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A complex behavior consisting of many component behaviors that occur together in a sequence
is called behavioral chain.
You can engage in a particular behavior in the sequence only if the previous behavior in the
sequence has been completed.
Each component behavior in the chain depends on the occurrence of the previous behavior.
Analyzing stimulus response chains
A behavioral chanin is often called stimulus response chain. Each behavior or response in the
chain produces a stimulus change that acts as an DS for the next response in the chain. Each
response creates the stimulus situation that is the DS for the next response.
Each subsequent response in the chain occurs because the previous response created the DS
that has stimulus control over that response.
We can make the outcome of the chain more reinforcing by means of establishing operation.
Establishing operations increases the likelihood that you will start the behavior chain.
The process of analyzing a behavioral chain by breaking it down into its individual stimulus-
response components is called a task analysis. The first step is to indentify all the behaviors that
are necessary to perform the task, then identify the DS associated with each behavior, you
must have detailed task analysis that gives you an accurate understanding of each stimulus
response component. A task analysis to identify the right sequence of behaviors in a chain may
be conducted in various ways.
-observe a competent person engage in the task
-ask an expert
-perform the task yourself and record each of the component responses
If the learner is having difficulty with a certain behavior in the chain, it might help to break
down the behavior into 2 or more component behaviors. However if the learner can master
large units of behavior, 2 or more component behaviors can be combined into 1.
The only way to determining whether you have correct number of steps is to determine how
well the task analysis works for a particular learner.
Once the task analysis for a complex skill has been developed, the next step is to choose a
strategy for teaching the skill. Strategies for teaching complex tasks are called chain
procedures. Chaining procedures involve the systematic application of prompting and fading
strategies. Different chaining procedures:
1. Backward chaining: an intensive training procedure typically used with learners with
limited abilities. Use prompting and fading to teach the last behavior in the chain first.
Starting with the last behavior in the chain, on every learning trial. This continues until
the learner can exhibit the whole chain of behaviors when presented with the first DS
without any prompts. You always use the least intrusive prompt necessary to get the
behavior to occur.
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