Study Guide For Chapter 1

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20 Jul 2010
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Chapter 1: Introduction
What is Behaviour?
- Behaviour modification is applicable to the entire range of human behaviour
- It is anything that a person says or does
- Getting an A in a course and losing weight are products of behaviour
- Overt behaviours
o Visible behaviour
o Can be observed and recorded by an individual other than the one performing the
- Covert Behaviour
o Private or internal
o These are activities that cannot be observed by others
o These are not behaviours done in private nor are they secretive actions
o These are activities that occur “within one’s skin” and therefore require special
instrument for others to observe
o For example, measuring someone’s heart rate before skating
- Private self talk
o Sometimes when we think and talk in private
o Referred to as overt behaviour as well as cognitive behaviours
- Dimensions of behaviour are characteristics of behaviour that can be measured
o Duration
! Is the length of time that it lasts
o Frequency
! Number of instances that occur in a given period of time
o Intensity or force
! Physical efforts or energy involved in emitting the behaviour
Disadvantages of labelling an Abnormal Behaviour
- Pseudoexplanation
o False explanation of behaviour such as diagnosing a child as dyslexic based on
little information
o Another name is circular reasoning
- Labels can negatively affect the way an individual is treated
- It may direct focus on individual’s problem behaviour rather than his/her strength
This book focuses on the importance of:
- Behaviour deficit
o Too little behaviour of a particular type
- Behaviour excesses
o Too much of a behaviour of a particular type
What is Behaviour Modification?
- Characteristics of Behaviour Modification
o First, its most important characteristic is its strong emphasis on defining problems
in terms of behaviour that can be measured in some way, and using changes in
the behavioural measure of the problem is being helped
o Second important characteristic is that its treatment procedures and techniques are
ways of altering an individual’s current environment to help the person function
more fully
! Environment
refers to the people, objects, and events currently present in one’s
immediate surroundings that impinge on one’s sense receptors and
that can affect behaviour
! Stimuli
Are people, objects, and events that make up a person’s
o Third characteristic is that its methods and rationales can be described precisely
! Using other people’s work to make theirs strong
o Fourth is that techniques of behaviour modification are often applied by
individuals in everyday life
! For example, family members or relatives helping modify behaviour
o Fifth is that techniques stem from basic and applied research
o Sixth it emphasizes scientific demonstration that a particular intervention was
responsible for a particular behaviour change
o Seventh it places high value on accountability for everyone involved in behaviour
modification programs
- Behaviour modification involves the systematic application of learning principles and
techniques to assess and improve individuals’ covert and overt behaviours in order to
enhance their functioning
Behavioural Assessment
- Target behaviour
o Behaviours to be improved in a behaviour modification program
- Behaviour assessment involves the collection and analysis of information and data in
order to:
o Identify and describe target behaviour
o Identify possible causes of behaviour
o Guide the selection of an appropriate behavioural treatment, and;
o Evaluate behavioural treatment
- Functional analysis is an approach that involves isolating through experimentation the
causes of problem behaviour and removing or reversing them
- Behaviour analysis
o Scientific study of laws that govern the behaviour of human beings and other
o Science of which behaviour modification is based
- Applied behaviour analysis
o An attempt to analyze or clearly demonstrate controlling variables of the
behaviour of concern
o Concentrate on overt behaviour that are of social and clinical significance
o And have strong emphasis on operant conditioning
- Behaviour therapy
o Behaviour modification carried out on dysfunctional behaviour
- Behaviour modification
o Encompass both behaviour therapy and applied behavioural analysis