Chapter 13:understanding problem behavior through functional analysis:
Functional assessment: determine the exact antecedent and the reinforcing
consequences that main a certain behavior. You try to answer why is this person engaging
in this particular behavior? It is always the first step in using behavior modification
procedures to decrease a problem behavior.
(Differential reinforcement: when a good behavior is done, you give reinforcement
while undesirable behavior is done you do not you use extinction. Often a child asks for
attention a lot. The best thing is when a child ask for attention wait for longer and longer
period of time before giving attention until no longer asked)
Defining functional assessment:
Main point is you are trying to determine why is this behavior occurring? So you gather
information about the antecedents, the reinforcing consequences that are functionally
related to the problem behavior. Any detail whether little or small can be used. These
include things like:
1) antecedents: anything that occurs before the behavior including things in the
environment and other people as well.
2) Consequences: description of thing that follow the behavior including
environment or other people
3) Alternative behavior: any desirable behavior in the person’s repertoire that can be
reinforced to compete with the problem behavior.
4) Motivational variable: Abolishing or establishing variable.
5) Potential reinforces: anything that could function as rein forcer during treatment
6) Any previous interventions: you want to get what and how effective it was.
Function of problem behavior:
Four classes of reinforcing consequences or function of problem behaviors are:
1) Social positive reinforcement: things like attention that is delieved by another
person that has a positive effect on you.
2) Social negative reinforcement: when a person terminates an aversive interaction,
task, or activity like asking mother to not to do chore.
3) Automatic positive reinforcement: occurs as automatic consequences of a
behavior like going to kitchen and you get food so its reinforced.
4) Automatic negative reinforcement: when a behavior reduces an aversive stimuli
(escape or avoidance) like closing the window so cold doesn’t come.
Functional assessment methods: Indirect methods: use interview, questions to gather information form the person
exhibiting the behavior or others who know the person well also known as the informant
method (the person exhibiting the behavior). Good: easy, many questionnaire are
available and do not take time to conduct. Bad: rely on memory. But still used the most
by psychologist because they are convenient. Usually you want objective information
(like when I told him to come he didn’t) rather then interpretation (i.e. he didn’t came
because he was mad). Goals: help you form a hypothesis as to what is causing this
undesirable behavior. Usually focuses on antecedents (anything that precede behavior and
consequences (what happen after the behavior). Because of relying on memory the best is
to use multiple functional assessment method like combine indirect with direct
observation to get a hypothesis
Direct observation method:
A person (self observer or someone else) observes and records the antecedent and
consequences each time the problem behavior occurs in natural setting.
ABC observation: another name for direct observation assessment. The mail goal is to
record immediate antecedents and consequences associated with a particular behavior
under normal conditions. Good: behavior recorded, as it occurs so no relying on
memories thus more accurate. Bad: time and energy and produces on correlation and
NOT a functional relationship (which can be only done through experimental methods)