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The concept of rules in behavior analysis: a review of behavioral and experimental aspects

Grant number: 12/24646-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2013
Effective date (End): March 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology
Principal Investigator:Antonio Celso de Noronha Goyos
Grantee:Jonas Fernandes Gamba
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


The behavior analytic literature describes how different authors address issues related to what is traditionally known as rule-governed behavior. Such variability indicates that there is no consensus in the literature about the conceptual and experimental aspects involving this topic, as well as priority in investigations involving rules in its more complex forms. The purpose of this project is to conduct a detailed review of the literature on the different perspectives of rules to proceed with the conceptual and experimental refinements pointed out by Gamba (2012), which involved the description of an experimental protocol to investigate the origin of simple rules based on the interaction between listener training, the emergence of verbal operants, and the transfer of information between different contexts. The proposed revision will first provide a detailed material about the topic on rules has been discussed conceptually and experimentally in the literature, enabling the comparison between the various proposals. Second, and of more interest to this project, the materials found will be analyzed in an attempt to enhance the sense of how occurrences of simple rules originate from the analysis of basic behavioral prerequisites, including, for example, the behavior of the listener and verbal operants described by Skinner. Furthermore, you can examine to what extent the different approaches to rules may interact to this proposal. It is noteworthy that as in Gamba (2012), this proposal will go a conceptual analysis of a proposal for an experimental protocol increasingly refined to study the origin of occurrences of simple rules.