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Meaningful Events in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology Research Approaches: A 6-Year Literature Review

Marileide A. Oliveira, Erik Arntzen


The concept of meaning has been a traditional object of scientific study over recent decades within the behavioral and cognitive psychology fields. The former defines meaningful events in terms of their existing or acquired behavioral functions. The latter focuses on explanatory models to describe the role of meaningful events in cognitive performance. We performed a literature review of research studies that were published between 2012 and 2017 that investigated the relationship between meaningful events and cognitive processes that are related to language acquisition and behavioral processes, specifically the formation of stimulus equivalence classes. The final sample included 33 articles that were identified by searching three different databases (Web of Science, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar) using specific keywords. The results showed that meaningful events play an important role in cognitive/behavioral processes. More studies were found within the cognitive approach, whereas a stronger effect of meaningful events was observed in studies that employed a behavioral approach.

Keywords: Behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, meaningful events, meaning.


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Revista Brasileira de Análise do Comportamento/ Brazilian Journal of Behavior Analysis
ISSN 1807-8338 Versão Impressa / 2526-6551 Versão Eletrônica