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Rule-Governed Behavior

Description

Rule-governed behavior is behavior that is under the stimulus control of a verbal (not necessarily oral) stimulus. Straightforward examples include a child responding to the request of a parent, a cook following a recipe to bake a cake, a student choosing an answer on a multiple-choice mathematics test after calculating the answer, and a driver slowing in response to a traffic sign about construction ahead. In all these instances, individuals respond to a verbal statement that they or someone else have formulated. These responses occur because of a history of reinforcement for similar responses to such verbal formulations.

Rule-governed behavior is considered operant behavior, subject to the same three-term contingency analysis as other operant behavior, except that the antecedent is verbal. Thus, ...

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