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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 16

“Another possibility [than control by private events] is that when an individual appears to describe unemitted behavior, he is actually describing a history of variables which would enable an independent observer to describe the behavior in the same way if a knowledge of the variables were available to him.” (p. 263)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 15

“I was on the point of going home” may be regarded as the equivalent of “I observed events in myself which characteristically precede or accompany my going home.” (p. 262)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 14

“Such responses as “I’m strongly inclined to go home” or “I shall go home in half an hour” also describe states of affairs which appear to be accessible only to the speaker. How can the verbal community establish responses of this sort? A possible explanation is that the terms are established as part of […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 13

“An important verbal repertoire describes one’s own behavior. It is generated by a community which insists upon answers to such questions as “What did you say?” “What are you doing?” “What are you going to do?” or “Why are you doing that?” (p. 262)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 12

“Now, self-observation is also the product of discriminative contingencies, and if a discrimination cannot be forced by the community, it may never arise. Strangely enough, it is the community which teaches the individual to “know himself.” (p. 260-261)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 11

“The environment, whether public or private, appears to remain undistinguished until the organism is forced to make a distinction.” (p. 260)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 10

“There is no effective answer to the student who insists, after being corrected, that that was what he “meant to say,” but the existence of this private event is not accepted with any confidence.” (p. 260)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 9

“Verbal responses which are acquired with respect to public events may be transferred to private events on the basis of common properties. It has often been pointed out that many subjective terms are metaphorical, at least in origin . . . Here again the community cannot guarantee an accurate verbal repertoire because the response […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 8

“The community may resort to public accompaniments of the private event. For example, it may establish a verbal response to an aching tooth by presenting or withholding reinforcement according to a special condition of the tooth which almost certainly accompanies the private event or according to violent collateral responses such as holding the jaw […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 7

“The verbal response “red” is established as a discriminative operant by a community which reinforces the response when it is made in the presence of red stimuli and not otherwise. This can easily be done if the community and the individual both have access to red stimuli. It cannot be done if either the […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 6

“The contribution which a science of behavior can make in suggesting an alternative [to the psychophysical dualism] point of view is perhaps one of its most important achievements. No discussion of the implications of science for an understanding of human behavior would be complete without at least a brief review of this contribution.” (p. […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 5

“The picture which emerges is almost always dualistic. The scientist humbly admits that he is describing only half the universe, and he defers to another world—a world of mind or consciousness—for which another mode of inquiry is assumed to be required.” (p. 258)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 4

“These questions [of private events] may not be of interest to all readers . . . Fortunately, the issue is seldom crucial in the practical control of human behavior. The reader whose interests are essentially practical and who may now prefer to move on to later chapters may do so without serious trouble. Nevertheless, […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 3

“In studying behavior we may have to deal with the stimulation from a tooth as an inference rather than as a directly observable fact. But if some of the independent variables of which behavior is a function are not directly accessible, what becomes of a functional analysis? How are such variables to be treated?” […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 2

“We need not suppose that events which take place within an organism’s skin have special properties for that reason. A private event may be distinguished by its limited accessibility but not, so far as we know, by any special structure or nature.” (p. 257)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 17: Private Events in a Natural Science, Quote 1

“When we say that behavior is a function of the environment, the term “environment” presumably means any event in the universe capable of affecting the organism. But part of the universe is enclosed within the organism’s own skin.” (p. 257)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 23

“The present analysis should lead to an improvement in educational practices. If our account of thinking is essentially correct, there is no reason why we cannot teach a man how to think.” (p. 256)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 22

“So long as originality is identified with spontaneity or an absence of lawfulness in behavior, it appears to be a hopeless task to teach a man to be original or to influence his process of thinking in any important way.” (p. 256)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 21

“A formulation of creative thinking within the framework of a natural science may be offensive to those who prize their conception of the individual in control of the world about him.” (p. 256)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 20

“James Watt’s invention of the steam engine seems much less miraculous when we have once learned about the earlier forms of the engine upon which his contribution was based.” (pp. 255-256)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 19

“The question of originality can be disposed of, however, by providing plausible accounts of the way in which a given idea might have occurred.” (p. 255)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 18

“Educational agencies established by the group provide for the transmission of the results of environmental contingencies from one individual to another, and it becomes possible for the individual to acquire effective behavior on a vast scale.” (p. 255)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 17

“As time passes men react to more and more subtle features of the world about them and in more and more effective ways. The accumulation of behavior is made possible by the growth of a social environment which forces modern man to respond to differences which only very slowly gained control of the behavior […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 16

“Reinforcing contingencies shape the behavior of the individual, and novel contingencies generate novel forms of behavior. Here, if anywhere, originality is to be found.” (p. 255)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 15

“Man is now in much better control of the world than were his ancestors, and this suggests a progress in discovery and invention in which there appears to be a strong element of originality. But we could express this fact just as well by saying that the environment is now in better control of […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 14

