to speak or write, he creates an elaborate set of stimuli which alter the strength of other responses in his repertoire. It is impossible to resist these supplementary sources of strength.” (p. 211).

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 7

“The presence of more than one stimulus variable in verbal behavior is sometimes dealt with as “multiple meaning.” The term is too narrow for our present purposes, for we must include contributions of strength from variables which are usually not included in the “meaning” of a response—for example, in the echoic response or the […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 6

“Two or more operations may combine in a common effect . . . Behavior is often most vigorous and effective when an emotional predisposition works in the same direction as a contingency of reinforcement. This is implied when we say that “a man’s heart is in his work,” where “heart” refers to emotional variables […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 5

“Suppose we approach a child who is playing happily by himself and give him a small piece of candy. We may observe the sudden emergence of a great deal of objectionable behavior—asking and teasing for more candy, then crying, and perhaps even a temper tantrum . . . The sight and taste of candy […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 4

“A given event may have two or more kinds of effects upon behavior at the same time.” (p. 205)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 3

“Although a functional analysis begins with relatively isolated relations, an important part of its task is to show how its variables interact.” (p. 205)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 2

“It is true that the simplicity is to some extent artificial. We do not often find anything like it outside the laboratory—especially in the field of human behavior, which is of primary interest. As a result those who are impatient to get on to bigger issues are inclined to object to the “oversimplified” formulations […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 14: The Analysis of Complex Cases, Quote 1

“In a scientific analysis it is seldom possible to proceed directly to complex cases. We begin with the simple and build up to the complex, step by step.” (p. 204)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 10

“A fairly exhaustive set of tests may enable us to evaluate traits and to predict performances in a wide range of situations, but the prediction is still from effect to effect. [Any] mathematical refinement has not brought the trait under control. We do not change behavior by manipulating a trait.” (p. 203)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 9

“Trait-names usually begin as adjectives—”intelligent,” “aggressive,” “disorganized,”  “angry,” “introverted,” “ravenous,” and so on—but the almost inevitable linguistic result is that adjectives give birth to nouns. The things to which these nouns refer are then taken to be the active causes of the aspects . . . But at no point in such a series […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 8

“We are all thoroughly familiar with descriptions of behavior in terms of traits, and trait-names are an extensive part of our daily vocabulary. As a result, we feel at home in describing behavior in this way. But the familiarity is misleading. The fact is that we can predict and control a response much more […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 7

“We have seen that there are practical circumstances under which it may be useful to predict traits, but in general the trait-name tells us little about behavior. It is not only lack of specificity, however, which makes the trait-name unsuitable for a functional analysis . . . The trait-name does not refer to a […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 6

“The principal advantages of a functional analysis are lost, however, when we resort to these alternative practices. Perhaps the most conspicuous feature of an aspect-description is its failure to advance the control of behavior.” (p. 200)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 5

“A prediction from effect to effect is, of course, sometimes useful. It may enable us to dispense with the direct observation of variables. This is particularly important when the variables are clearly out of reach.” (p. 199)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 4

“A test is simply a convenient opportunity to observe behavior—to survey or sample our dependent variable. The score may be used to predict some aspect of the larger universe of behavior from which the test is drawn . . . Certain variables in the history of the individual and in the current environment are  […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 3

“Differences in experience between the “ignorant” and the “learned,” the “naive” and the “sophisticated,” or the “innocent” and the “worldly” refer mainly to differences in histories of reinforcement. Such terms as “enthusiastic,” “interested,”‘ and “discouraged” describe the effects of different schedules of reinforcement.” (p. 196)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 2

“There are practical circumstances under which it is useful to know that a man will behave in a given manner even though we may not know precisely what he will do. To be able to predict, for example, that a proposal will probably be “received favorably” is valuable even though the specific form of […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 13: Function versus Aspect, Quote 1

“Frequently we describe behavior not with verbs which specify action but with adjectives describing characteristics or aspects of action.” (p. 194)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 13

“We may avoid the use of punishment by weakening an operant in other ways . . . The most effective alternative process is probably extinction . . . Another technique is to condition incompatible behavior . . . But we are still a long way from exploiting the alternatives, and we are not likely […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 12

