Verbal behavior development theory and relational frame theory: Reflecting on similarities and differences

Maithri Sivaraman, Dermot Barnes‐Holmes, R. Douglas Greer, Daniel M. Fienup, Herbert Roeyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Relational frame theory and verbal behavior development theory are two behavior‐analytic perspectives on human language and cognition. Despite sharing reliance on Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior, relational frame theory and verbal behavior development theory have largely been developed independently, with initial applications in clinical psychology and education/development, respectively. The overarching goal of the current paper is to provide an overview of both theories and explore points of contact that have been highlighted by conceptual developments in both fields. Verbal behavior development theory research has identified how behavioral developmental cusps make it possible for children to learn language incidentally. Recent developments in relational frame theory have outlined the dynamic variables involved across the levels and dimensions of arbitrarily applicable relational responding, and we argue for the concept of mutually entailed orienting as an act of human cooperation that drives arbitrarily applicable relational responding. Together these theories address early language development and children's incidental learning of names. We present broad similarities between the two approaches in the types of functional analyses they generate and discuss areas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-553
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Volume119
Issue number3
Early online date21 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by the Marguerite‐Marie Delacroix Support Fund awarded to M. Sivaraman and Odysseus Type 1 funding awarded to D. Barnes‐Holmes.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by the Marguerite‐Marie Delacroix Support Fund awarded to M. Sivaraman and Odysseus Type 1 funding awarded to D. Barnes‐Holmes.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by the Marguerite‐Marie Delacroix Support Fund awarded to M. Sivaraman and Odysseus Type 1 funding awarded to D. Barnes‐Holmes.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

© 2023 The Authors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

Keywords

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
  • RESEARCH ARTICLES
  • incidental bidirectional naming
  • cooperation
  • naming
  • orienting
  • relational frame theory
  • verbal behavior development

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