PSYB45H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-12: B. F. Skinner, Edward Thorndike, Little Albert Experiment

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27 Jun 2011

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Behaviour Modification - Lecture 2 Notes
Chapter 1
Behaviour Modification: the field of psychology concerned with analyzing (measure
and understand the behaviour) and modifying (implement principles and procedures
to affect the behaviour) human behaviour.
Used commonly in children and adolescents with developmental disabilities
Characteristics of Behaviour Modification
1.Focuses on behavioural excesses or deficits
2.Based on basic behavioural principles
3.Emphasis on current environmental events - in the current we can be correct with
our measurements of behaviour modification. Relying on past memories, leads to
faulty results. (antecedents and consequences) wanting to understand a given
phenomenon as something that occurs in the present. Behaviour modification is
justifiable, scientifically backed and can undergo scrutiny contrary to Freudian
theories. If it isnt justifiable, it isnt behaviour modification. ABCs of behaviour =
Antecedent proceeding behaviour; Behaviour that does or doesnt take place;
Consequences (immediate)
4.Procedures are clearly described
5.Measurement of behaviour change ( immediate and long term)
6.No emphasis on the past
7.Rejection of underlying causes (explanatory fictions and medical model vs.
behavioural model)
8.Treatment implemented by people in everyday life
Common Misconceptions about Behaviour Modification
Relies on punishment
Uses bribes
Ignores the real causes of behaviour, just treats the symptoms
Leads to people controlling each other
Ruins intrinsic motivation
Makes people dependent on external incentives
Dehumanizes people
Behaviour modification only works with kids and developmentally challenged
What is behaviour?
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Behaviour is what people say and do
Involves the activity of an organism at any level (muscular, glandular and electrical
Behaviour is not static
It involves actions and not a label or state e.g. being angry=state; yelling at
Refers to the process and not the product
Characteristics of Behaviour
It can be observed, described and recorded
Has impact on environment ( physical and social)
Involves physical dimensions Jake the runner
Behaviour is lawful functional relationship between the environment and
May be overt (an action that can be observed and recorded) or covert (private events,
not observable to others)
Dimensions of Behaviour
Duration: length of time the behaviour lasts
Frequency: number of times the behaviour occurs
Intensity: the force at which the behaviour occurs
Historical Roots
Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936): introduced conditioned reflex, respondent conditioning aka.
Classical conditioning
Edward Thorndike (1874-1949): introduced the Law of Effect a behaviour that
produces a favourable effect on the environment is more likely to be repeated in the
future operant conditioning
John Watson (1878-1958): Behaviour is controlled by the environment; stimulus
response psychology; Father of Behaviourism; Little Albert experiments (instilled
fear in subject that was naïve to different aspects of the environment; gong would be
struck as baby attempted to touch an object). Watson conveyed that fear is taught,
not heritable.
B.F Skinner(1904-1990): Advanced Behaviourism; Discriminated between
Respondant and Operant conditioning; Basic principles of Operant Behaviour;
Father of Behaviour Modification
Areas of Application
Developmental disabilities
Mental illness
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Education and Special Education
Community psychology
Clinical/counseling psychology
Chapter 2
Behavioural Assessment: measurement of target behaviour (or behaviours) in behaviour
Behavioural Assessment is important because of:
Measuring the behaviour before treatment provides info that can help you determine
whether treatment is necessary
Behavioural assessment can provide information that helps you choose the best
Measuring the target behaviour before and after treatment allows you to determine
whether the behaviour changed after the treatment was implemented
Types of Behavioural Assessment
Indirect: interviews, questionnaires and rating scales to obtain info on the target
behaviour from the person exhibiting the behaviour or from others
Direct: observation and recording in vivo current a person observes and records
the target behaviour as it occurs. To observe the target behaviour, the observer must
be in close proximity to the person exhibiting
Differences: accuracy and objectivity direct is more accurate than indirect. In
direct, the observer is trained specifically to observe the target behaviour and record
its occurrence immediately.
In indirect assessment, information on the target behaviour depends on peoples
Most research relies on direct assessment
Recording a Behaviour
1.Define the target behaviour - Identify what exactly a person does or says that
constitutes a behavioural deficit or excess.
2. Identify who, when, and where to record (the logistics of recording) requires
proximity (in person or videotaping).
The target behaviour(s) are typically recorded by someone other than the one
engaging in the behaviour.
The observer must be close to the client to observe the target behaviour. The
person must have time and be willing to observe.
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