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verbal behavior

1) Verbal behavior refers to the vocal, written, and gestural performances of a speaker, writer, or communicator. This behavior operates on the listener, reader, or observer, who arranges for reinforcement of the verbal performance. Verbal behavior often has indirect affects on the environment. This contrasts with nonverbal behavior, which usually results in direct and automatic consequences. When you walk toward an object, you come closer to it. Verbal behavior, on the other hand, works through its affects on other people. To change the position of a lamp, the speaker states "Lift the lamp at the back of the room" to a listener, who is inclined to respond. Although verbal behavior is usually equated with speaking, vocal responses are only one of its forms. For example, a person may emit gestures and body movements that indirectly operate on the environment through their effects on others. A frown sets the occasion for others to remove some aversive event, while a smile may signal the observer to behave in ways that produce positive reinforcement.

2) Any behavior involving words, without regard to modality (e.g., spoken, written, gestural). The units that function as words are determined by the practices of a verbal community.

3) Behavior reinforced through the mediation of other persons. It includes any verbal or nonverbal form of communication that helps people get what they want and avoid what they don't want faster and more efficiently. included under the rubric of verbal behavior are speaking, gestures, writing, typing, touching, and so on. Verbal behavior, then, refers to antecedent stimuli that set the occasion for others, or ourselves, to provide us with reinforcement.

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