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A scientific understanding of verbal behavior

Chapter 2

It’s Just Verbal Behavior

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Sarah was ready for Friday night. It had been a tough week, but it seemed they all were. She was halfa~ay through a Masters program in applied behavior analysis, and the work sometzmes got the best of her. Tonight she was meeting some of the other students at their favorite hangout, and they had earned some beers.

Carrie and Matt were already into the first pitcher when she got there. Jenny soon showed up with her new boyfriend, Chad. They ordered a second and then a third pitcher. They had sworn not to talk shop, but that went out the window soon enough, as usual. Besides, their professors encouraged them to make what they were learning part oftheir everyday life. It seemed as ifthe program was their life, so it was hard to avoid talking about school. Carrie was talking about a discussion they had in class and said she hadn t made up her mind yet about the subject.

Matt sat upright, eyebrows arched. Using his best professorial manner, he asked, “What do you mean, ‘made up your mind’? You think thats like making up

your bed?” Carrie saw the game and grimaced. “Alright, one point for the boy. ” Sarah and Jenny cackled Chad, who was trying to fit in, frowned. “/ don t get

it. Whats wrong with saying that?” he demanded. The students glanced at each other, wondering if they should continue. Jenny

tried to rescue Chad hoping to avoid getting into a real discussion. “Theres no such thing as a mind ” she said casually. “Its just the way we learn to talk growing up. ”

This didn t help Chad at all. “How could we _not,~ave a mind?” he said. “Thats how we decide everything. Its what makes us ~zck .

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