Skip To Content

BEHP1216: Reflections on Verbal Behavior at 60

Time limit: 60 days
3 credits

$39 Enroll

Full course description

Time: 2 hours, 53 minutes
3 Learning BACB CEs

Presenter: Henry D. Schlinger Jr., Ph.D., BCBA-D

Reflects on 60 years of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior, beginning with a brief description of the conditions under which Skinner began writing the book and describing the controversy ignited when Chomsky (1959) penned his review. Includes Skinner’s (1972) reply to Chomsky and briefly describes MacCorquodale’s (1970) thorough debunking of Chomsky’s critique. Discusses the controversy surrounding the book within behavior analysis by proponents of relational frame theory (RFT) and provides rebuttals to their critiques. Features of the book that make it such a powerful theory of human language are described, along with two related theoretical extensions of the analysis: the behaviors involved in listening and how the behavior of the listener can be instructed or conditioned. Analyzes a simple example of derived relational responding provided by RFT proponents, critiques their explanation and offers a more parsimonious explanation in terms of the basic operant unit of analysis.


  • Describe how Skinner came to write Verbal Behavior (VB).
  • Describe the earliest forms of what eventually became VB.
  • Identify Chomsky’s main criticisms of Skinner’s book and MacCorquodale’s rebuttals.
  • Describe Skinner’s reaction to Chomsky’s review and who actually replied to Chomsky in print.
  • Describe the VB “controversy” from both outside and within the field.
  • Describe the points about VB I made in my 2008 article, “The Long Goodbye: Why B. F. Skinner’s Verbal behavior is Alive and Well on the 50th Anniversary of its Publication.”
  • Describe the main points of the Dymond and Alonso-Álvarez’s reply to my article.
  • Describe the main points of my rejoinder to their article.
  • Describe some of the statements RFT proponents have made about Skinner and VB.
  • Describe the “controversy” about VB from within behavior analysis, for example, regarding the definition of verbal behavior and Skinner’s use of interpretation in his book.
  • Describe how I view the scope and parsimony of VB.
  • Describe what I see as the revolutionary approach in Skinner’s book.
  • Describe the implications of VB for the behavior of the listener and for listening, including the points in my 2008 article, “Listening Is Behaving Verbally.”
  • Describe the implications of what Skinner referred to as “instructing” or conditioning the behavior of the listener in terms of function-altering effects of verbal stimuli.
  • Describe a simple example of derived relational responding and explanations from RF theorists and, more parsimoniously, in terms of the basic unit of operant analysis.

Keywords: Verbal Behavior, verbal behavior, listening, relational frame theory, B. F. Skinner

Rating: This course is recommended for professionals with basic background knowledge of behavior analysis. Prerequisite knowledge of Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior is suggested.

Access: 60 days from the date and time of registration

Important notes:  Your access begins at the time of purchase, not the time of log in.  Effective July 1, 2022, Florida Tech no longer offers extensions for CE courses; if you do not finish your course and need to repurchase, please contact us.  If you are taking this course to maintain your BACB certification, you will need to write your certification number on your certificate of completion, as the BACB requires that your certificate of completion includes your certification number.


For more information, if you experience problems when registering, or if you need to repurchase a CE please email us at


Refund Policy

No refunds are provided once the course is accessed.

These workshops are presented in partnership between the Florida Tech ABA Online program and ABA Technologies, Inc. ABA Technologies, Inc., is a BACB-approved provider of type-2 continuing education hours (provider number: OP-02-0023)