Naming: What Do We Know So Far? A Systematic Review

Maithri Sivaraman, Dermot Barnes-Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Although the term naming is used colloquially in the English language, it refers to a specific instance of verbal behavior within behavior analysis. Since Horne and Lowe’s (Horne & Lowe, 1996) seminal account on naming, the concept continues to generate clinical and research interest to-date. We conducted a systematic search of the behavior analytic studies on naming to highlight the methods that were used to test naming, the terminology that have been adopted, the conceptual underpinnings, and the methods used to train naming if it was found to be absent. Forty-six studies met inclusion criteria and we conducted a descriptive analysis of these studies. We found that most studies either used the terms naming or bidirectional naming. We found wide variation in the methods used to test and train naming. Nearly one third of these studies attempted to offer evidence that naming facilitated some other type of behavior, and the remaining studies attempted to train naming in individuals when the behavior was found to be absent. Overall, our review highlighted that there exists a rich empirical dataset on testing and training naming within behavior analysis, and we discussed specific areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives on Behavior Science
Early online date12 May 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 12 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • bidirectional naming
  • listener behavior
  • naming
  • speaker behavior
  • verbal behavior development


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