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Chapter 1

PSYB45H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Behavior Modification, Applied Behavior Analysis

Course Code
Zachariah Campbell

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Behavior Modification Principles & Procedures
Chapter 1 Introduction to Behavior Modification
Behavior: involves a person’s actions what people do and say; it is
described with action verbs
o For ex., saying someone is angry doesn’t identify the behavior, it
simply labels the person. If you identify what the person says or does
when angry, then you’ve identified behavior
o Behaviors have one or more dimensions that can be measured:
You can measure frequency, you can count the number of
times a behavior occurs
You can measure duration, or the time from when an instance
of behavior starts until it stops
You can measure intensity, the physical force involved in the
You can measure latency, the time from an event to the start of
o Behavior is lawful; that is, its occurrence is systematically influences
by environmental events
o Behavior may be overt or covert most often, behavior modification
procedures are used to understand and change overt behaviors
Overt behavior is an action that can be observed and recorded
by a person other than the one engaging in the behavior
Covert behavior, also called private events, are not observable
to others (ex., thinking)
Behavior modification: the field of psychology concerned with analyzing
and modifying human behavior
o Analyzing means identifying the functional relationship between
environmental events and a particular behavior to understand the
reasons for behavior
o Modifying means developing and implementing procedures to help
people change their behavior
Behavioral excesses and deficits are targets for change with behavior
modification procedures
o In behavior modification, the behavior to be modified is called the
target behavior
o Behavioral excess is an undesirable target behavior the person
wants to decrease in frequency, duration or intensity (ex. Smoking)
o Behavioral deficit is a desirable target behavior the person wants to
increase in frequency, duration or intensity (ex. Studying)
The scientific study of behavior is called experimental analysis of behavior,
or behavior analysis
The scientific study of behavior to help people change behavior in
meaningful ways is called applied behavior analysis
Behavior modification involves assessing and modifying the current
environmental events that are functionally related to behavior
Behavior Modification Principles & Procedures
o Once these controlling variables have been identified, they are alter
to modify the behavior
o Successful behavior modification procedures alter the functional
relationships between the behavior and the controlling variables in
the environment to produce a desired change in the behavior
Thorndike’s law of effect states that a behavior that produces a favorable
effect on the environment is more likely to be repeated in the future
Skinner was the founder of behavior modification
More behavior modification research has been conducted in the field of
developmental disabilities than perhaps any other area