Hayes & Wilson, 2000

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APA Citation: 

Hayes, S. C., & Wilson, K. G. (2000). Why it is crucial to understand thinking and feeling: An analysis and application to drug abuse. The Behavior Analyst, 23, 25-43.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Behavior Analysis: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
cognition, emotion, private events, substance abuse, alcoholism, self-awareness, relational frame theory, verbal behavior

Behavior analysis has long accepted the legitimacy of the analysis of private events in a natural science of behavior. However, the topic has languished as a focus of empirical research in either applied or basic arenas. We argue that recent empirical work examining the bidirectional nature of verbal relations may shed light on the role of private events in complex human behavior. Skinner argued that although it would be possible to analyze private events, we need not, because thoughts and feelings were viewed as co-occurring products of the same contingencies that are responsible for changes in overt responses. However, the bidirectional transformation of stimulus function inherent in verbal bahavior changes the way that private events participate in complex behavioral episodes for verbal organisms. We examine why we have reached such conclusion, with special emphasis on the role of self-awareness. Finally we conclude with an application of our analysis to the problem of substance abuse.

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