PSYB45H3 Lecture Notes - Little Albert Experiment

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27 Apr 2012
Chapter 1: Introduction to Behavior Modification
Behavior – what people do & say
Characteristics of Behavior:
▪ Involves actions not labels
▪ Involves physical dimensions (frequency, duration, intensity)
▪ Refers to the process (studying effectively) not the product (getting an A in the course)
▪ Can be observed, described, and recorded
▪ Has an impact on the environment (physical or social)
▪ It’s lawful (functional relationship b/w behavior & the environment)
▪ May be Overt (observable) or Covert (not-observable)
Dimensions – aspects of behaviors that can be measured (frequency, intensity, duration)
▪ Frequency – the number of times a behavior occurs
▪ Duration – how long the behavior lasts
▪ Intensity – the physical force involved in the behavior (e.g. Bench pressing 200 lbs)
Overt Behavior – an action that can be observed & recorded by a person other than the one
engaging in the behavior
Covert Behavior – behaviors not observable to others; private events (e.g. thinking)
Behavior Modification – field of psychology concerned with analyzing and modifying
human behavior (used for changing problem behaviors, but cannot change personality traits
such as autism)
Characteristics of Behavior Modification:
Focuses on behavioral excesses or deficits
Based on basic behavioral principles
Emphasis on current environmental events (antecedents & consequences)
Procedures are clearly described
Measurement of behavior change (immediate & long-term)
No emphasis on the past
Rejection of underlying causes (explanatory fictions; medical vs. behavioral model)
Treatment implanted by people in everyday life
Target Behavior – the behavior that is being modified
Behavior Excesstoo much of an undesirable target behavior & the person wants to
decrease it in frequency, duration, or intensity (e.g. smoking)
Behavioral Deficit – not enough of a desirable target behavior & the person wants to increase it
in frequency, duration, or intensity (e.g. studying or exercise)
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Historical Roots:
(1) Ivan Pavlov
Through experimentation he introduced:
- Conditioned reflex
- Respondant conditioning (aka. Classical Conditioning)
(2) Edward Thorndike
Law of Effect: a behavior that produces a favorable effect on the environment is more likely
to be repeated in the future (animal intelligence)
(3) John Watson - Behavior is only controlled by the environment
- Stimulus response psychology
- Little Albert experiments
- Father of Behaviorism
(4) B.F. Skinner - Advanced Behaviorism
- Discriminated b/w Respondant & Operant conditioning
- Basic principles of Operant Behavior
- Father of Behavior Modification
Areas of Application:
- Developmental disabilities - Rehabilitation
- Mental illness - Community Psychology
- Education & Special Education - Clinical/counseling psychology
- Business & Industry - Self-Mgmt
- Child Mgmt/Parenting - Prevention
- Sports - Health psychology & behavioral medicine
- Gerontology (the study of aging)
Experimental Analysis of Behavior – the scientific study of behavior or behavior analysis
Applied Behavior Analysis – the scientific study of human behavior
Controlling Variablesevents in the environment that affect behavior
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Chapter 2: Observing & Recording Behavior
Behavioral Assessment – measurement of the target behavior(s) in behavior modification
Indirect Assessment – using interviews, questionnaires & rating scales to obtain information
on the target behavior from the person exhibiting the behavior or from others (e.g. parents,
teachers, or staff)
Direct Assessment – a person observes and records the target behavior as it occurs
Interobserver Reliability (IOR) – refers to the degree of consistency b/w 2 or more independent
observers of a target behavior during the same observation period
[80% consistency= minimally acceptable… 90% consistency = ideal]
Self-Monitoring – when the client observes and records their own target behavior
Observation Period – the period in which the observer records the target behavior (when the
target behavior is most likely to occur)
▪ Natural Setting – consists of the places in which the target behavior typically occurs
▪ Contrived Setting – observing a target behavior in a clinic playroom (factors that
influence behavior are easier to manipulate)
▪ Structured – when the observer arranges for specific events to occur during the observation period
(i.e. when observing a child, asking parent to do something to spark a reaction out of the child)
▪ Unstructured – no events are planned or instructions given during the observation period
Methods/Procedures of Recording:
(1) Continuous Recording – observer observes client continuously throughout the
observation period & records each occurrence of the behavior
(2) Product Recording – an indirect approach, which is used when a behavior results in
a certain tangible outcome you’re interested in (e.g. teacher measures # of completed
homework problems as a product measure of students’ academic performance)
(3) Interval Recording splitting the time period into small intervals of time, and
observing whether the behavior occurred or didn’t occur during each interval of time
(Partial interval = Stuart’s yelling vs. Whole interval = Stuart’s studying)
(4) Time-Sample Recording – you divide observation period into intervals of time, but
you observe and record the behavior during only part of each interval. The observation
periods are separated by periods without observation (i.e. you may record the behavior for
only 1-minute during each 15-minute interval… discontinuous recording)
Other approaches:
- Golf stroker counter
- Stopwatch (cumulative duration)
- Coin Transfer
**regardless of which method is chosen, should be practical and if possible, conspicuous
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