PSYB45H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-14: Classical Conditioning, Token Economy, Conditioned Taste Aversion

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Published on 2 Mar 2016
PSYB45 – Behaviour Modification
Chap. I – Intro
Behaviour: Anything a person says or does, it is any muscular, glandular, or electrical activity of an organism
Getting an A or losing 10 lbs. is not behaviour it is a product of behaviour. The behaviour that produces
an A is studying effectively & the behaviours that lead to weight loss are resisting overeating or exercising
Overt (visible) behaviours that could be observed & recorded by an individual other than the one
performing the behaviour, ex. walking, talking out loud
Covert (private, internal) activities that cannot be readily observed by others
oActivities that occur “within one’s skin” & that therefore require special instruments or procedures
for others to observe
oEx. Just before stepping onto the ice at an important competition, a figure skater might think, “I
hope I don’t fall,” & he is likely to feel nervous (heart rate) Thinking & feeling are private
Imagining & private self-talk, in addition to being called covert behaviours are referred to
as cognitive behaviours
Characteristics of behaviour that can be measured are called dimensions of behaviour. The duration of a
behaviour is the length of time that it lasts (ex. Mary studied for 1 hr). The frequency of a behaviour is a
number of instances that occur in a given period of time (Frank planted 5 tomato plants in his garden in 30
minutes). The intensity or force of a behavior refers to the physical effort or energy involved in emitting the
behavior (ex. Mary has a strong grip when shaking hands)
Behavioral deficits: too little behavior of a particular type, ex. a child doesn’t pronounce words clearly &
doesn’t interact w/ other children
Behavioral excesses: too much of a particular type, ex. a child frequently gets out of bed & throws
tantrums at bedtime, throws food on the floor
Behavior modification: Systematic application of learning principles & techniques to assess & improve
individuals’ covert & overt behaviors in order to enhance their daily functioning
1. Its strong emphasis on defining problems in terms of behavior that can be measured in some way & using
changes in the behavioral measure of the problem as the best indicator of the extent to which the problem is
being helped
2. Its treatment procedures & techniques are ways of altering an individual’s current environment to help that
individual function more fully. The physical variables that make up a person’s environment are called stimuli
a. Stimuli: people, objects & events currently present in one’s immediate surroundings that impinge on
one’s sense receptors & that can affect behavior, ex. The teacher & students in a classroom are all
potential stimuli in a student’s environment in a classroom setting
3. Its methods & rationales can be described precisely
4. The techniques of behavior modification are often applied by individuals in everyday life
5. The techniques stem from basic & applied research in the science of learning in general, & the principles of
operant & Pavlovian conditioning in particular
6. Behavior modification emphasizes scientific demonstration that a particular intervention or treatment was
responsible for a particular behavior change
7. It places high value on accountability for everyone involved in behavior modification programs
Behaviors to be improved in a behavior modification program are called target behaviors, ex. If a uni student sets a
goal of studying 2 hrs. out of class for each hr. spent in class, studying is the target behavior
Behavioral assessment: involves the collection and analysis of information and data in order to
1. Identify & describe target behaviors
2. Identify possible causes of the behavior
3. Guide the selection of an appropriate behavioral treatment
4. Evaluate treatment outcome
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Ex. functional analysis: involves isolating through experimentation the causes of problem behavior & removing or
reversing them
Behavior analysis: Scientific study of the laws that govern the behavior of human beings
Pavlovian Conditioning & Early Behavior Therapy
Russian psychologist, Pavlov, demonstrated w/ a dog that pairing a stimulus such as a bell w/ food (which
caused salivation) taught the dog to salivate to the bell alone
Chap. 2 - Areas of Application
Parenting: Behavioral techniques can be applied to help promote behaviors, ex. Learning to walk, effective
toilet training
oCan also be applied to decrease problem behaviors, ex. temper tantrums
Developmental disabilities
oAutism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs): Intensive behavioral interventions are often quite effective
when working w/ children w/ autism, to help promote pro-social behaviors, help develop language
Behavior Therapy & Cognitive Behavior Therapy
oWorking w/ a wide range of clinical disorders, incl. anxiety disorders (ex. phobias, OCD) &
depressive disorders
Self-management of personal problems
oSkills can be learned to successfully modify your own behaviors, ex. study skills, exercise
programs, healthy eating, sleeping habits
Medical & Health Care
oHealth psychologists make use of behavioral principles in numerous areas of h/c & w/ different
medical popn, ex. Promoting treatment adherence, stress management, promoting exercise &
healthy diet
Chap. 3 – Respondent (Classical, Pavlovian) Conditioning of Reflexive Behavior
Respondent Conditioning: Behaviors elicited by prior stimuli & are not affected by their consequences.
