FRHD 3150 Study Guide - Final Guide: Data Collection System, Binge Eating, Banana Split

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Chapter 26
Helping an Individual to Develop Self-Control
Many problems of self-control involve self-restraint—learning to decrease excessive behaviors that have
immediate gratification
Other problems of self-control require behavioral change in the opposite direction—responses that
need to be increased—such as studying, exercising, being assertive, and performing household chores.
Some believe willpower is responsible for overcoming such problems
It is more useful to look at how problems of self-control stem from differences between effective versus
ineffective consequences of a behavior.
= Model for self-control
self-control programs (self-management or self-modification) proceed through five basic steps.
- a strategy for using principles of behavior analysis to change or control one’s own behavior
Causes of Self-Control Problems
- Problems of Behavioural Excesses
- doing too much of something
- overeating
- all lead to immediate gratification
- even though excesses might lead to negative consequences – doesn’t usually matter
Why?
1. Immediate Reinforcers Versus Delayed Punishers for a Behavior
- a teenager wants to go out with friends but still has homework. When the parents ask about the
homework, the teenager lies
- lying is immediately reinforced. The lie is not discovered until
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- the immediate backslapping and laughter of friends after someone “chugs” a pitcher of beer may
override the delayed punishing consequences of a hangover
2. Immediate Reinforcers Versus Cumulatively Significant Punishers for a behavior
problem of overeating, resulting in obesity and health problems.
- eating an extra dessert is immediately reinforced
-seeing/realizing the negative effects - is delayed
- plus the immediate negative effects (the fat and carbs from one meal) are not considered a problem on
their own – only when they accumulate are they a problem
- it is the accumulation of overeating on numerous occasions that causes problems
- the negative effect of a single cigarette is too small to counteract the immediate highly positively
reinforcing effects of nicotine
- Rather, it is the accumulation of the effects of hundreds of cigarettes that eventually results in serious
diseases
Thus, for many self-control problems, the immediate reinforcement for consumption of harmful
substances wins out over the unnoticeable immediate negative effects that are only cumulatively
significant
3. Immediate Reinforcers for Problem Behavior Versus Delayed Reinforcers for Alternative
Desirable Behavior
For self-control problems involving a choice between two alternative behaviors, both with positive
outcomes, the one that produces the immediate reinforcer often wins out
- Do you watch the movie now and receive a low grade on the exam later, or do you study for 3 hours and
receive a higher grade later?
- or: receive a large Christmas bonus from the company. Will the worker spend the bonus on something
that is immediately pleasurable, like a ski trip, or invest it in a tax-free retirement fund?
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Problems Of behavioural Deficits
Self-control problem: responses that need to be increased, such as flossing your teeth, and exercising
regularly
- these behaviours lead to small immediate punishers (?) I suppose
HOW COME?
1. Immediate Small Punishers for a Behavior Versus Cumulatively Significant Reinforcers
- for nonexercisers, an initial exercising session can be quite unpleasant
- Even though an instance of exercising may have immediate benefits (increased muscular strength)
- such outcomes are generally too small to be noticed
- it is the accumulation of the benefits of exercising on numerous occasions that is eventually noticeable
- they stop exercising because they don’t see results fast enough
SO = small immediate punishers vs delayed reinforcers
2. Immediate Small Punisher for a Behavior Versus Immediate but Improbable Major Punisher If
the Behavior Does Not Occur
wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle could prevent brain damage
- why don’t people wear them then
1st - such precautions usually lead to immediate mild punishers
- may be hot and uncomfortable
2nd - although the major aversive events that could result from not performing these safety behaviors
would be immediate, they are improbable.
- according to the laws of probability, however
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