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So far julie.vargas@bfskinner.org has created 279 entries.

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 […]

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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