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Behavior Modification- psych 154: midterm 1


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Our Goal*Prediction and control of behavior*

How do we achieve this?
Using the methodology of the experimental analysis of behavior

Strict adherence to this approach as a basis for understanding behavior and forming laws about behavior

Looking at variables and techniques involved in the acquisition, maintenance, and reduction of behavior
Also called cause and effect, antecedent and consequence, stimulus variable and response variable.

Need to be refined so they are useful, practical, effective and efficient.
Functional Relationships
Require identification of laws of behavior
Functional relationships
Prediction and Control
A -> B
Careful delineation and study of events by observation

Empirical evidence for statements

Careful interpretation – avoid unwarranted and unproved assumptions

Ask a question about behavior and set out on a research strate
Method of Inquiry
Two Basic Methods of Inquiry
Naturalistic/Correlational Approach

Experimental/Laboratory Approach
Scientist observes some event and looks for concurrent variation in another event.

Scientist performs no manipulation of events.
Correlational Approach
Limitations to Correlational Approach
May not be able to specify direction of causality

Confounding variables
Scientist performs a manipulation of one event and looks for change in another event.

Eliminates confounding and question of direction of causality.
Experimental/Laboratory Approach
Limitations of Group Comparison Designs
Ethical concerns

Practical problems

Averaging of results/intersubject variability

Generality of findings

Cannot see individual response during treatment process
Requirements of Applied Behavior Analysis




Conceptually Systematic


Display Generality
ABA Reversal Design

Multiple-Baseline Designs
Across behaviors
Across settings
Across subjects

Alternating Treatments Design

Changing Criterion Design
Single-Subject Designs
What behaviors can we study?
Observable (directly or indirectly)



Physiological Recording
Self Report
Automatic Recording
Direct Measurement of Permanent Products
Observational Recording
Continuous recording
Event recording
Duration Recording
Interval Recording
Time Sampling
Observational Recording
Calculating Reliability
Number of Agreements
No. of Agreements + No. of Disagreements
Intervention targets

Intervention procedures

Intervention outcomes
Social Validation
Normative Comparison

Social Comparison

Subjective Judgment
Social Validation Methods
How do you alter Strength of an Operant (Increase)
Positive Reinforcement
Negative Reinforcement
How do you alter Strength of an Operant (decrease)
Punishment (by application or positive)
Punishment (by withdrawal or negative)
Rapid decrease in strength
Can reduce behavior below operant level
No burst
Temporal gradient of reinforcement

The number of reinforcements

The magnitude of the reinforcement

Establishing operations

Individual differences
Main Factors Affecting Consequence Effectiveness
Classification of a stimulus depending on its function.

The function of a stimulus is determined by the effect it has upon behavior

This is the only test that counts
Stimulus Functions
Produce new configurations of existing responses


Using These Contingencies
Method of reinforcement of successive approximations

Individual determines steps
Breaking complex behavior into smaller components

Teaching components one at a time in sequence

Trainer predetermines steps
Sd-> R <-SR+
Conditioned Reinforcement
any stimulus that marks the occasion where reinforcement will be presented or removed
Discriminative Stimulus
a response emitted in close conjunction with some SD that marks the occasion for reinforcement
Discriminated Operant
achieved via differential reinforcement
Stimulus control
Stimulus class
a group of stimuli sharing a property or properties
Response class: responses that share a property or properties
Response generalization
Schedules of Reinforcement
Continuous Reinforcement

Interval Schedules
-Fixed interval
-Variable interval

Ratio Schedules
Fixed ratio
Behavior Therapy vs. Traditional Psychotherapy
BT [] on behavior itself rather than underlying cause.

BT assumes that maladaptive behaviors are acquired through learning

BT assumes that psychological principles, especially learning principles, can be extremely effective in modifying maladaptive behavior.

BT sets specific, clearly defined treatment goals

BT rejects classical trait theory.

The behavior therapist adapts his/her method of treatment

BT [] on the here and now.

Behavior therapists place great value on empirical support for various techniques.
Lack of social responsiveness and behavior
Failure or delay to acquire language
Specific language anomalies
e.g., echolalia, idiosyncratic, neologisms, dysprosody
Circumscribed interests and behaviors
Ritualistic behaviors
Autistic Disorder
Uneven intellectual functioning

Normal physical development

Onset prior to age of 3 years

Lack of hallucinations or delusions
Associated Features of Autism
Most common forms are head-banging, self-hitting/slapping, self-biting, hair pulling.

Can range from slight bruising or redness to death

50-75 % of kids w autism engage in this
Self-Injurious Behavior (SIB)
Systematically manipulate environmental antecedents and consequences to determine function of operant

This tells us what is maintaining behavior

Can use this information to determine most likely effective intervention
Functional Analysis
Will a functional analysis identify a unique communicative function of echolalia for each child with autism?

Based on the findings of the functional analysis, will functional communication training replace echolalia with appropriate communicat
Research Questions
Components of Discrete Trial Training
Presenting Instructions and Questions
Child responds or fails to respond
Presenting Instructions and Questions:
Child attending
Easily discriminable
Short and consistent
Types of consequences
Manner of presenting consequences
Results of Early Behavioral Intervention
Initial demonstrations involved highly structured discrete trial format

Proved to be very effective in establishing a wide range of behaviors in these children

Provided basis for all behavioral treatments to follow

Can lead to substantial improvement in many children with autism
Problem Areas DTT
Lack of spontaneity
Robotic responding
Prompt dependency
Slow progress
Time consuming
Difficult to implement
Children and treatment provider may not like
Developed in response to needed improvements

Arose from a number of different laboratories

Called “incidental teaching,” “pivotal response
training,” “milieu treatment,” etc.

All share many of the same
Naturalistic Strategies
Useful when cannot specify maintaining consequences

Useful when the maintaining consequences may not be amenable to control

Useful if desire immediate behavior change
Manipulate Antecedent Stimuli
Remove antecedent

Alter antecedent

Introduce new antecedent
Manipulation of Antecedent Stimuli
Speech Dysfluency- manipulate via:
Manipulate via stimulus control

Manipulate via positive punishment (punishment by application)

Manipulate via negative punishment (punishment by withdrawal)

Manipulation via positive and negative reinforcement

Respondent pain
pain correlated with some antecedent stimulus (wound), this can evolve into
Operant pain:
pain that has lost its respondent components
Problems with Pharmacological Agents
May prove ineffective or minimally effective

Medication compliance

Monitoring therapeutic levels

Side effects – including sedation and toxicity
Problems with Neurosurgery and Electrical Stimulators
Severe epilepsy

Surgical risk

Cortical damage
Behavioral Procedures
Lower risk

Observation that learning and emotion may be important factors in seizures

Evidence that CNS electrophysiology and biochemistry may be manipulated by learning
Some emotional responses reciprocally inhibit each other meaning that they cannot occur at the same time

Anxiety/aggression, anxiety/sexual arousal, anxiety/relaxation


We can use this principle for treatment
Uses reciprocality and extinction

Based upon assumption that if CS is presented w/o US, the CR will extinguish

But fear is so strong person avoids exposure to CS so extinction does not occur
Have person experience an emotion th
Desensitization of Fears

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