“In the long run, however, punishment does not actually eliminate behavior from a repertoire, and its temporary achievement is obtained at tremendous cost in reducing the over-all efficiency and happiness of the group.” (p. 190)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 11

“Severe punishment unquestionably has an immediate effect in reducing a tendency to act in a given way. This result is no doubt responsible for its widespread use.” (p. 190)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 10

“The most important effect of punishment, then, is to establish aversive conditions which are avoided by any behavior of “doing something else.” (p. 189)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 9

“Strong emotional predispositions are also rearoused by the beginnings of severely punished behavior. These are the main ingredient of what we speak of as guilt, shame, or a sense of sin.” (p. 187)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 8

“. . . as a second effect of punishment, behavior which has consistently been punished becomes the source of conditioned stimuli which evoke incompatible behavior.” (p. 187)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 7

“The first effect of the aversive stimuli used in punishment is confined to the immediate situation . . . When we stop a child from giggling in church by pinching it severely, the pinch elicits responses which are incompatible with laughing and powerful enough to suppress it.” (p. 186)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 6

“We first define a positive reinforcer as any stimulus the presentation of which strengthens the behavior upon which it is made contingent. We define a negative reinforcer (an aversive stimulus) as any stimulus the withdrawal of which strengthens behavior. Both are reinforcers in the literal sense of reinforcing or strengthening a response. Insofar as […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 5

“The fact that punishment does not permanently reduce a tendency to respond is in agreement with Freud’s discovery of the surviving activity of what he called repressed wishes.” (p. 184)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 4

“More recently, the suspicion has also arisen that punishment does not in fact do what it is supposed to do. An immediate effect in reducing a tendency to behave is clear enough, but this may be misleading. The reduction in strength may not be permanent.” (p. 183)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 3

“In the long run, punishment, unlike reinforcement, works to the disadvantage of both the punished organism and the punishing agency.” (p. 183)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 2

“Reinforcement builds up these tendencies [to behave in certain ways]: punishment is designed to tear them down.” (p. 182)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 12: Punishment, Quote 1

“The commonest technique of control in modern life is punishment.” (p. 182)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 10

“When we speak of the effects of anxiety, we imply that the state itself is a cause, but so far as we are concerned here, the term merely classifies behavior. It indicates a set of emotional predispositions attributed to a special kind of circumstance. Any therapeutic attempt to reduce the “effects of anxiety” must […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 9

“The effect of stimuli which characteristically precede positive reinforcement may be chronic in a world in which “good” things frequently happen. It is not seen in the clinic because it is not troublesome.” (p. 180)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 8

“Since conditioning may take place as the result of one pairing of stimuli, a single aversive event may bring a condition of anxiety under the control of incidental stimuli.” (p. 179)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 7

“In the design of controlling techniques the possibility of generating anxiety as an unfortunate by-product must constantly be kept in mind.” (p. 179)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 6

“Although the biological advantage of avoidance is obvious, the emotional pattern of anxiety appears to serve no useful purpose. It interferes with the normal behavior of the individual and may even disorganize avoidance behavior which would otherwise be effective in dealing with the circumstances.” (p. 178)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 5

“Although avoidance suggests that behavior may be influenced by an event which does not occur, we may account for the effect without violating any fundamental principle of science with the concept of conditioned negative reinforcement.” (p. 176)

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Operants Podcast

Operants podcast is available for download. Sheila Habarad hosts Dr. Julie Vargas, Dr. Joyce Tu, Bruna Colombo dos Santos, and Monalisa Leão. Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes. Here is the link: http://www.bfskinner.org/podcasts/

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 4

“An important example of [the] use of aversive conditioning is the practice of branding an act wrong or sinful. Any behavior which reduces the stimulation arising from the early stages of such an act is then negatively reinforced . . . Many problems in psychotherapy arise from the strength and duration of this effect […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 3

“It is not difficult to show that an organism which is reinforced by the withdrawal of certain conditions should have an advantage in natural selection.” (p. 173)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 11: Aversion, avoidance, anxiety, Quote 2

“Just as we did not define a positive reinforcer as pleasant or satisfying, so in defining a negative reinforcer in terms of its power to reinforce when withdrawn we do not assert that the stimulus is unpleasant or annoying.” (p. 173)

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