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Chapter 1- Introduction to Behaviour Modification
-principles and procedures used to understand and change human behaviour
-between behaviour and change
oex. Francisco was gaining a lot of weight, decided to do something. Joined weight
loss plan, he deposited a certain amount of money. He made a daily plan and if he
reached the target then he’d get his deposit back if he didn’t they would take away
some of his money as a result he lost weight.
Defining Human Behaviour
-Characteristics that define behaviour; 1. Behaviour; what people do and say, involves a
person’s actions. Saying someone is angry isn’t a behaviour but labelling a behaviour,
what the person does because of that ex what person does cause he/she is angry is called
-2. Dimensions of Behaviour; there are three dimensions; 1. Duration= time or instance
from which the behaviour starts to stops. 2. Frequency= how often the behaviour occurs.
3. Intensity= physical force involved in the behaviour ex. Bench pressing or doing push
-3. Behaviours can be observed (action therefore can be observed), described and recorded
(if observed hence seen can be described, and record its occurrence) by others or person
engaged in behaviour.
-4. Behaviours have impact on the environment; social and physical. Behaviour is an
action which involves movement through space and time. Physically the occurrence of a
behaviour impacts environment (ex. Turning light switch on and off, raising hand in class
hence teacher picks on you, recite phone number likely you will dial the right number).
-5. Behaviour is Lawful; occurrence influenced by environment, behaviour occurs as a
function of environmental events. Basic principle is the environment causes the
behaviour, and to change behaviour you have to alter environmental events
-6. Behaviours can Overt or Covert; overt- behaviour that can be observed or recorded that
can be seen by others. Covert (private events)= not observable to others ex. Thinking.
Defining Behaviour Modification
-Behaviour modification is the field of psychology concerned with analyzing and
modifying human behaviour.
oAnalyzing- identifying functional relationship between environment and
behaviour to understand reason for behaviour or to determine why person
behaved the way they did
oModifying- developing and implementing procedures to help people change their
behaviour which include altering environmental events to influence behaviour.
Developed by professionals to change socially significant behaviours.
Characteristics of Behaviour Modification
-Focus on Behaviour; DEEMPHASIZES labelling focuses on changing behaviour not on
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oBehaviour modification not used to change a label but the behaviour associated
with a label (ex. Angry). Behaviour to be modified is called target behaviour,
therefore behavioural excess is an undesirable target which a person wants to
decrease in frequency, duration, and intensity (ex. Smoking) and behavioural
deficit to increase.
-Procedures based on behavioural principles; the basic principles are derived from
experimental research on animals.
oExperimental Analysis of Behaviour or Behaviour Analysis- scientific study of
oExperimental Analysis of Human Behaviour or Applied Behaviour Analysis-
scientific study of human behaviour
oProcedures used in behaviour modification is based on research in applied
behaviour analysis for over 40 years
-Emphasis on Current Environmental Events; involves modifying and assessing current
environmental events related to behaviour. Goal of behaviour modification is to identify
the immediate events that control human behaviour.
oOnce controlling variables have been identified those are altered to change
oSuccessful behaviour modification results in changing the functional relationship
between behaviour and controlling variables in the environment to produce
-Precise Description of Behaviour Modification Procedures; procedures involve specific
changes in environmental events. For it to be successful the specific changes must occur
each time ( this is done by describing procedures precisely, it increases the likelihood that
correct procedure will be used)
-Treatment Implemented by People in Everyday Life; implemented by teachers, parents,
job supervisors, or others to help people change their behaviour. These people should
only implement after successful training; have professional supervision, and precise
-Measurement of Behavioural Change; one of the main rules is to measure behaviour
before and after implementing to see change resulting from behaviour modification
procedure. Also ongoing assessment even after implementation to determine whether
behavioural change is maintained in long run.
-De-emphasis on Past Events as Causes of Behaviours; along with recent environmental
events as causes of behaviour, past may also provide useful information about
environmental events connected to current behaviour. Thus understanding learning
experiences can help in determining best behaviour modification procedure. However
current controlling variables most important because since it is in present we can still
-Rejection of Hypothetical Underlying Causes of Behaviour; behaviour modification
rejects hypothetical approaches because they are “explanatory fictions” can’t be proved
or disproved therefore unscientific; can’t be measured or manipulated.
Historical Roots of Behaviour Modification
-Major Figures on which behaviour modification is based
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