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Dialogue on private events
The Analysis of Verbal Behavior
  • David C. Palmer, Smith College
  • John Eshelman, APEX Consulting
  • Paul Brandon, Minnesota State University
  • T. V. Joe Layng, Headsprout, Inc.
  • Christopher McDonough, Hawthorne Country Day School
  • Jack Michael, Western Michigan University
  • Ted Schoneberger, California State University, Stanislaus
  • Nathan Stemmer, Bar-Han University
  • Ray Weitzman, California State University, Fresno
  • Matthew P. Normand, University of the Pacific
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In the fall of 2003, the authors corresponded on the topic of private events on the listserv of the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group. Extracts from that correspondence raised questions about the role of response amplitude in determining units of analysis, whether private events can be investigated directly, and whether covert behavior differs from other behavior except in amplitude. Most participants took a cautious stance, noting not only conceptual pitfalls and empirical difficulties in the study of private events, but doubting the value of interpretive exercises about them. Others argued that despite such obstacles, in domains where experimental analyses cannot be done, interpretation of private events in the light of laboratory principles is the best that science can offer. One participant suggested that the notion that private events can be behavioral in nature be abandoned entirely; as an alternative, the phenomena should be reinterpreted only as physiological events.
Citation Information
David C. Palmer, John Eshelman, Paul Brandon, T. V. Joe Layng, et al.. "Dialogue on private events" The Analysis of Verbal Behavior Vol. 20 Iss. 1 (2004) p. 111 - 128 ISSN: 0889-9401
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