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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Course Code
Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 1
Introduction to Behavior Modification
Defining Behavior
Human behavior is the subject matter of behavior modification
Behavior is what people do and say
oDescribed with action verbs
oNot a static characteristic of a person
oEx. Jennifer screamed at her mother, ran upstairs, and
slammed the door to her room behavior that may be labeled as
Behaviors have one or more dimensions that can be measured
oYou can measure the frequency of behavior count the number
of times a behavior occurs
oYou can measure duration of behavior the time from when an
instance of the behavior starts until it stops
oYou can measure intensity of behavior
o*All three are physical dimensions of a behavior
Behaviors can be observed, described, and recorded by others or by the
person engaging in the behavior
Behaviors have an impact on the environment, including the physical
or the social environment
Behavior is lawful; its occurrence is systematically influenced by
environmental events
oBasic behavioral principles describe how our behavior is
influenced by, or occurs as a function of, environmental events
they are building blocks of behavior modification procedures
oEx. Disruptive behavior is functionally related to the level of
teacher attention
Behaviors may be overt or covert
oMost often, behavior modification procedures are used to
understand and change overt behaviors
oOvert behavior an action that can be observed and recorded
by a person other than the one engaging in the behavior
oCovert behaviors also called private events; are not
observable to others; ex. Thinking
oThe field of behavior modification focuses primarily on overt or
observable behaviors
Defining Behavior Modification

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Behavior modification the field of psychology concerned with
analyzing and modifying human behavior
oAnalyzing 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
oModifying means developing and implementing procedures to
help people change their behavior involves altering
environmental events so as to influence behavior; goal of
improving some aspect of a persons life
Characteristics of Behavior Modification
Focus on behavior
oBehavior modification procedures are designed to change
behavior, not a personal characteristic or trait
oDeemphasizes labeling
oBehaviors to be modified is called the target behavior
oA behavioral excess is an undesirable target behavior the
person wants to decrease in frequency, duration, or intensity; ex.
oA behavioral deficit is a desirable target behavior the person
wants to increase in frequency, duration, or intensity; ex.
Studying, exercise
Procedures based on behavioral principles
oApplication of basic principles originally derived from
experimental research with laboratory animals
oThe scientific study of behavior is called the experimental
analysis of behavior/behavior analysis
oThe scientific study of human behavior is called the
experimental analysis or human behavior or applied behavior
Emphasis on current environmental events
oAssessing and modifying the current environmental events that
are functionally relate to the behavior
oHuman behavior is controlled by events in the immediate
environment, and the goal of behavior modification is to identify
those events
oOnce these controlling variables have been identified, they
are altered to modify the behavior
oSometimes labels are mistakenly identified as the causes of
behavior; ex. Autism
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