Cautela, J. R., & Kearney, A. J. (Eds.), Covert conditioning casebook. Boston: Brooks-Cole (pp. 11-13).

Any scientific phenomenon should be based upon certain assumptions. Cautela and Kearney described those which underlie mental imagery and covert conditioning as real phenomena. The following are the assumptions which govern why imagery "works."

  1. The assumption of homogeneity. All behaviors, whether covert or overt, are the same.
  2. The assumption of interaction. All behaviors and the environment interact.
  3. The assumption of learning. All behaviors respond similarly to the laws of learning.
  4. The assumed classification of behaviors. Three classes of behavior are described for the reason of convenience.
  5. The assumption of organic events. All behaviors are organic events of the same basic structure, the classes being proposed for semantic convenience.
  6. The assumption of a continual plastic nervous system. Both overt and covert experiences can influence anatomical and chemical changes in the central nervous system.
  7. The assumption of the universal influence of consequences. Consequences influence all classes of behavior simultaneously. Covert positive reinforcement skills need to be taught for imagery to be effective.

Implication. Because of these assumptions, the characteristics of the processes which cause mental and physical behavior changes should be similar and universal. One should expect to learn mental behaviors under similar conditions and paradigms to those required for physical behaviors.

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