Codic (Verbal Behavior)
Skinner (1957) proposed a system of classifying verbal behavior, by function and form, resulting in discrete units of analysis termed verbal operants. The taxonomy is based on the forms of the antecedent controlling stimuli and response products and the specific consequences provided for each operant. Skinner’s original categorization included the following operants: echoic, mand, tact, and intraverbal. However, these categories of behavior do not encompass all forms and functions of communication and language. Two additional categories have since been proposed: codic and duplic (Michael 1982).
The form of a verbal operant is said to have point-to-point correspondence when the individual components (e.g., letters, syllables) of the antecedent stimulus and response product forms match. And, when the sense mode of the stimulus and response is the same (e.g., auditory stimulus and vocal response), they exhibit formal similarity. The function of each verbal operant is determined by controlling consequences or motivating operations (mand only). Controlling consequences are changes in stimulus conditions that follow the occurrence of verbal operants (e.g., praise), whereas motivating operations are environmental variables that alter the effectiveness of some stimulus as a reinforcer and alter the frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by that stimulus (e.g., hunger).
A codic is a verbal operant in which the antecedent stimulus and response product forms exhibit point-to-point correspondence, there is no formal similarity, and that is reinforced by generalized conditioned reinforcement from a listener (usually a parent/guardian or teacher). Common examples of codics include reading written words (textual (In the case of the textual, reading means “decoding” words and not comprehension)) or writing words that one hears spoken aloud (taking dictation). Codics are learned through both direct and incidental teaching strategies and are reinforced by the learner’s verbal community with praise or some form of educational reinforcement.