Author: Natsoulas, Thomas
Affiliation: U California, Davis
Title: Toward a model for consciousness in the light of B. F. Skinner's contribution.
Source: Behaviorism, 1978 Fal, 1978. 6 (2): p.139-175Reference.
Language: English
Subjects: Thesaurus terms: Awareness Behaviorism Models
Added Keywords: model of consciousness based on Skinnerian view
Classification Code: History & Systems (2140)
Population Terms: Human
Abstract: TheOxford English Dictionary's4th entry for "consciousness" defines the term as the awareness of or being in a position to be aware of one's own thought, feeling, volition, or other mental episodes. In a related sense, the word may be used to refer to particular mental episodes (i.e., states of consciousness), including affections, emotions, perceptions, and images. Skinner (1974) holds that a person cannot make direct contact with the vast nervous system that mediates his or her behavior; he/she can only come to know more stimuli and more responses, which can occur both centrally and peripherally. In Skinner's view, the verbal community conditions consciousness, and the person's ability to be directly aware depends on the verbal community's ability to label some of his or her private events with some consistency. Thus, consciousness is a social "product." It is suggested that direct awarenesses, whether occurring in speech or thought, are language-entry transitions into a certain conceptual framework, which includes a conception of how mental episodes relate to one another, to the world, and to the one who experiences them. (31/2 p ref) ((c) 1999 APA/PsycINFO, all rights reserved)