PSYB45: Behaviour Modification
Lecture 1 Jan 11 , 2012
What is a behaviour?
Behaviours can be internal – we can be enacting behaviour that no one else can see (examples are in
slide 2). Behaviours are internal or external responses to internal or external events. Looking sleepy is
not a behaviour it’s an adjective – it means something different to everything else, the behavioural
aspects of it would be posture, drooping eyes, yawning, moving slowly etc. Looking sleepy is subjective
but yawning is objective. Similarly, planning a party is not a behaviour – it is a series of behaviours.
Planning a party is a broad overview being respectful is a trait, it does not describe behaviour
therefore, “acted respectfully” is not a behaviour
A trait is how someone acted in general over time (Ex. meticulous) When you see something ending in
a “y” it’s not a behaviour.
Covert vs. Overt behaviour covert is on the inside, overt (outside) behaviour involves the physical
body. Ex. of a covert behaviour would be thoughts, emotions,
You can break overt behaviour into two categories – motor and verbal. An example of motor behaviour
would be waving hello. Doing a crossword puzzle, writing a paragraph would be a a combination of
verbal and motor.
Volitional vs. Involitional volitional means voluntary, heart rate increasing is involitional (automatic).
What is Not a Behaviour?
Traits a personality characteristic
Diagnosis if you say someone has social phobia, social phobia is not a behaviour . The behaviour
would be having a panic attack when around other people, they avoid crowds etc.
An outcome of a behaviour is not a behaviour, ex. getting better grades isn’t a behaviour, studying 3
days a week would be a behaviour
Behaviours don’t imply motivation or intent
Analysis and modification = same thing
Defining people by behaviors (not diagnosis, traits, etc.)
Focus on overt, measureable behaviors techniques we use work best on overt behaviours
3 main parts of behaviour modification
o Involves target behaviors, analysis, and data gathering Changing environment Involves altering aspects of the environment to increase or decrease
behaviors largely through operant methods
o Environmental controls
MIshel None of us really have personality – it’s something we just say that we have to make ourselves
Behaviour isn’t only a product of the environment – some behaviour is inborn
Lecture 2 Jan 18 , 2012
The first step to changing behaviour is to identify the target behaviour. So in the first case example, the
target behaviour would be reduce hair pulling. For the second case example, one target behaviour
would be increase exercise, and the other would be decrease emotional eating. So target behaviours are
just the behaviour you want to change.
You have to measure these target behaviours indirectly, so to measure Stan’s target behaviour you
assess the frequency of his air pulling. Or count the number of hairs.
To measure emotional eating, you can ask them to record what they eat, how frequency of how often
they sit down and eat, and the amount of junk food they eat. For exercise, you can see how long she
worked out for, the intensity of the work out 9ex. how many miles she ran, how many weights did she
lift), or the frequency of her work outs (how often she worked out)
Frequency – how often
Duration - time, how many minutes
Magnitude = intensity, degree or size ( how many calories you ate etc.) use a scale (rate from 0-
10 on how you’re feeling today)
Latency – the time lag the time b/w when something happens until when the behaviour
happens. The time b/w the antecedent and the behaviour. If your target is to get out of bed
when the goes off, you can measure the time b/w when the alarm goes off and when you
actually get out of bed.
Quality: how good you’re doing compared to a standard ex. grades
Trials-to-criterion: how many times (trials did you need) till you achieved the target behaviour
Percentage – how many times it occurred / how many times it could have occurred x 100
So far we’ve identified the target and collected data – the first two steps in behaviour modification.
This is just a fancy term of looking at the antecedents and the consequences. We’re gonna see how our
target behaviours are target behaviours. Antecedent = something that occurs before the target and is
linked to it in some way. Consequence = something that happens after the behaviour. So we want to basically see what comes right before or right ater the behaviour – when you don’t do ti, you tend to
make things work. We learn this by trial and error
Direct Assessment Methods
Literally in the moment, you’re watching someone’s behaviour as they do it. Ex. videotape them,
observe them trough one way glass. A school teacher might monitor what happens right before a
student gets into a fight in recess.
An unstructured descriptive assessment is a naturalistic way of observing people, you don’t tell them
you’re watching them, you just observe them in their naturalistic way. You don’t interfere in anyway,
and you just observe their
Structured descriptive assessment would be like setting up a test se