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Fig 4.15 – Verbal Summator

Text: Page 200

An example of exploring experiences outside his comfort zone was Skinner’s interest in the Rorschach Test. He was influenced by projective psychological testing, especially the work of fellow colleague, Henry Murray, who developed the Thematic Apperception Test. After taking the Rorschach Test himself, Skinner became inspired to develop a test which could be integrated into psychological testing.

As a fellow early in his career at Harvard University, he developed the verbal summator, an auditory inkblot test. Skinner described the verbal summator as a device for repeating arbitrary samples of speech by combining basic elemental speech sounds. In the test, a subject made conventional verbal responses responding to skeleton auditory samples, Like the Rorschach Test, the meaning would relate to unconscious psychological issues. Skinner administered the verbal summator at the Harvard Clinic and to clients at the Worcester State Hospital, but later abandoned the verbal summator when he became the leading voice for neobehaviorism.

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