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Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 1: Introduction to behavior modification
Defining human behavior
Behavior is what people do and say. It involves a persons actions, it is described with
action verbs.
Have one or more physical dimensions that can be measured.
-frequency (count the number of times a behavior occurs)
-duration (the time the behavior starts until it stops)
-intensity or physical force (example: Garth bench-pressed 220 pounds)
It can be observed, described and recorded by other or by the person engaging in the
It has an impact on the environment, including the physical or the social environment
(other people and ourselves).
-You turn the light switch and the light goes on (physical environment)
-You raise your hand in class and your professor calls on you (an effect on other
-You recite a phone number from the phone book and youre more likely to
remember it (an effect on yourself)
Behavior is lawful, its occurrence is systematically influenced by environmental events.
Basic behavioral principles describe the functional relationships between our behavior and
environmental events. Once you understand the events in the environmental events that cause
behaviors to occur, you can change the events in the environment to alter behavior.
Behavior may be overt or covert.
-Overt behavior is an action that can be observed and recorded by a person other
than the one engaging in the behavior.
-Covert behavior is an action that is not observable to others. (example: thinking
can be observed only by the person engaging in the behavior)
Defining behavior modification
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Behavior modification is the field of psychology concerned with analyzing modifying
human behavior.
Analyzing means identifying the functional relationship between environmental events
and a particular behavior to understand the reasons for behavior or to determine why a
person behaved as he or she did.
Modifying means developing and implementing procedures to help people change their
Characteristics of behavior modification
Focus on behavior. Behavior modification procedures are designed to change behavior,
not a personal characteristic or trait. In behavior modification, the behavior to be
modified is called the target behavior.
-Behavioral excess is an undesirable target behavior the person wants to decrease
in frequency, duration or intensity. (i.e smoking)
-Behavioral deficit is a desirable target behavior the person wants to increase in
frequency, duration, or intensity. (i.e studying, exercising)
Procedures based on behavioral principles. Behavior modification procedures are
based on research in applied behavior analysis that has been conducted for more than 40
Emphasis on current environmental events. Behavior modification involves assessing
and modifying the current environmental events that are functionally related to the
behavior. Sometimes labels are mistakenly identified as the causes of behavior.
Precise description of behavior modification procedures. Behavior modification
procedures involve specific changes in environmental events that are functionally related
to the behavior.
Treatment implemented by people in everyday life. Behavior modification procedures
are developed by professionals or paraprofessionals trained in behavior modification.
However, procedures are implemented by people such as parents, job supervisors, or
others to help people change their behavior.
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