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Parallels and Incongruities between Musical and Verbal Behaviors

Authors
  • Reynolds, Benjamin S.
  • Hayes, Linda J.
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Psychological Record
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Mar 10, 2017
Volume
67
Issue
3
Pages
413–421
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s40732-017-0221-8
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

The study of music in behavior analytic accounts constitutes a poorly addressed area of application due to conceptual incongruities in the field and a general lack of common ground between the disciplines of music and behavior analysis. This paper will examine the suitability of Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior in describing various musical behaviors and propose clarifications of verbal behavior constructs to account for the conceptual similarities and differences between musical and verbal behaviors. The musical concepts of mimicry, relative pitch, and absolute pitch are also discussed from the perspective of a verbal behavior analysis. These are presented as examples of how presumably innate musical abilities remain subject to operant principles of behavior modification and how certain conventions of music may suggest novel functional relations that could expand the existing categorization of operants.

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