PSYB45H3 Lecture Notes - Biathlon World Cup, Scatter Plot, Binge Eating

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Published on 7 Nov 2012
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB45H3
Chapter 13
“Understanding Problem Behaviors through Functional Assessment”
Functional assessment understand WHY the person engages in the behavior by determining the antecedent
events that evoke the behavior & reinforcing consequences that maintain it
o Always the first step in using behavior modification to increase a desirable beh & decrease or problem
behaviors
o process of gathering info about antecedents & consequences functionally related to the occurrence of a
problem beh I. Examples of Functional Assessment
1.1 JACOB
With Problem Behavior
With Treatment
Antecedent: Other kids play w/ Jacob’s toys
Behavior: Jacob bangs his head, whines, &
throws toys.
Con: The kids return Jacob’s toys to him.
OUTCOME: Jacob is more likely to engage in
head-banging, whining, & toy-throwing when
other children play w/ his toys.
Antecedent: Other kids play w/ Jacob’s toys
Behavior: Jacob asks for his toys back
Con: The kids return Jacob’s toys to him.
OUTCOME: Jacob is more likely to ask for his
toys back when other children play w/ his toys.
1.2 ANA
With Problem Behavior
With Treatment
Antecedent: Anna’s mother is not paying
attention to her.
Behavior: Anna hits, kicks, & screams
Con: Anna’s mother pay attention to her.
OUTCOME: Anna is more likely to hit, kick &
scream when her mother is not paying attention
to her
Antecedent: Anna’s mother is not paying
attention to her.
Behavior: Anna asks her mother for attention.
Con: Anna’s mother pay attention to her.
OUTCOME: Anna is more likely to asks for her
mother’s attention when her mother is not paying
attention to her at the time.
Note: When a child asks for attention as an alternative to the problem beh, the child may then ask for attention
so often that this beh itself becomes a problem.
SOLN: W/ each successive request for attention, the parents wait longer & longer before responding.
Eventually, the child asks less often.
II. Defining Functional Assessment
One basic principle of beh analysis is that beh is lawful. Regardless of whether the beh is desirable or
undesirable, its occurrence is controlled by environmental variables.
Functional Assessmentthe process of gathering info about the antecedents & con that are
functionally related to the occurrence of a prob beh
o Provides detailed info about antecedent stimuli (time & place of behavior, people present when
the behavior occurs, any environmental events immediately preceding the behavior & frequency
of target behavior).
This type of info on the 3 term contingency will help you to identify the antecedents that
have stimulus control over the beh & the reinforcing con that maintain the beh
o other types of info appropriate for developing appropriate treatments for problem behavior i.e.
existence of alternative behaviors that may be equivalent to problem behavior, motivational
variables, stimuli that may function as reinforcers for the person & history of previous treatments
& outcomes
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CATEGORIES OF INFO FROM A FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT
Problem behaviors: an objective description of the behaviors that make up the problem
Antecedents: an objective description of environmental events preceding the problem behavior, including
aspects of the physical environment and behavior of other people
Consequences: an objective description of environmental events that follow the problem behavior including
aspects of the physical environment and the behavior of other people
Alternative behaviors: info on desirable behaviors in the person’s repertoire that may be reinforced to compete
with the problem behavior
Motivational variables: info on environmental events that may function as establishing operations to influence
the effectiveness of reinforcers and punishers for the problem behaviors and alternative behaviors
Potential reinforcers: info on environmental eventsincluding physical stimuli and the behavior of other
peoplethat may function as reinforcers and be used in a treatment program
Previous interventions: info on the interventions that have been used in the past and their effects on the
problem behavior III. Functions of Problem Behaviors
Functions of Problem Behaviors 4 broad classes:
1) Social positive reinforcement: A positively reinforcing consequence is delivered by another person
after target behavior which involves attention, access to activities or tangibles by another person i.e.
Anna’s attention and Jacob’s toys(tangible)
These con make the beh more likely to occur
2) Social negative reinforcement: Another person terminates an aversive interaction/task/activity after
occurrence of target behavior
E.g. child who complains to his parent when asked to do a chore gets out of doing the chore
In each case, being allowed to escape from the chore or task strengthens or reinforces the
problem beh.
Another e.g. Asking a friend not to smoke in your car is vely reinforced by escape/ avoidance
of the smell of the smoke when the person puts out the cigarette or does not light in the 1st place.
3) Automatic positive reinforcement
In some cases, the reinforcing con of a target beh is not meditated by another person, but rather
occurs as an automatic con of the beh itself.
Reinforcing consequence of target behavior occurs as an automatic consequence of the behavior
itself
E.g. autism who spins objects, rocks in his seat, of flaps his fingers in front of his face(do it bc
the beh produce reinforcing sensory stimulation)
Going to the kitchen to get a drink is automatically +vely reinforced by getting the drink, VS
askin some1 else to get you a drink is socially +vely reinforced by getting the drink fr the other
person
4) Automatic negative reinforcement
Occurs when target behavior automatically reduces/eliminate aversive stimulus as consequence
of the behavior & the beh is strengthened
Doesn’t involve 3rd party, you do it for yourself.
E.g.. closing the window to block a cold draft(asking some1 to close it for u involves social ve
reinforcement), binge eating (has been found to be maintained by the reduction in unpleasant
emotional responses that were present b4 binge eating)
IV. Functional Assessment Methods
Functional Assessment Methods
1) INDIRECT ASSESSMENT METHODS/INFORMANT ASSESSMENT: info is gathered through interviews &
questionnaires from the person exhibiting the problem behavior or from others who know the person
well
a.k.a informant assessment methodsbc an informant(the client/others) is providing info in
response to assessment questions
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Document Summary

Behavior: jacob bangs his head, whines, & throws toys. Outcome: jacob is more likely to engage in head-banging, whining, & toy-throwing when other children play w/ his toys. Con: the kids return jacob"s toys to him. Outcome: jacob is more likely to ask for his toys back when other children play w/ his toys. Outcome: anna is more likely to hit, kick & scream when her mother is not paying attention to her. Antecedent: anna"s mother is not paying attention to her. Outcome: anna is more likely to asks for her mother"s attention when her mother is not paying attention to her at the time. Note: when a child asks for attention as an alternative to the problem beh, the child may then ask for attention so often that this beh itself becomes a problem. Soln: w/ each successive request for attention, the parents wait longer & longer before responding.