“We may . . . acknowledge the emergence of novel ideas, in the sense of responses never made before under the same circumstances, without implying any element of originality in the individuals who “have” them.” (p. 255)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 13

“When a pattern of manipulation has never been applied to a particular case before, the result is, in a sense, new . . . We reserve the term “original” for those ideas which result from manipulations of variables which have not followed a rigid formula and in which the ideas have other sources of […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 12

“We saw that self-control rests ultimately with the environmental variables which generate controlling behavior and, therefore, originates outside the organism. There is a parallel issue in the field of ideas. Is an idea ever original?” (p. 254)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 11

“The artistic exploration of a medium may, however, proceed in the absence of any explicit problem . . . The general problem is simply to come up with something new.” (p. 254)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 10

“Instances have been described in which a mathematician abandons a problem after working on it for a long time, only to have the solution “pop into his head” quite unexpectedly at a later date. It is tempting to suppose that he has continued to work on the problem “unconsciously” and that his solution follows […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 9

“It is either meaningless or idle to ask where the response resides until it summons strength enough to spring out into the open. We may also easily represent the activities by virtue of which the thinker gets an idea—at least so long as the behavior is overt. Special problems undoubtedly arise when it is […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 8

“Until the functional relations in behavior had been analyzed, this could not be clearly understood; and meanwhile a great many fictional processes were invented. Conspicuous examples are the “thought processes” called thinking and reasoning. A functional analysis removes much of the mystery which surrounds these terms.” (p. 252)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 7

“The result of solving a problem is the appearance of a solution in the form of a response. The response alters the situation so that the problem disappears. The relation between the preliminary behavior and the appearance of the solution is simply the relation between the manipulation of variables and the emission of a […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 6

“Simply emitting a solution, however, is not solving a problem. We are concerned here with the process of “finding the solution. Problem-solving may be defined as any behavior which, through the manipulation of variables, makes the appearance of a solution more probable.” (p. 247)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 5

“Once the solution has occurred, the problem vanishes simply because the essential condition has been eliminated. (The same problem is not likely to recur since the situation will no longer be novel. Henceforth, the response which appeared as a solution will occur because it has been reinforced under similar circumstances.)” (p. 247)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 4

“Mathematics is rich in problems, but the motivation of the mathematician is often obscure. The deprivation or aversive stimulation responsible for the strength of writing a formula which always generates a prime number or of proving that a given formula never fails to generate a prime number is by no means clear.” (p. 247)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 3

“It is easy to give an example of a problem, but it is difficult to define the term rigorously . . . In the true “problem situation” the organism has no behavior immediately available which will reduce the deprivation or provide escape from aversive stimulation.” (p. 246)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 2

“In recalling a name it is assumed that the response exists in some strength and that other information is available as a source of supplementary stimulation. These are the essential features of a broader and generally more complex activity commonly called “problem-solving,” “thinking,” or “reasoning.” The analysis of recalling a name thus serves as […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 16: Thinking, Quote 1

“The individual manipulates relevant variables in making a decision because the behavior of doing so has certain reinforcing consequences. One of these is simply escape from indecision. Conflicting alternatives lead to an oscillation between incomplete forms of response which, by occupying a good deal of the individual’s time, may be strongly aversive.” (p. 244)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 13

“It must be remembered that formulae expressed in terms of personal responsibility underlie many of our present techniques of control and cannot be abruptly dropped. To arrange a smooth transition is in itself a major problem. But the point has been reached where a sweeping revision of the concept of responsibility is required, not […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 12

“A man may spend a great deal of time designing his own life—he may choose the circumstances in which he is to live with great care, and he may manipulate his daily environment on an extensive scale. Such activity appears to exemplify a high order of self-determination. But it is also behavior, and we […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 11

“Self-reinforcement of operant behavior presupposes that the individual has it in his power to obtain reinforcement but does not do so until a particular response has been emitted . . . But it must be remembered that the individual may at any moment drop the work in hand and obtain the reinforcement. We have […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 10

“The place of operant reinforcement in self-control is not clear. In one sense, all reinforcements are self-administered since a response may be regarded as “producing” its reinforcement, but “reinforcing one’s own behavior” is more than this.” (p. 237)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 9

“The individual often comes to control part of his own behavior when a response has conflicting consequences—when it leads to both positive and negative reinforcement. . . . The positive and the negative consequences generate two responses which are related to each other in a special way: one response, the controlling response, affects variables […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 8

“When we say that a man controls himself, we must specify who is controlling whom . . . Evidently selves are multiple and hence not to be identified with the biological organism. But if this is so, what are they? What are their dimensions in a science of behavior?

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 15: “Self-Control”, Quote 7

“A purely private event would have no place in a study of behavior, or perhaps in any science; but events which are, for the moment at least, accessible only to the individual himself often occur as links in chains of otherwise public events and they must then be considered.” (p. 229)

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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 […]