What does behaviour mean?
External and internal behaviors
Our behaviour in everyday life occurs in the context of events that are external such as the
behaviour of other people or the weather in our environment, and internal, such as our
thoughts and physiological processes.
Applied behaviour analysis: the well-established and exciting approach to understand and
change people’s behaviour.
Behaviour: refers to anything a person does, typically because of internal or external events. EX:
behaviour change can be fairly simple sometimes: such as raising one’s hand when a teacher
asks a question, and sometimes it involves as sequence of actions as in making a sandwich.
The behaviours we’ve considered so far have been external or overt.—that is, open to view or
observation. Overt behaviours can be of two types: verbal or motor.
Verbal behaviours are actions that involve the use of language.
Motor behaviour are actions that involve body movement, without requiring the use of
Overt behaviours have been and continue to be the main focus of applied behaviour analysis.
Some behaviours are internal or covert, not viewable or openly shown, and are sometimes
called “private” events. (skinner), 1974) EX: if you team won or lost, your increased heart rate
would be covert.
Behaviour analysis focuses on overt behaviours is that they can be observed and measured
directly by another person.
Covert behaviours can be observed or felt by the person who is performing the bahviour and
must be measured either indirectly, perhaps thru verbal or written reports, or with special
equipment such as a device to measure heart rate.
What is Not behaviour?
We tend to focus on broad characteristics to describe a person’s behaviour because they
provide a convenient and efficient way of communicating a lot of information. EX: adjectives
don’t describe behaviour such as “smart”
Broad characteristics are imprecise- they don’t tell us specifically what we wud need to change
to improve a person’s behaviour. Hence the more precise we are in describing the behaviour to
be changed, the more successful we are likely to be in measuring and improving the behaviour.
In Clinical practice, therapists generally use diagnosis to classify clients. However the diagnoses
are similar to using traits: they do not indicate what specific behaviours need to be changed.
Outcomes of behaviours are not behaviours. EX: getting higher grades is not behaviour. It is the
outcome of the behaviour.
How behaviour develops
Inborn behaviours are called reflexes.> are inherited. Two reflexes: rooting reflex: baby turns head towards an object that lightly touches its cheek.
Sucking reflex: the baby starts to suck when its lips are touched with any small
rounded object such as nipple or finger.
all other behaviours develop after birth and their development depends on two process:
Heredity: affects behavioral development in at least two ways: charts the person’s maturation
or physical growth of the muscle and nervous systems. EX: in the earliest years, physical growth
is fastest in the head and upper body and spreading down the arms and legs later, that’s why
typical 3 year old can put on a pullover sweater but cannot tie their shoelaces.
Also inheritance influences the behaviour: stuttering
Experience: plays an important role and is usually the dominant factor in development of
behaviours. EX: happens through LEARNING.
How we Acquire and change behaviour
Learning: an internal process that applies to such a wide range of behaviours and people don’t
always display what they have learned. It is a durable change in behavioural potential as a result
Came about by Ivan Pavlov.
Respondent conditioning is a learning process in which a stimulus (the eventual CS) gains the
ability to elicit a response through repeated association with a stimulus (the US) that already
produces that response.
He concluded that the association between the stimuli, such as the sight of food, and the
salivary response must have been learned.
Unconditioned stimulus (CS)- an event that elicits a specific response automatically- and the
automatic response to that stimulus is called unconditioned response (UR)
Because you leaned the name- salivation association, the learned stimulus (the food’s name) is
called the Conditioned stimulus (CS).
The salivation elicited by the name of the food is called a conditioned response (CR).
Operant condition: it is the learning process by which behaviour changes because of its
consequences. The responses we acquire thru this type of learning are called operant
The term operate indicates that these behaviours operate on the environment, producing
Consequences in operant conditioning
Operant conditioning in B.F. Skinner, distinguished between behavioural consequences of two
types: reinforcement and punishment. Reinforcement: a consequence following behaviour strengthens- that behaviour, causing
performance of the behaviour to increase.
If performance of a behaviour increases when it is followed by a particular consequence, we can
conclude two things : reinforcement occurred and the consequence was reinforcing.
Punishment: A consequence following a behaviour leads to a decrease in performance of that
if performance of a behaviour decreases when it is followed by a particular consequence, we
can conclude that punishment occurred and the consequence served as a punisher.
The best way to determine whether an event punishes a behaviour is to observe the behaviour
over time: if it decreases when it is followed by the consequence, punishment has occurred.
Antecedents in operant conditioning
Behaviour is influenced not only by the consequences that follow it but also by the events and
circumstances that precede it. These cues are called Antecedents because they precede and set
the occasion for your action.
A (antecedents) B (behaviour)- c (consequences)
EX: being in a library or place of worship presents a very strong antecedent for certain
behaviours such as whispering rather than talking loudy.
Operant conditioning can influence virtually any behaviour, regardless of whether the behaviour
is verbal, or motor, overt or covert.
Relating respondent and operant conditioning
Respondent and operant condition two types of conditioning that are to some extent separate
and different, they almost always happen together in real life- one type flows into the other.
EX: 10 years old Tim ws in his room listening to a song he liked on the radio, which was plugged
in a wall outlet. His curiousity led him to stcik ovjects (an operant motor behaviour) into the
open outlet, which produced a painfull shock to his hand (punishment for his behaviour). F