Ex. include salivating when smelling dinner cooking, feeling frightened when watching a scary movie
No production of a new behaviour
Getting an existing behaviour to occur, to different stimuli
Involves reflexive behaviour (unlearned)
Learning of new stimulus-response connections, by pairing of stimuli
Principle of respondent conditioning: A neutral stimulus followed closely in time by an US that elicits an
UR will then also tend to elicit that same response in time (thereby becoming a CS)
Unconditioned reflex: A stimulus–response relationship in which a stimulus automatically elicits a response apart
from any prior learning. Unconditioned reflexes are “hard wired” or inborn.
A stimulus that elicits a response without prior learning or conditioning is called an unconditioned stimulus (US)
A response elicited by an unconditioned stimulus is called an unconditioned response (UR). An unconditioned
reflex consists of a US & a UR
Conditioned reflex: A stimulus–response relationship in which a stimulus elicits a response b/c of prior respondent
The stimulus in a conditioned reflex is called a conditioned stimulus (CS; ex. the opening motif of
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony), defined as a stimulus that elicits a response b/c that stimulus has been paired
w/ another stimulus that elicits that response. The response in a conditioned reflex is referred to as a
conditioned response (CR; ex. salivation to the opening motif of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony), defined as
a response elicited by a conditioned stimulus
Factors Influencing Respondent Conditioning
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1. The greater the # of pairings of a CS w/ a US, the greater is the ability of the CS to elicit the CR, until a
maximum strength of the conditioned reflex has been reached
a. Ex. If a child was frightened several times by seeing a loudly barking dog, the sight of the dog will
elicit a stronger fear than if the child had been scared by seeing a loudly barking dog only once
2. Stronger conditioning occurs if the CS precedes the US by about half a second, rather than by a longer
time or rather than following the US. Conditioning in the latter case, called backward conditioning, is
difficult to attain.
a. Ex. If a child sees a dog & the dog immediately barks loudly, the sight of the dog is likely to
become a CS w/ fear as a CR for the child. If, however, the child hears the loud barking of a dog
hidden from view & a few seconds later sees dog trot around the corner of a building, the fear
caused by the loud barking is not likely to be conditioned to the sight of the dog
3. A CS acquires greater ability to elicit a CR if the CS is always paired with the US than if it is only
occasionally paired w/ the US.
a. Ex. If a couple consistently lights a candle in the bedroom just before having sex & not at other
times, then the candlelight is likely to become a CS eliciting sexual arousal. If they light a candle
in the bedroom every night but have sex there only one or two nights each week, then the
candlelight will be a weaker CS for sexual arousal
4. When several neutral stimuli precede a US, the stimulus that is most consistently associated w/ the US is
the one most likely to become a strong CS
a. Ex. A child may experience thunderstorms in which dark clouds & lightning are followed by loud
claps of thunder, which cause fear. On other occasions, the
child sees dark clouds but there is no lightning & no thunder. The child will acquire a stronger fear
of lightning than of the dark clouds b/c lightning is paired w/ thunder but dark clouds alone are
5. Respondent conditioning will develop more quickly & strongly when the CS or US or both are intense
rather than weak
a. Ex. A child will acquire a stronger fear of lightning if the lightning is exceptionally bright & the
thunder is exceptionally loud than if either or both are relatively weak
Conditioned taste aversion: An exception to the rule
Can happen despite long delay b/w the CS & the US
A powerful conditioned reflex can develop even after just one pairing
Evolutionary adaptive phenomenon, but can be unhelpful/unpleasant (chemotherapy patients)
Higher-Order Conditioning
The procedure in which a neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus by being paired w/ another conditioned
stimulus, instead of w/ an unconditioned stimulus
Ex. Suppose that someone is conditioned to salivate to the opening motif of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony by
following it w/ food many times. The opening motif of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony will thus have become a
CS for salivation. Now let’s suppose that, over several trials, just before presenting the opening motif of
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